The Great Thaw


March Break has arrived.

I’ve always loved this holiday. I still think of it as a holiday now more than ever that the kids participate in it. Like any kid, I loved my days off school, but March Break had a special place in my heart. During those days, before my teenage years, I could count on my mother (who was a stay-at-home Mom) to take me on long walks out from my downtown Toronto home. We’d explore, and the Annex neighbourhood north of our house was the perfect place for that exploration, with endless laneways providing wonderful nooks and crannies. A highlight was usually the Spadina staircase connecting Spadina Road south of Davenport to Spadina Road north of Casa Loma.

The weather had a big part to play in this, because I remember that this was when the thaw really started to hit. After weeks of frigid days and building snow, the temperatures would spike, and we’d hear water flowing into the storm sewers. To this day, this remains one of my favourite sounds. The flowing water would cut little channels into the ice and snow, providing a miniature reminder of what it must have been like when the Ice Age ended.

This week, after having undergone several weeks where the temperature didn’t rise above freezing (and several days where it dipped below Fahrenheit Zero), the snow is melting at last. This is what I like most about this season in Ontario. This is what makes the long snowy days worth it.

We are now fully moved and firmly established in our new home, and we love it. We still have a lot of boxes to unpack, but rooms are coming together, especially now that we’ve built in our bookshelves and finally unloaded the bulk of our book collection. It’s amazing how much books make a house a home.

We love this place. We love the amount of light it gets, the coziness of the rooms, the great views, and the fact that it’s closer to the kids’ school, and it’s easier to walk to important places like our grocery store, our business mailbox and transit. I love the fact that I have an office to myself, and we no longer have to clear off my desk in order to serve dinner.

The move was stressful, as you can imagine, but things would not have gone nearly so well without the hard work of a lot of people, including my parents, my mother-in-law, her husband, and friends galore. You know who you are. Thank you.

Every house has its quirks. Ours seems to be the driveway drain, which clogged with ice during the deep freeze and doesn’t seem to be all that interested in clearing (at least, until the thaw hits the ground a few feet deep). I’ve been fighting against a growing puddle in the middle of our driveway, keeping a wary eye to ensure it doesn’t back up into our garage and make an even bigger mess. As we are no longer covered by the condo association, this sort of thing is now officially My Problemâ„¢.

I tried buying a drill pump, which is a device that attaches to garden hoses and fits to a drill which provides a motor to pull a suction and, in theory, take water away from the drain, over the hump in the sidewalk, and onto the roadway where the city’s storm sewer system can handle it. The drill may have had more power than I gave it credit for, because after several minutes of fruitlessly trying to suck water up through the garden hose, the pump itself started to smoke, and then to melt. It’s now a modern art piece.

The problem was — well, not solved, exactly, but managed — when I bought a larger submersible pump with its own motor. I hooked up the hoses, plugged it in and we were off to the races.

The thaw is still in progress. There are icy tufts of snow everywhere, but the puddles are growing. In just a few weeks, this winter will be just a memory.


blog comments powered by Disqus