Greetings from the land of upset stomachs and pale faces.
The stomach flu from the evil lands of Mordor has found it's way into our land, infecting the entire community with sudden nausea, stomach cramping, and the eventual heaving into the toilet...and other things....
My whole family got the flu pretty much at the same time. (not fun) Next, my sister who's pregnant, and her fam got it. And now I hear pretty much everybody in our neighborhood has it. I promise it wasn't our family who gave it to everybody else. I'm thinking the bug came down from the sky---from the evil gremlins. Seriously.
My sister and I were talking about this, this strange phenomena, how everybody has this stomach attaching flu---and how it's kind of a nice feeling to know that your neighbor is feeling just as gross, and miserable as you are, probably hanging out near the bathroom, feeling green. It brings you together even if you aren't in the same house. It makes you feel a together sort of miserable.
Someone from another county should set up shop and sell herbal peppermint tea, and soothing broth to all the sick and afflicted. They'd make a killing.
Ah, togetherness in misery. How perfectly horrid. And comforting. Yes. I know. I'm sometimes not so nice. Sometimes I'm just like you. *Sorry* Perhaps, "You" whoever you are, are quite angelic, and saintly. That's nice. Perhaps you can pray for me and the entire world around me who has entered into the world of pukage and trots.
Please excuse the graphicness. Sometimes life is thus, and it can't be described in any less crude terms.
Take for instance....never mind. I'll just be quiet. Hmmm... Can you tell that I've been living off Jello? Oh it's so nice and Yummy. Until you eat it for every meal for two or three days. Then it gets watery and gross in the fridge, and your brain starts to resemble it. All jiggly and weird.
I did eat ice cream today. My mom didn't quite approve. But what the heck. It tasted so good. Plus I tried some peanut M&M's last night. They were quite tasty---going down. However, I don't think they were quite accepted, as a friend, because my stomach was burbling all night.
As for the ice cream, it seems that it has been accepted as food, and I might try it again sometime.
Oh yeah, did I mention, that this stomach bug makes you hungry? And the things that taste the best are sugar and chocolate. Yum.
I can tell now that you are looking at me (or my words) with raised brow and a frown. Naughty.
Perhaps. But my theory is, if your going throw it up, might as well have something worth tasting twice.
*Once again* I am humbly sorry for my words. But it can't be helped. My fingers are inseparably connected to my brain, and my brain says, "the truth" so it is typed.
Wow. You're probably wondering when I'm going to explain the above pictures of my wonderful ice skating rink that was bought with blood, tears, ice and sweat. It was a big project, much bigger than it had to be because I was going to make it really "Big!"
Note that I said was. Because it isn't as big as I wanted it to be.
Where did I get this quirky of an idea to build my own rink? Well, ever since I was little I've wanted a ice pond in our back yard. But I was never big enough to build one myself. Well, I'm much more stronger than when I was little, and this year, the river didn't freeze because it had so much water going through it, so I had double the motivation to figure out how to make a rink.
Also, I wanted to surprise my sister when she came home for Christmas from collage. And all my nieces and nephews would be sure to enjoy it.
So I went to the all knowing "Google" and I searched, how to make a homemade ice skating rink.
This led me to some youtube videos, and the youtube videos led me to action.
To make it sweet and simple, for those of you who do not want to read my lengthy post below telling of the complicated way I made the rink, I shall simplify and say thus---- all you really need to make a rink is a medium flat level ground surface.
Next, you need some boards of the same height and thickness to line your rink.
The youtube people bought some special boards. I however wanted to make a rink with little expense possible. I used railroad ties.
Next you need some thick, long, wide, tarp to cover your rink area, and the edge of the boards, creating space for the water to reside. (just type in ice skating rink tarp in google) and order what size you want. Then you need some water, and then you need it to be cold. It's ooober simple. Ta da. There's your rink. Youtube it if you have more questions.
But I made it complicated. I figured I had most of the things I needed to make a rink. Minus the good tarps. I figured I'd buy some ice skating rink tarp, but my sis said my dad had some old ones we could use. So we went the old tarp rout.
