Home > Ice dams as a metaphor for life

Ice dams as a metaphor for life

January 30th, 2011 at 09:16 pm

I made good progress chipping away at the ice dams these past 4 or 5 days. Can't tell you how exhausted I am, every muscle in my back, shoulders and arms aches, but I feel a sense of satisfaction that after incredibly hard work, I got the entire back side of the house chipped free of the 6-inch high wall of ice, plus about 2 feet of snow above that on the roof. (The gutters themselves are still filled with ice and since they have screens on them, it could be hard to melt. Maybe sprinkling that calcium chloride in there would help, but i'd have to pour a ton there to declog the whole gutter. Otherwise, it will probably just freeze again as it will have nowhere to go. The important thing is that I was able to observe water dripping over the sides of the gutters, not down the side of the house. I have stopped the backup of water under shingles.)

I doubt that many women would have done what I did (especially one over 50 no less!)....drag a 17-foot-high aluminum ladder out in 3 feet of packed snow, positioning it multiple times, climbing to the very top (not feeling very at ease up there) and chip, chip, chipping away at the ice. Not having a lot of upper body strength, it was slow going, plus i was swinging the sheet rock hammer I bought in a raised position because the ladder is about 3 feet too short.

So it took me 5 days (maybe more, i lost count) to clear away all that ice. After hammering ice for so long, I came to recognize a hollow sound the hammer made when a block of ice was about ready to break away; more often than not, though, I chipped that ice in tiny fragments that went flying in my face, hair, etc. I actually had to close my eyes and turn my head away when I was swinging the hammer to avoid ice from flying in my eyes. (No goggles.) When my arm got tired, I switched hands and swung the hammer with my other arm. Over and over again. When my hands got icy cold, I went inside for a few hours, then went back out a second time in the afternoon.

I was driven by a desire to protect my investment, and seeing as how the mortgage company no longer owns much of it, I felt even more responsible to take care of it.

It occurred to me that chipping away so patiently at that ice was a metaphor for my approach to saving. (Make note of my blog name, Patient Saver!) Chipping away, slowly but steadily, and a great sense of satisfaction to see all the progress I made on the back of the house.

OK, that's enough philosophizing and my lame attempt to relate the Conquering of the Ice Dam to personal finance.

Tomorrow I will attempt at least a partial de-icing of the front of the house. I expect it will be harder, as the land slopes down, there's a mini roof over the front entry in the way and there are larger shrubs. We shall see.

6 Responses to “Ice dams as a metaphor for life”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I certainly admire you for all the things you do around your house.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm 38 and I don't think I would do what you did, but one never knows...I have installed a disposal and a ceiling fan all by myself. I'm for one am very impressed!!

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Sounds dangerous for anybody to do!

    If I moved further north than I am, I know I would have some learning to do about how to deal with winter and houses. And do you have a new roof in your future? I had mine redone a few years ago and after they put the shingles on, I found one of the bags the shingles came in. I read on it that if the slope of the roof was less than a certain amount, then an undermat that I think they called an "icemat" must go under the shingles. Part of my roof was well below the standard and they had not put it on. They tried to "snow me" (ha-ha) and tell me my roof was sloped enough to not need it. I ended up paying for a second opinion from another roofer who told me that with our winters, I'd have a leak by the second year on a 30 year roof if they did not put the mat under it. So even moving from the South to the lower Midwest, I've had stuff to learn. But roof rakes? Roof heaters? That is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

    Please, please be careful and don't work on the ladder when you are too tired. Please? If you stop posting here for a while, I'll be afraid you had a bad accident.

  4. patientsaver Says:

    Joan, I promise, I am very careful.

    My dad told me that in the spring i should hire someone to remove and replace the lower 2 rows of shingles and put the rubber membrane underneath them. My roof is 15 years old but is supposed to last 20 years, so i guess i wouldn't replace it now. I may also put a heater in the gutter.

    My mom, of course, I would NEVER tell what i am doing. She would freak and get on my case.

    For what its' worth, i try to remember to keep my cell phone in my pocket.

  5. Savings Queen Says:

    I admire you patient saver. I can't imagine working as hard as you are day after day in the freezing cold. You are so right, though, that taking care of our investments in our homes is VERY important. You reminded me of that...that routine maintenace is VERY important. Congrats on your excellent character too.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    I'm just really sorry you have to deal with this, and I'm feeling somewhat lucky to be in an apartment. My brother, who lives in Michigan, has gone through a lot of the same troubles with ice on his roof.

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