Oh, the weather outside is frightful

9:30 AM PST Friday — I look at the clock and realize it’s only been 5 and a half hours since I fell asleep. While my upper brain starts computing all the possibilities for the day: gym, grocery, Web work, Xmas gift shopping (online, of course), one stark image comes to mind and lizard brain pops up and shuts the whole mess down. Just the thought of the snow outside was apparently overwhelming.

10:17 AM PST Friday — My blurry vision is clear enough to let me see the time. I get immediately stressed out that the day is getting away from me. There’s so much to do today! Aren’t we having someone over for supper? I can’t ask Susanne, as she is sound asleep.

10:23 AM PST Friday — Oh come on, just get up already, says the Angel Ev over my shoulder. This would likely work better if Angel Ev could sport me a cup of coffee.

10:31 AM PST Friday — Clad in ripped jeans, navy pea coat, shirt and sweatervest (of course), and DC-branded baseball cap, I venture out to the stand-alone garage where our car is. For the first time in a while, it is not snowing. I lean hard on the garage door to open it, then from inside, I open the big door, the one the car goes through. I smile as I realize our neighbor has done a great job of keeping our “driveway” — which is seriously only 6 feet long — really clear and passable.

10:33 AM PST Friday — Not passable enough. I am stuck as I start turning the wheels to enter the alley behind our house.

10:34 AM PST Friday — I have shoveled all of the snow in a 3-foot radius around the car, paying attention to the tires. I get back in and . . . no go, the wheels spin helplessly. I think I may have just created ice patches from the friction of the rubber. Go me, creating ice. It’s like I’m God.

10:39 AM PST Friday — I have shoveled all of the snow in a 5-foot radius around the car, rocked on it a bit, being careful of the knee, and I am realizing I am not one inch closer to the grocery store. This was a Bad Idea.


Canada's best snow gear

Canada's best snow gear



11:09 AM PST Friday — Susanne comes outside in all of her Emergency Canadian Snow Gear, sponsored by Roots clothiers. She is armed with cardboard boxes that still say her last name on them from our move four months ago. Oh, our ill-fated relocation into this frosty circle of hell! If only Dante had lived to see cars. I think of The Inferno and I can hear, somewhere, Devil Ev laughing at me.

11:22 AM PST Friday — The cardboard boxes are failing us.

11:25 AM PST Friday — Someone who has come by to drop off his unwanted cardboard boxes — in this weather, are you crazy? — which the college defines as illegal dumping, is helping us push the car out of the newly formed ice patches. Illegal dumper has a 4-wheel-drive Outback. I want a 4-wheel-drive Outback. Right now, it’s the only thing I want and the only thing I have ever wanted. Oh, and gloves for my frozen fingers. Oh, and boots. I’m noticing my toes are cold.

11:32 AM PST Friday — The car is moving! The car is moving! I’m driving! It’s driving! I’m heading down the alleyway, I’m turning left! Wow, a left turn! Gosh this street of ours needs a plow, I think. I see the VW Jetta parked on the wrong side of the street — more illegal dumpers. Wow, am I sick of these illegal dumpers. It’s like living next to a drug dealer, with the constant activity and bad parking. Okay, it’s not like that at all, but whatever. Gosh, I seem to be sliding into their car. Darn, I need to stop the car so I don’t hit them, I think. 

And now I’m stuck. A string of curse words flows out of my mouth like the rotten broccoli smell at the paper mill in Wallula. I see the illegal dumpers walking back to their car, and I call them horrible names.

11:35 AM PST Friday — I have discovered I can drive backwards. Maybe if I drive this way I will somehow reverse time and then I’ll be back in the bed having never ventured out in the first place. I hear giggling off in the distance.

11:37 AM PST Friday — I am stuck again, backwards-lodged into a bank of snow representing the curb, I think, right out in front of our house. I can actually feel my blood pumping through my veins. That is not a good sign.

11:52 AM PST Friday — Susanne is out front with me now, trying to reestablish contact with the road via the same tired cardboard boxes. Poor boxes, this is not what they signed up for when they were born at the cardboard box factory. They thought they’d be holding pretty items from Pottery Barn and making people smile, but instead, they’ve got hot rubber, rock salt, and dirty snow all over them. I start to feel like I am just another misused cardboard box.

12:11 PM PST Friday — It is clear we can’t get the car out of this spot. We wonder if we should call AAA or knock on the door of our neighbor who has a Jeep and a winch. I start thinking about the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, and tell myself that there will be no winch mishaps. No winch mishaps. I do realize at this point that I can’t feel my big toes anymore.

12:22 PM PST Friday — Susanne heads to school for meetings with students, and I head inside to call AAA. It’s busy.

12:48 PM PST Friday — AAA is busy. I see online that there are snowstorms all over the country. Someone needs to call Santa and tell him he can have his Arctic wind back.

1:15 PM PST Friday — I head back outside and shovel my way to our neighbors’ house, to talk about his mighty fine winch. He says he’ll finish lunch and then we can get cracking. Hopefully that light at the end of the tunnel is the sun, and not an oncoming train. If I see anything that looks remotely like “Canada Pacific,” I’m hauling ass out of here.

1:32 PM PST Friday — Ken and Denise come over with the Jeep, hook the winch up to the frame of my car, and pull while I put it in drive and try to get some momentum. The car slides, then the wheels spin, albeit 3 feet forward of the last place they spun. Angel Ev shouts, “Yay, we’re making ice again!” and claps his hands wildly. Devil Ev chuckles as the tires fail to find any traction. I have the sudden thought that I had a 4-wheel-drive car for 7 years and never needed it like I do right at this moment. Great.

1:34 PM PST Friday — Ken gets my car winched to within about 5 feet of his. We unhook the line and he gets ready to start the process all over again. I wonder if now that I’m in a new spot, if I can’t get something going…

1:35 PM PST Friday — I’M MOVING! THE CAR IS MOVING! THANK THE BABY JESUS! I’m turning! Still rolling! I see now that I have to handle the car a lot more sternly, instead of being Mr. Gentle.

1:38 PM PST Friday — I shut the garage door, the car safely inside, and stick my tongue out to catch a couple of snowflakes. Denise is going to the store later and I can go with her. I thank her and silently give the town one more curse, just for good measure.

1:40 PM PST Friday — I stand over the tea kettle, heating up water and wondering where the day went. And whoa, I need a shower.

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