Bad idea. Don't do it. Just don't.
Thus my story begins.
I cleared an area behind our corral, and tried smoothing the frozen ground where it wasn't level, and believe me, frozen ground doesn't move very well, even if you ask it nicely.
After that, I scouted around our yard for some long, thick boards. This took me pretty much the whole first half of the day. When I'd finished making the edges of the rink, I felt pretty proud of myself. I had been pretty creative in my finding materials to line the edge of the rink. I, with my she-woman abilities hauled a humongous long tree limb to line one side of the rink. I also used a great big corral board for another side, and I then used some other odds and ends of boards, and old railroad ties for the rest.
Then, my sister, and mom trekked out into the falling snow to my dad's old farm place, where we picked up some bigger than life tarps that used to cover the hay. I'm not joking when I say that those were heavy tarps, full of mold, and mice nests, and dirt. It was like they had become apart of the ground. Ugg. All three of us hefted the tarp into the back of our truck and brought it home. Once we got it all out of the truck, we realized that it was way too long, and not wide enough. Plus there were holes everywhere in it.
My sis was tired, so me and my mom decided to go back and get another one of the old tarps.
The tarp we selected was trapped in some weeds, and it was only by sheer will power and crazyness that we were able to get it up and into that truck. Ugg. That tarp smelled the worst of all. Mice smell is by no means a good smell. But on the other hand, if a no-good jerk guys wore 'stale mice cologne' to keep the good girls away, perhaps it would be of use after all.
Back to the story. So there we were, my mom driving the truck, and me sitting in the next seat dusting myself off. It was kind of funny because just as my mom got to the main road, she put her foot to the gas pedal, and kind of forgot we had a tarp in the back of the truck.
No sooner than we'd sped up, then the tarp went a galumphing, with fluttery style, out into the middle of the road in a messy, huge pile.
She stopped the truck, and we both looked at the tarp in the road with foreboding eyes.
We were tired, cold, and dirty. If we didn't get that huge tarp out of the road, people driving would find us a menace.
My mom and I both heaved that heavy tarp up into that truck faster than was humanly possible. Once we got the tarp into the truck, I sat on top of it. "I'm staying back here, and making sure it stays put," I told my mom.
She was worried that I'd end up an icicle, if I stayed in the back while she was driving. I was worried that I would, too. But I stayed planted firmly on top of the tarp. There was no way I would chance it falling out into the road again.
So, after cautioning my mom to drive slowly, I braced myself for cold winds.
And it was cold...brrrr....
I found that as long as I kept my head facing back, it wasn't nearly half as cold as it would have been, had I been facing the wind.
When we neared the railroad tracks I was worried that my mom would forget and drive over them much too fast. I had visions of the tarp flying out, and me wadded up in it, then being truck by another car. But luckily, we all ended up at home, safe, and sound.
Once we got the second old tarp, and laid it out next to the other tarp, we realized that we were kind of stupid. Both tarps were very flawed, and full of holes. Not only that, both weren't nearly big enough to cover the frame I had created with my boards.
What did I do? Well, I scouted around for some of our nice camping tarps, and placed them over the long stretch of ground that was still bare. But they were still not long enough to cover the empty spaces. And then there was the problem of the holes.
After deliberating for a short time, we decided that perhaps instead of spending all the time patching the holes with liquid nails, (a tough kind of glue that works in cold weather) we'd go to the feed store and buy a big tarp to cover the whole frame, and the old tarps would just be the ground work for the "real" tarp.
The tarp at the feed store was huge, silvery, and light as a feather. It cost us about 50-60 bucks.
I could have ordered a "real" ice tarp for about 80 bucks. But I wanted to build the rink before Christmas, so I we didn't want to wait, and we bought it anyway.
But we must have measured wrong because the new tarp still didn't cover the whole frame. It only covered about half of the frame. Erk. I was mad. But we decided to make the best of what we had. Our idea was to glue pieces of plastic to the old and new tarps, hemming them tightly together like a patchwork quilt. Then we'd patch up the holes in old tarps that were still showing. Then we'd finally be done.
