A Fun Outdoor Activity
This year winter came a little late to Michigan. The cold weather seemed to wait until mid-January to swoop down upon us. Then suddenly we got a bunch of snow and the temperature dropped.
With the Covid pandemic keeping us close to home, we were looking for an activity that would be fun but safe. My wife came up with the idea to build a small backyard ice rink so that the grandkids could have some outdoor exercise.
After a little thought we decided upon a 20′ x 40′ rink. We made a couple of visits to a nearby hardware store to buy 140 feet of 4″ PVC tubing, a bunch of connectors to keep them attached and a bunch of 2″ x 4″s as a support frame. The hardest part was the hours it took to locate a large plastic sheet (30′ x 50′) to hold the water. After buying all of the supplies we were ready to start.
First we had to clear the snow from the area where we want to build the rink.
Next we carefully laid the plastic sheet down over the PVC frame and then filled it with water.
Hurry up and wait. We had to wait for two days for the temperature to do its trick. That’s how long it took for the water to turn to ice thick enough for us to use.
However before skating we have to smooth the surface using our home-made “zamboni”.
Finally a look at the rink after we smoothed out the ice.
The weather has remained cold for February and so the grandkids have been able to use the rink since.
Everyone was definitely tired of being in lockdown. It’s been a boon to getting the grandkids out and about. The skating and hockey has been a very welcome addition to their activities.
Making My Way to CES
It’s early January – time for the Consumer Electronics Show.
I’m always excited to go to CES and see the new devices from hundreds of manufacturers – devices that are waiting to dazzle us. For the past 30+ years I’ve been attending this whiz-bang exhibition.
But this year it is very interesting getting to Las Vegas. Beginning on New Year’s Day the weather services warns us of heavy snow and frigid temperatures for the next week. Two days before my scheduled travel date, I receive a notice from United Airlines that my Monday flight is cancelled and that I should call to reschedule.
I spend six hours on hold to United’s reservations center and when I finally get through to an agent I make an alternative reservation for later in the day on Monday.
An hour later, I receive another United notice that this flight too is cancelled. Back on the phone, this time for more than four hours, and they reschedule my flight to Wednesday evening. This flight is not going to work since I would miss two full days of CES.
|So I look for alternatives.
I know that Allegiant flies directly to Las Vegas so I check their schedule. To my surprise there is space available on Monday and so I immediately book the flight. Of course the weather will ultimately determine if the flight actually take place.
Driving to the airport is hazardous with the zero-degree temperature over snow and ice-covered roads.
As I view the airport gate assignments I see most of the other flights from Grand Rapids are cancelled. Most likely they fly to Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago – cities where the airports are shut down.
The incoming flight from Las Vegas is 30 minutes late. But despite the drastic weather my flight to Las Vegas departs an hour late. Here’s a vote for air service city-to-city rather than the hub and spoke service used by most airlines.
A short three and a half hours later, I’m in the desert without any snow and enjoying the 60 degree temperature. I am lucky to get out of the big freeze.
Today I hear that the temperature in Grand Rapids is -10.
I had to use my sunglasses in Las Vegas.
I’m Not Quite Ready for the White Stuff
Just the other day I’m talking about the colorful Fall. And then some cold and blustery weather rudely interrupts my plans to get the house winterized. It’s early November and the snow outside is blowing sideways.
|What’s a person to do who hasn’t yet raked all of the leave, secured the storm windows, retrieved the snow-melt from the garage and checked out the snow blower?
Well, I didn’t panic. Wearing neither my heavy duty coat nor warm gloves, I grabbed my camera to get a few shots of the white stuff.
For all of my complaining, once I’m outside I kind of like exploring the moisture-laden outdoors.
Maybe you can detect that I’m being a little facetious here.
I spent only a few minutes outdoors walking in the yard to take these photos. Yet they’ve recorded what my day was like. As I move from one photo to another I feel the snow falling on my face, my frosty fingers wiping droplets from my glasses, my shoulders shrugging to keep the cold air from rushing down my collar.
Regardless of the weather – rain or snow; sunny or cloudy; hot or cold; – there’s opportunity awaiting you to capture the moment in pictures.