Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ice Scrapers - A Tool To Have

Christmas Eve night I got stuck in my driveway.

Each year on Christmas Eve my sister throws a party. Her husband's family are invited, as are my mother and I. My sister always throws a great gathering and without fail, it is a fun night. This year because of the holiday, I got out of work a bit early and went over to help her set up and cook. Then after the party I stayed to help clean up. I got home about midnight... and that is when I got stuck.

The plow had been through my street leaving a huge pile of snow and ice at the bottom of the drive. To make matters worse, it had just started warming up a bit here, so under all the ice was slush. Here in Michigan we got a record amount of snow for December, so I was pretty used to plowing through snow. I thought I could make it through and up the drive. I was wrong.

I love my car and it has actually been really good this winter. Though usually considered a sports car, if you read car mags all the gurus complain that my particular model is heavy - which means less horsepower. What might be a problem to some is a benefit to me. The extra weight is steel and that means that not only do my doors have that satisfying "thunk" when they close, but the weight helps pilot the car, even when there is so much snow on the roads it feels more like driving a boat than a car. The downside of my car though is that it is really low to the ground - really low. I mean, maybe 6". That was a big part of the problem Christmas Eve.

What happened was my car got stuck on top of the ice and snow at the bottom of the drive. The slush underneath gave me zero traction. I couldn't rock the car, and I certainly couldn't push it - so there I was stuck fast half in, half out of the driveway on Christmas Eve - at midnight.

What do you do? I called one friend who I knew was awake, and not with family, for some advice. Unfortunately, because he lives on the other side of the state he couldn't offer in person assistance, but I figured he might have some tips or ideas. He did. He suggested that I use my garden spade to help break up the ice, so I went to work....

I was at it for about 20 minutes and not getting anywhere but more frustrated, when three slightly drunken college students appeared. One was so hammered that the other, a sweet gal in her twenties, had to take him inside. Before staggering away he offered me a Christmas beer. Nice, but I refused. The other gentleman was sober enough to offer to help. For the next half hour or more we worked at getting my car out. Ultimately I ended up being able to move my car back a few inches - where he would hurriedly shovel out as much ice as he could, then I would rock it forward and back a few more inches and he would shovel again, and repeat. Honestly, once I realized the full extent of the problem, I am not sure how I would have ever got the car out without his help. Oh, and the young gal... she came back and tried to help, but in a 4" skirt and unpractical boots, she wasn't really dressed for it. I appreciated her efforts however, both of them were a Christmas miracle as far as I was concerned!

Once we finally got the car out, I spent another half hour clearing out the residual snow and ice before attempting to take my car back up the driveway. It was certainly an interesting night.

On Christmas Day my mother (ironically since, of course, when she bought it as a gift she had no idea I would be stuck in the driveway the night before) gave me an ice scraper like the one pictured above. It is fabulous! I don't know how many of you live in winter states and half to deal with clearing snow and ice, but this tool is amazing. If I had had one of these, getting my car out would have been much easier! I've used mine a few times now and it is great. The longer handle makes it much easier than my short handled spade and it chomps through ice like a hot knife through butter.

This is not a sponsored post, notice there are no links to a sales center. I just had never seen or used one of these scrapers before and I wanted to share how well it works. You can probably get one at any Home and Garden Center. (I think mine came from Ace Hardware.) Personally I have a bad back, so snow removal is not one of my favorite things. Any tool I can find to make life easier is great by me!

9 comments:

Frugalchick said...

I have used ice scrapers my whole life (there actually used to be snow in TN when I was a kid!) and they are the BEST.

oceankarma said...

We just got another 7 inches of snow last night. I am really putting off getting dressed and shoveling.

I'm so glad the college students showed up when they did!

Dawn said...

Frugalchick - I agree. I wish I had had mine in the beginning of December when we were getting record amounts of snow!

OceanKarma - Me too!! Especially since my car was half in the road. I just heard we are due for 5" tonight ourselves.

Catie said...

For the record... you can call me at midnight on a holiday and whether I am in bed or with family, I will come help you dig out!!

Miss M said...

I think it's 80 degrees here in Los Angeles today. Sorry, I had to throw that out there! I wouldn't have had a clue what to do, I grew up in Virginia but we rarely got much snow.

Dawn said...

80 degrees? Really? We are supposed to get 3-5" of snow AND it is supposed to be in the single digit temperatures. Brrrrrrrr.....

Dawn said...

Catie - You are a sweetheart!! Any other night I would have called you. Heck, had not the drunken Christmas college kids, I mean angels, come along, I still might have.

Lindsay said...

I heard this advice on the radio, so take it for what it's worth, but the guy suggested keeping a couple of bags of kitty litter in the trunk of the car when you're driving in snowy situations.

The weight from the bags makes your car heavier so you can get traction more easily, and if you get stuck, you can dump the litter out under your tires so they can find something to grip. :)

Dawn said...

Lindsay - that is common wisdom around these parts. Lots of people with pickup trucks do that. I have occasionally used tube sand - same idea, but when I was done I could use in the garden, whereas kitty litter I have less use for (not having a cat.)