Rain, rain, go… oh, never mind


Have you ever wondered why the volume on your television seems so wildly different depending on the time of day?

It’s kind of amazing. You could live in a house with nothing even remotely nearby. You could have things set up so that everything making noise at 4am was also making noise at 4pm. And yet, for some reason, the television… volume set at exactly the same level… seems five times as loud in the middle of the night.

I’ve been thinking about some of the strange things like this recently. A completely different idea—but very similar—involves driving your car on a cold winter day. Your car could be in exactly the same state of operative readiness on a day in July as it is on a day in January. But add some snow to the roads to dampen and change the sounds as you drive along, and perhaps some slush building up in the wheel wells, along with a brutal thermostat reading of 2-degrees Fahrenheit… suddenly everything feels wrong. It all sounds wrong.

This year has been one of startling weather in the northeast. I won’t claim it as bizarre, unusual or unexpected. It’s winter. It’s the northeast United States. It’s cold. (Ta-dah! Cold January during a northeast winter! These and other brilliantly insightful observations are brought to you exclusively here at In My Backpack. Thanks for stopping. Come on back tomorrow!) Still… we have been running along with single digit highs on many days around my town.

That is… until late this past week. Shot the other way. A couple of days at 50+ on the old thermometer. And it was delightful… until… a roughly 60-degree swing in about 24-hours, back to negative number overnights and single-digit days, accompanied by a delightful 10-inches of snow. And that snow? Yeah, it dropped on top of a sheet of ice thanks to the ridiculous temperature drop beginning during the massive melt off of previous snow and a light rain falling.

Earlier today I had to head out for a quick errand. I had cleaned out the driveway and cleared off the cars. Warmed up the one I was going to use so the inside would be toasty and the windows cleared.

Funny thing though. I never checked the wipers. And so, as I picked up a bit of speed on my travels, I was treated to the perfect combination of wind, ice, frozen rubber wipers and more, as the blades chattered against the windshield.


Never happens in August.

I am convinced that no driver should attempt to self-diagnose any vehicle issue when the temperature outside is below 20-degrees. This would be especially true in circumstances involving snow or ice and that 20-degree marker. Everything on the vehicle feels wrong. It all sounds wrong.

Heading to bed in a little bit. House is making funny noises. It has been making funny noises since this run of otherworldly cold began between Christmas and New Year’s. Two weeks of gusting winds echoing in vents. Two weeks of the sun on the roof and heat inside the house causing snow to melt around the roof, with the water moving past ice dams to drip off in all sorts of unexpected places. I’m convinced the brutal cold on the materials that come together to build a house… just like the muscles and bones in my body are reacting… are cold and achy and stiff and unforgiving. Everything hurts. Everything cracks.

I’m sure there is some sort of explanation for the volume of the television. The same way I can point to snow on the road changing the sounds of my car. The same way the metal vents in my house bang a bit more in winter winds. Something I’m missing because it’s not quite as obvious as a wiper blade coated in ice.

The forecast is calling for a climb in temperatures about a week from now. Also showing the possibility of rain. I would certainly welcome the chance to wash away a bit of the snow and clear things up a bit. And yet… would it be too much to ask for a gradual drop back into the cold?

I expect a frigid February. I wouldn’t ask for it any other way. But if we’re going to see the rain and a few warmer days, it might be nice not to deal with everything sounding like it’s snapping in half while I’m looking to make sure nothing is blocked by ice.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com