Tuesday morning's big chill had me taking a quick inventory of the kitchen gadget drawer and thinking the jolly old fellow got it wrong when he neglected to put an ice scraper in my stocking this year.
A small oversight I know, but one that seems like a bigger deal when the car's coated in ice, the defroster is sluggish and the old man is long gone with the lone scraper we brought with us when we moved south nearly 20 years ago.
Back then "one to a family" seemed like a reasonable allotment since we were moving to a tropical climate and all.
But the ice scraper is a useful tool for one and all, northerners, southerners and midwesterners alike. Oprah featured a "favorite" ice scraper that comes complete with a down fur mitt to keep your hands toasty warm. Unfortunately there was nothing like that in my Florida kitchen, so the process of elimination began. Cake decorating knife? The rubber spatula that Santa did remember to stuff in this year's stocking?
There was something about the knife being metal — or maybe it was knowing the old man would disapprove of something scratching glass — that made me lean toward the spatula. That, it turns out, is a really great tool for flipping fried eggs but a bit flimsy when it comes to ice removal.
Fortunately something called good ol' women's ingenuity led me into the old man's world — the garage to look for something, maybe one of those putty knives or a thin piece of scrap wood.
The old man hates that. To him, going through his stuff is akin to a man rifling through a woman's purse — something he'd never do, even when I wish he would, like when he needs a bank deposit slip and my hands are fist-deep in a bowl of raw meatloaf or soapy dishwater.
I have no idea what he's afraid of.
I, on the other hand, am a carpenter's daughter. I grew up with the smell of plaster and sawdust; woke up many a weekend morning to the sound of a banging hammer or a whirring blade splitting through sheets of plywood. I came into this marriage knowing the proper names of more than a few of the old man's precious tools. So I have no fear of venturing into his world. It's a jury-rigging heaven out there, never ceasing to amaze me with all the different sized nails (or, in some cases, screws) you can use to hang a picture — ever so precariously — without even using a level.
Okay, so I don't hang pictures any more.
And after explaining to the old man what my spatula was doing in his garage, there's a pretty good chance I won't be scraping ice off the car windows anymore either.
I was quite pleased, in fact, to look out over a frost-covered front yard Wednesday morning to find the deed already done.
Like I said, woman's ingenuity.
Michele Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.