Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winter Is Not For Wusses

AS A BONAFIDE winter weather wuss, I should have let my first encounter convince me to just stay home, indoors away from the evilness of winter. 

It happened as I stepped out of my house and landed on my butt. It was over before I realized it had happened. I struggled to my feet, went back inside, leaving my purse and keys on that evil icy-snowy stuff. I changed into more appropriate footwear. 

Daughter #2 had a final at 3:00 and needed a ride to the community college on the south side of town. A nervous Nelly on snow-packed roads, I had already made arrangements with my supervisor to take another vacation day since the 12 mile drive to my job in Corvallis would have been perilous at best. 

We crept down the hill with no problems. Before long we were riding on bare pavement with intermittent reminders of last week's snowstorm. Easy peasy compared to what I'd left behind on the hill where my hubby and I chose to live during the summer, 16 years earlier. 
My street with the impending
downward slope

After dropping off #2, I ran a few errands. 

Back at the college, I chatted with Daughter #1 on the phone while waiting for #2 to finish. It was around 4:30 and with the sun's decline came the grip of cold once more. The roads were freezing up, fast. 

Everyone was driving slowly, cautiously on the way home save for the cliched 4x4 pickup whose driver was obviously making up for other inadequacies. 

The final leg of the trip required navigating two hills. I began my assent, got about a third of the way up and felt my tires losing their grip. Swallowing my anxiety, I quickly decided not to risk going any farther. I would back up and park at the bottom of the hill and #2 and I would walk home. 

Easier said than done. Backing up meant sliding sideways. I would break gently and slide, break gently and slide--backwards, downhill, eek! Finally, I made it to the shoulder and let the brake out. A little slide and--nothing. Good. I called my son, (my husband was out of town) who said he'd come and either try to get my car up the hill or park it in a safe place until the roads improved. I love my son. 

Daughter #2 and I exited the car but before we could even get our doors closed, the car began sliding. It was one of those surreal moments, like watching a video. The car slid down then curved out into the street, crossed it, then stopped abruptly as it hit the embankment on the opposite side, emergency flashers blaring intermittently in the darkness. 

It's funny now. Sort of. The car is still parked where we left it last night. There are groceries in it but I'm not too worried about them. It's colder outside than it is in my refrigerator. 

This, my friends is why I'm a bonafide winter weather wuss and why I live in western Oregon where ice and snow are fairly rare. Or at least they used to be. 



  1. I am a winter weather wuss too. That must have been a scary few moments when the car moved across the street on its own. Like you, I prefer not to venture out when it's like that.

  2. Even a bonafide winter he-woman would be a wuss without our winter powers. We had temps in the single digits and a foot of snow overnight. But by morning the plows had been out and the roads were cleared and salted. Save for a few spots all was fine, and I made the hour drive to work with no problems.

    But our secret is we have the snow removal equipment. I have been in seattle when they have had snow and ice and the only way around was chains...and no way we got up the hills. So don't beat yourself up about it. Without the special powers we have in the NE we would be wussies too!!

  3. You're not a wuss. It's just not something you're used to. We don't get a great deal of snow around here; probably more ice than snow some winters. I'm scared to drive on ice, though I will venture out in snow. I lived in Northwest Ohio for 5 years, where we got a LOT of snow. It was easy to drive on, though, because the land was completely flat. When you have hills like where you live and I live, it makes it tougher. I'm glad everything ended up OK. :-)

  4. I grew up and learned to drive in a rural area outside of Spokane, WA, snow and ice aplenty, not many snow plows. I shouldn't be a wuss right? But I am. I was clenching my teeth right along with you in this story.

  5. Even though I grew up in north Idaho, I've never liked the snow. It's even worse now that I'm back in Idaho after having lived down South for the past two winters. I've never been more cold in my entire life. I'm sitting here with my robe and UGGS on, plus a small space heater at my feet. The house is 70 inside, but I'm still cold!!! Mild southern winters have ruined me ;)


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