February 19th, 2008


Self Imposed Treacherous Roads Day

Monday Afternoon

After a slow and slippery drive in the morning, the next round of snow began around 3pm on Monday. The roads had been clear in the south around Kalamazoo, but the wind began drifting fine snow across the road, which began to glaze the roads, so speeds began to be reduced. By the time I got to the outskirts of Grand Rapids, it was snowing heavily. The radio was reporting I-96 closed between Coopersville and Marne due to black ice around 48th Avenue, near where I live.

Thankfully I had moved some of the icy slush from our driveway on Sunday, but I volunteered to drive Mrs. Dr. Phil to/fro work -- Monday she has a grad class at the downtown GVSU campus and with a lake effect snow warning from 3pm Monday to 3pm Tuesday, I figured better that I pick her up at the campus bus stop in Allendale than have her deal with the cruddy driveway early in the morning and late at night.

By the time I got near campus around 4:30pm, I saw how lousy the roads had gotten. Where M-45 becomes a boulevard on the hill up toward Motman's Produce there was this pickup truck on the left shoulder of the westbound lanes pointing eastward. And as I was approaching, it was spinning its wheels, trying to back up and turn around, but instead slewing sideways. Uh-oh. Really low friction. Not good. I suggested that Mrs. Dr. Phil might want to cut class on Monday night and picked her up.

A Hard Night

Would the roads be passable in the morning? As I've said before, I'm awfully confident in my own driving abilities, but on the real road one is at the mercies of all the other drivers, idiots and unfortunate situations included. I got to bed early for a change, how nice, but then lay there awake for at least an hour. Couldn't calm the mind. Got up to make a nest of blankets in a chair in the living room, so as to stop turning over and over and disturbing other sleepers. Outside at 3am was white-out conditions. Wasn't much changed by morning, but between the estimated conditions and the poor sleep I'd already decided to cancel/cut my own teaching classes today.


Bunch of light fluffy snow in the driveway. Still drifting by the afternoon. Oh, and apparently the real reason I had to stay home today? Discovered at 1:10pm that the furnace was trying but could not come on. Probably the igniter. To cap it off, almost a month ago I mentioned the great CO scare, and shortly after I talked to my furnace people back then, they apparently retired. And the people who get their phone calls rolled over to them service all the old people's brands -- except for York.

Can you possibly guess what brand of furnace we own? Oh gee, you got that awfully fast -- you must be psychic. (grin) Fortunately, I put in a call to the plumbing and heating outfit that did our Rinnai in-line hot water heater last summer... ***INTERUPT*** Greg from All-Pro Plumbing and Heating has come and gone. 122 volts to the igniter -- nothing but one spark. Replace igniter, wirebrush the flame sensor to clean off any oxidation, heat's back on. Mmmm... Greg had just picked up a couple of spare igniters since he'd just had a service call which used up one, and other than selecting the right type of connector, it was just a matter of minutes. ***RESUME*** Anyway, what can I say? Right handy that I was at home today to deal with this. Geesh.

Dr. Phil
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    amused amused

A Prize in the P.O. Box!

WOTF Coughs Up

Well, after six years Writers of the Future finally got me a prize. What? Oh no, has nothing to do with my writing. I just the other day read on the WOTF blog that my Q1 2008 entry placed as an Honorable Mention, so no prize winner there -- not that I sneeze at Honorable Mentions, mind you. No, this has to do with a mini-contest that contest administrator Joni Labaqui ran and I was one of several people who had a correct answer. So I asked for a copy of the last WOTF anthology, XXIII.

I never win anything, so this is fun, this is good.***

Dr. Phil

*** Actually, I've won a couple of books from mini-contests on people's blogs. Possibly my best win streak ev-ah. (grin)
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