My boxes and bubble wrap are being held hostage!

For the past 2 weeks, our basement stairs have been encased in super thick ice. There are some bad gutters on the back of our building that have created some enormous icicles and a crazy mess of ice on our back stairs and walkway. We’re basically unable to get down to our basement (you can see why from the photo of the basement stairs below).


Yesterday was our warmest day in 2 weeks (we hit a balmy 39°) so I went out back to check out the ice to see if it was melting and I totally wiped out. On my way to the basement steps, I fell down our porch stairs (which were the ones that weren’t supposed to be slippery). Ouch!  Luckily I ended up without anything broken or sprained. Just bruised and sore. Ian managed to get down the basement steps to clear up the drain to hopefully keep the icy from getting much worse (and snap this picture) .

There are 2 problems with this situation.

1: We can’t get to the washer & dryer
2: I can’t get to my newly stocked stash of boxes and bubble wrap.

In anticipation of needing to ship a huge dinnerware set to California (and an upcoming move), I placed an order for a slew of boxes, bubble wrap and foam a couple of weeks ago. As usual, I stored it all in our basement (before the ice appeared). I usually try to use recycled packaging, but I did so much shipping over the holiday season, I had completely depleted my supplies. Now the ice is holding all of my shipping supplies hostage!  The fall down the steps that weren’t very icy has scared me off from trying to rescue my boxes and bubble wrap until there’s some major melting. Please send your warm thoughts to Chicago!

9 thoughts on “My boxes and bubble wrap are being held hostage!

  1. Emily,
    Great blog, a must for everyday reading!
    As a Chicago resident, I can sympathise; I also know that the ice is frozen super hard thanks to the subzero temps we had a couple of weeks ago.
    A drastic solution would be to buy a used pair of crampons from ebay, or buy or borrow some athletic shoes with cleats. Golf shoes with spikes would work, I would think.

  2. sending you warmth from Arizona—I grew up in Chi-town, so I totally sympathize. I enjoy your blog, so keep up the good work, and next time I’m up there, I will come by–I think I had a mug of yours from Lillstreet years ago….;)

  3. Ugh, ouch…
    Cleats… but when I snow board I wear but pads,knee pads, wrist guards and a helmet… borrow from someone who “does rails” …
    I just don’t know how you’ll get back up!

  4. Hi Emily
    Have you tried rock salt on your stairs? It works like a charm. Also (and i’m going to sound like a durn fool here for i don’t know the name of these) but there are elastic-y rubber banded with coiled wires interwoven in the rubber which slide over the outside of your boots which will keep you from falling on ice. A friend gave me a pair last year after i’d fallen and by golly they work! I just don’t know what they are called but you might try ski supply stores as a source for them – or outdoor sports.
    Your post below this one on stains is fascinating !!! I wonder what oxide she uses?
    I’m over in cold, snowy Idaho so you know i’ve been praying for warm weather for everyone!

  5. My supplies are also frozen in under my house with an outside opening totally frozen/iced/snowed over. I live in the Poconos in Pa. I feel your pain and am happy nothing is broken. Have you ever tried Yaktrax? They are sold in sporting goods stores…..chains for your shoes…they work great!

  6. Judi- My sister managed to get down the steps, and on her way up she just kept saying: I’ve climbed mountains that were bigger and icier than this. I just need to make it up another 3 stairs…

    Chae- We have tried the salt. Bags of it. You wouldn’t believe how ineffective it is on this thick ice! We poured a thick layer over each stair and within minutes, the icicles dripped and the water froze on contact- OVER the salt! It’s like there was nothing there at all! I think Carole is writing about the elastic things: Yaktrax.

    Carole- were you looking at my computer? Did you see the tab open to Yaktrax? :) I think I am going to get a pair. This ice isn’t going anywhere and there’s work to do! At least the door isn’t actually frozen shut! Good luck with your frozen supplies!

  7. Emily-
    I’m late on responding to your post but have been aware of your ice situation! I have to second Carole’s motion on the Yaktrax. I had a pair and they were awesome. Under some unfortunate circumstances I managed to destroy them and never had them replaced, but have been meaning to! They really are great – however, those back steps are perhaps even too treacherous for the Yaktrax…

  8. I ordered a pair of Yaktrax. I have heard great things about them and know that they will get put to good use. I was too nervous to use them on the stairs given my previous wipe out, but we have a lot of slippery surface here in the winter :)

    The good news is that my neighbors conquered the ice. They were outside for at least 7 hours yesterday. They used the hot water spigot from the basement and an ax (yes, an ax) and went to town. I know that they were out there for 7 hrs straight, but it could have been longer. That was just from when I first realized they were back there. I have been doing laundry all day today and I’m about to start pulling up the boxes and bubble wrap. The icicles have started to drip again and I keep re-salting the steps. And when I say drip, that is a bit of an understatement. It is like a heavy rain. on the middle 3 stairs. Bound to get iced over again if it’s not kept on top of.

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