By Drew Olson Special to Published Feb 17, 2008 at 10:36 AM

There are very few occasions when I look back longingly at my days as an apartment dweller.

Today is one of them.

As a renter, you probably aren't responsible when the driveway needs plowing or the sidewalk ices over.

The craptacular mix of rain and sleet has transformed much of the area into a skating rink. This morning I joined a small squadron of unfortunate saps that ventured into the elements in search of salt to spread on the porch, sidewalk and driveway.

I hit a couple of major home improvement centers. No dice. I heard one clerk laugh when the guy in front of me asked if they had any rock salt or other magic ice-melting compounds.

"We've been sold out of that stuff for days," the clerk said.

At one store, a helpful gentleman was instructing customers to purchase solar salt crystals -- the same kind you put in a water softener -- to use on the sidewalks.

"Salt is salt," he said. "It will work the same way. You have to get the temperature down."

He may be right, but I've also heard that water softener salt can leave ugly pockmarks in concrete sidewalks.

Since I needed salt for the water softener, anyway, I bought a few extra bags. I sprinkled a little bit on the sidewalk, went inside, watched water stream over the ice dams in my gutters and worried about the foundation / basement.

It's days like this that apartment living looks pretty good.

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.