Thus began the long and miserable journey of buying liquid nails and gluing up holes, and patching the tarps together. We tried filling up the rink many times, only to discover a new place we needed to glue. It seemed that the water went everywhere except where it needed to be. We were building up a river ice around the rink instead of in it. It was so frustrating.
When we ran out of glue, I tried duck tape, (stuff that's supposed to hold the world together.) But it failed miserably. It wouldn't stick to the cold tarp. Ug. So again I tried. I went out into the cold world with gorilla tape--the toughest tape in the world, so it says.
There was no way I was going to let this ice skating rink get the better of me.
The tape sorta stuck. But snow was starting to fall, and it made the tarp all slippery and wet. Plus huge hunks of ice stuck were to the bottom of the tarp where I needed to work. So my sister helped heave piles of ice away from the tarp so I could work.
Snow started falling in big puffy flakes round me. I appreciated the beauty of the snow, but it was making it impossible for the tape to stick. Frozen, but still unbeaten, I ran to the house, grabbed a pile of towels, and an umbrella. Then I wiped the part of the tarp down that I needed to tape, with a towel, and got it as dry as I could (all the while I prayed over that rink, and over that gorilla tape so it would stick)
And guess what? It did. Gorilla tape works!
However, that was not the end. I still needed to glue part of the tarp in another place, where the tape could ever work. So, later that evening, I went out with what? Gorilla glue, because we had ran out of liquid nails, and I glued the tarp. It was finished. I was done right?
The gorilla tape held up over the night, but the glue turned into frost and was pretty much the worlds worst glue in such cold weather.
My sister purchased another bottle of liquid nails and we glued that part of the tarp again.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that I had to replace all most of the boards lining the rink with heavy, long railroad ties---because they are all about the same size and work much better than weird sizes of wood.
Excited, and with Christmas only a couple days away, we started filling the rink up with water. It was too good to be true. We were done.
For a while everything looked good.
Then disaster struck. Water started leaking around all the parts of the tarp we had glued.
ERRK How had this happened. We had summarized that we had glued the tarps together pretty tightly. What had we done wrong?
I'm not sure.
Frustrated beyond words, sister my and I started shoveling dirt around the parts of the rink that were leaking. Pretty smart. Not.
It just started leaking everywhere else.
We were still undefeated! In the back of my mind I had had a back up plan, if the big rink did not work, we would make it half as big and just work with the good tarp.
So we did.
And it worked.
It was so easy, it was kind of painful.
Why had we gone through so much woe and sorrow.
The hard part was getting the ice and water out of our old tarps, and moving the boards to the desired smaller size. It was wet, and muddy. But we did it.
And it was nice.
So my word of advice to potential ice skating rink builders, go buy a nice NEW big tarp and you'll be glad you did. All in all, with all the glue, and tape we used, we could have bought a really big tarp. It would have been much easier.
Oh yeah, and make sure you smooth out the dirt to level before you build it, if not you'll have to fill the rink pretty full before you it's level. And one more thing, if you buy a new tarp, make sure it's not gray and shiny. It reflects light and makes the edges of the ice melt faster. Buy clear thick tarp.
I hope this super long post doesn't discourage you from building your own rink. It would have taken me a lot less time had I not been so impatient, and so very thrifty. Not.
All you really need are boards, and a tarp and some water. Even after all my trouble, I'm still amazed that our family didn't think of this idea sooner. It's a lot of fun! I'm thinking that next year, I'm going to make my really big rink (and buy a big tarp)
Funny thing is, I was in such a hurry to make the rink so my sister could skate on it when she got home from collage, but she couldn't skate on it anyway, because she got her toenail removed from an ingrown nail. Such a pity. Oh yeah, and it was pretty warm on Christmas. So the water didn't freeze until a couple weeks after we built the rink. But when the water did freeze, It was nice. And when nieces and nephews skated on it, I felt the rewards of my labors. It was really worth it.
So if your venturing forth braving some new idea, just remember that it's all worth it in the end, even if it's a lot of hard work.
And if it doesn't work, it's okay.
You'll get it. And if you don't. You don't.
But you'll learn.