the hazy blur of the brand new day

Usually this space at about this time is the Mystery Hunt wrap up where I talk about all the stuff we did and how we still didn’t come in first place anyhow. This time is no different except I was less helpful than usual. For some reason — planetary alignment, bad juju, overconfidence — instead of being a rock-solid team member for the Codex gang, I was struck down early with “I don’t feel so good.” I headed back to my sister’s house on Saturday evening via a subway ride I barely remember. I helped her move some stuff around at her place (inhaling nasty attic gasses) and then headed speedily and feverishly back to Vermont Sunday evening in order to teach a few in-service classes at the high school on Monday. The puzzle hunt didn’t end until late late Sunday night/Monday morning. We came in second, again. It was not my best planned weekend. As 2009 goes, it’s certainly been the worst.

I taught two classes on Monday which went pretty well and then came home and crashed and have been sleeping pretty much on and off since then, watching my fever eke down from 100.9 to 99.2. It’s now Wednesday lunchtime. I’m mostly awake. At about 9:30 pm last night water started to come through the roof of my bedroom and puddle on the floor. I don’t quite understand the mechanics of ice dams except that they can be relied upon to inflict distress at the least convenient times. I called my landlady, moved my bedding into the living room, and went quickly from the “woe is me” outlook to the “this is so over the top it’s approaching comedy” perspective. As someone said as I was mentioning this in my facebook status “If a raccoon gets in your house, then you’ve got all three acts covered.” Indeed.

I slept through the Inaguration and all of the attendant hubub, though I managed to read Obama’s speech and a lot of running Twitter commentary. I know he’s the president, the rest is details. I know many people are having a worse January than I am. I can feel the dull thuds of the guy knocking the ice off the roof and I’m thinking now might be the time to go down to the post office and see what else has been happening in the world outside of my rainy treehouse.

What do you think?


  1. “I don’t quite understand the mechanics of ice dams”

    Ooh! I know this one.

    Prologue: Layer of snow on slanted roof.

    Act I: Sun comes, melts a small portion of snow. Since water flows down, snow at the bottom of the roof gets wet (wetter than the snow higher up.)
    Act II: Sun goes away, wet snow re-freezes to ice. You now have snow on the higher portions of the roof, and a thick chunk of ice lower down on the roof.
    Act III: Sun comes back. Snow starts to melt (faster than ice), flows down, but is blocked by the dam of ice.
    Epilogue: Water begins to accumulate upward (since it can’t go down) and comes through the slates/shingles (which depend upon gravity for their seal) and, ultimately, down through the ceiling.