Friday, February 19, 2010

Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!

In the classic 1980 movie “Airplane!” there is a running gag where tower supervisor Steve McCroskey, played by Lloyd Bridges, has a hard time dealing with the stress involved with the unfolding events and says, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.” Then it’s “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking,” and “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue,” and so on. Well, let me say that it looks like I picked the wrong winter to start blogging about my backyard rink.

This is usually the best time of year to use the backyard rink; however, we have had an unbelievable run of high temperatures this month, and what little ice and snow we did have is melting more and more every day. We are actually getting late-March weather in mid-February, which is great…as long as you’re not trying to build a backyard rink.

According to Environment Canada, this year we have had almost two straight weeks where the maximum daily temperature has been above zero. They also say we have over 20 cm of snow on the ground, but I can tell you that there is essentially zero snow on the ground in my backyard. The forecast for the next week is also predicting above zero highs. To put this into a historical perspective, the average temperature for February 2009 was -7 C, with about 80 cm of snow on the ground. February 2008’s average temperature was -10 C, with upwards of 100 cm of snow on the ground. February 2007 it was -11 C. February 2006, the inaugural season of my backyard rink averaged -10 C. There wasn’t much snow in 2006, but the ice was great, as you can see in the picture on the right of this page under the list of previous posts.

Even though all the forecasted highs for the near future are on the plus side, the night-time lows are mostly on the freezing side. So, just like another memorable Lloyd Bridges character – Izzy Mandelbaum from Seinfeld - I’m not giving up. Even if it is only for a few minutes on slushy ice, somebody from my family will skate on the rink this year. As Izzy says, “We're gonna take it up a notch. It’s go-time!”

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