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The Slice: Cross checking the forecast

Fri., Jan. 18, 2013, midnight

If you ever helped maintain a backyard ice rink, it forever changed your perspective on winter.

OK, maybe that’s not true for everyone. But for at least some who once obsessed about weather’s implications for a homemade skating surface, all seasonal conditions can be viewed through an impact-on-the-rink filter. Even, that is, when you haven’t actually cultivated home ice in decades.

It’s not just a matter of monitoring the temperature and its obvious role in maintaining ice. No, there’s freezing and then there’s freezing.

If you ever took care of a backyard rink, you probably know that there’s such a thing as being too cold for ideal resurfacing. And you know all the ways fresh snow can challenge rink maintenance.

You can note a forecast calling for sunny days and warm temperatures and reflexively feel an echoic “Uh oh.”

There’s much more, of course.

But sometimes on a clear winter night with the temperature in, say, the teens, taking a bag of trash out to the barrel can turn into time travel.

And you imagine. Somewhere out there under the same moonlight, a kid in rubber boots is holding a hose and adding a new layer of ice. Little does that kid know that there’s a good chance he will remember that rink for a long, long time.

A note from “Plowing in Pullman”: “It’s one of the great moral questions of our time: You own a snowblower and, after clearing your own sidewalks and driveway, do you continue?

“There’s a certain noblesse oblige that comes with owning a snowblower and, besides, it’s a power tool. You’ve got to strut your stuff.

“So you plow out the driveway of the widow who lives next to you. Do you keep going? What about the stay-at-home mom with a new baby who lives on the other side of the widow? … It’s a moral minefield, Paul.”

Warm-up question: If you were in charge, would you have waiters and waitresses paid a better base salary and do away with tipping?

Today’s Slice question: What did you do with your 3-D glasses after the movie?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email You can draw your own conclusions if everything you watch on TV has commercials for erection pills.

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