This time of year is always a delight as long-buried items begin to emerge from the melting snow.
Clothing, a hockey stick, some garden tools, the frostbitten toe I’ve been looking for, all are arising into the joyous warmth that is spring.
The large rectangle in the back yard grass is something new this year. It is where the ice rink was. Lovely brown isn’t it? It contrasts nicely with the lush green of the surrounding growth.
I devised a clever technique for removing the rink called “Sit Around and Let It Melt.” I've never built one before so I didn’t know quite what else I should do.
Apparently some people take sledge hammers and bash their ice into small chunks, then remove the plastic liner so their grass doesn’t die underneath.
I did not know that. Further, actually doing that would involve effort, which I try to avoid at all times. Bad back you know.
My only plan was to remove the ice by the expeditious means of letting it drain through our fence and into the park behind us, thus giving our arid region a much needed moisture boost this spring.
Due to a minor landscaping error, it turns out the back yard slopes toward the house and not towards the park, the correction of which may form the basis of future humourous anecdotes.
As a temporary measure, I was sweeping the melt water on top of the ice through the fence into the park when a bylaw enforcement officer descended upon me, and informed me that I was draining a pool into public property without a permit.
When I reasonably pointed out that I was not in fact draining a pool but a skating rink, I was informed that anything deeper than two inches was considered a pool, and was therefore subject to bylaws direct control.
He did not seem to appreciate my humourous Nazi salute, and I have now added his $50 “Attempted Amusement Upon a Peace Officer” ticket into my project costing for next year. I could have sworn his back was turned when I did that.
The problem of breaking up the ice and removing the plastic remained. Spurred by innovation (some might call it laziness), I came up with a rather novel idea. Driving my old clunker around the back yard, I readily accomplished the task without too much trouble.
By “not too much trouble” I mean there are some rectangular holes in the sod where I got stuck and the tires burned through the ice into the soil beneath. I figure I can call them new flower beds and get away with it.
Leaking fluids from my car’s engine seem to have created some bare patches that I have re-seeded.
And the slight scratch on the side of the house came from slowly maneuvering the car around the slippery ice surface.
Actually, I was burning donuts and waving at my neighbours out the window and yelling “Yee Ha!” when I went slightly off course and bashed into the pillar(s) supporting our deck.
When I went to city hall to pay my fine (ahem – fines plural) I considered lecturing them on the unfairness of ticketing a man for making a fool of himself.
I could live with the “Mocking an Official” one, but ticketing a guy for Illegal Parking, in addition to Renovating without a Building Permit, was, I think, unfair. Not to mention humiliating in front of the guys and all.
As I was about to open my big mouth to loudly explain my point of view, my wife began twisting the ear she was holding, such that I could not speak.
I quietly wrote out my cheque and thanked them for their time and understanding.
I want you to know that I gave them a good muttering under my breath on the way out though.
A man has his pride.