Yesterday when I woke up, I said to myself, "Self, you are not going to need the pain pills today." After Monday, when I was in so much pain already and then my van got stuck in the bottom of the driveway and I had to shovel enough of the wet, heavy snow out from under it to rock it back forward and fishtail to the top of the driveway, then walk where I needed to go in the bitter cold, I was determined to think positive about Tuesday and started giving myself a pep talk the second I opened my eyes. And then I rolled over and the pain in my back made me groan. I pushed myself up to a sitting position and the pain in my wrist made me wince. I stood up and the pain in my foot made me say a word I don't usually use. I picked up the water bottle on my nightstand and the pain in my thumb made me question why I was even bothering to get up. I took my first step and the pain in my big toe made me stop and say, "REALLY? MY BIG TOE?!"
I hobbled downstairs and looked at the thermometer, which showed ZERO degrees which, Brett told me later, was much warmer than when he got up. That was the first thing I did downstairs; the second thing I did was take a pain pill because I am willing to admit defeat when that much is stacked against me. The pill makes me drowsy, so I spent the morning writing a letter to my Mom, taking a shower, washing my hair, and cleaning out a cupboard. My laptop... well, perhaps I should back up before I tell this part.
New paragraph for a back story. My laptop has given me nothing but trouble since the day I got it. I've been very disappointed in it and I absolutely HATE Windows 8. Shortly after I got this laptop, Windows 8.1 came out and was offered as a free download to all the angry Windows 8 users. I immediately tried to download it, but my laptop would never complete the download, or it would not install the download, or whatever else it could throw in the way of making itself a useful tool instead of just a Tool. This has been going on for almost a year. Last Friday our wireless printer suddenly decided it would no longer print, so I bought a new one on Saturday and Brett set it up and, of course, my laptop wouldn't work with it. Brett spent most of a day tinkering with my laptop and finally got it to work with the printer. Whatever he did, it made the Windows 8.1 download finally finish. Yesterday morning it began to install, which I discovered as I was typing that letter to Mom and a window popped up warning me that my computer would restart in 14 minutes. Nothing like a deadline to get me to finish rambling... Anyone want to break in here?
So I finished the letter with about a minute to spare before my computer shut down and restarted. It was grinding away, slowly updating the software, so I went and took a shower, washed my hair, dried it, got dressed, put on makeup, came back downstairs and it was grinding away slowly installing the updates, so I put on my boots, coat and gloves and went out into the cold to clear the snow off my van, scrape the ice off the windows, clear ice buildup off the windshield wipers and warm up the engine. I came back inside to check on progress and the laptop was still grinding away slowly setting up the software. So I drove to the post office, the grocery store, and since the sun was shining and it wasn't very windy, I decided to go to the pier in St. Joseph and see if the lighthouse was still frozen.
Short answer: Yes. But when did I ever do a short post? I walked out on the south pier to get a view of the lighthouse across the river channel on the north pier. Here are the two things I'd forgotten since last time I walked on the frozen pier. 1. There is snow on the pier - several inches - but it's laying on top of several inches of sheer ice. I'd forgotten that I needed to stay in the snowy footprints of whoever had walked the pier before me, and I had to walk very slowly and keep my eyes on where I was placing my feet because there were also balls of ice like huge marbles underfoot and I wanted to avoid them as much as possible. Here are some photos of the level of ice I was dealing with on this little walk on the pier.
That wall of ice at the top of the last photo was my destination. That is where the safety railing ends on the pier and I was going no further. I didn't realize somebody was behind me as I minced and stumbled down the pier, but I had reached about the point where I took that last photo when a voice behind me said, "Excuse me, my name is Kyle. Would you take my picture?" We walked the rest of the way to the icy safety railing and he posed like a GQ model while I took photos with his phone. When he wandered off, I took a few photos with my poor dying camera and a couple with my phone.
The ice coated navigation beacon at the end of the pier, and some insane people.
The lighthouse on the north pier.
Closeup of the ice encased outer light.
I didn't waste much time taking the photos. The sun was so bright, it was hard to see what I was shooting; I was pretty much aiming and hoping for the best. I then headed back up the pier toward the parking lot and this is when I discovered that there was a breeze blowing. I hadn't felt it on the way down the pier because my back was to it and it wasn't strong enough to feel through my coat and all the layers of clothing I was wearing. By this time, it might have been up to 13 degrees and this was when I remembered the second thing about last time I walked on the pier in the winter. 2. My hair froze. Okay, a snow squall had blown in about the time we got to the pier on that occasion; Tuesday was sunny and clear, so my hair should be okay. But the cold breeze blowing into my face was making my eyes water and my tears were freezing. Not like glass covering my eyes and cheeks, more like my eyes getting gummed up and a thick mucous impairing my vision. I had to stop every few steps, remove a glove, push up my glasses and clear my eyes. It was a long trip back to the beginning of the pier. I knew when I passed the buried benches that I was finally getting close to the parking lot.
I stopped on my way home to grab some lunch and arrived home feeling quite tired, but surprisingly in less pain than that with which I'd begun the day. I was pleased that I'd had the courage to walk out on the icy pier alone, that I didn't fall, and that there were bigger idiots than me out there who ventured past the safety railing and onto the part of the pier that is indistinguishable from the ice covered lake. It's always nice to know you're not the biggest idiot in the room... or on the pier.