Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ch-ch-chains, chains of fools


As it turns out, my cute little car is crap in the snow. I miss my Honda CR-V for the first time since gas prices skyrocketed to $4-plus (oh, how smart I felt back then).

It's not a huge deal, as there aren't many days when snow is on the ground around here. But I've never been scared to drive before.

Don't remember when I first drove in the snow. Maybe in high school during a trip to Lake Arrowhead? I think I was given some tips about turning into the skid or whatever, and was driving my dad's Jeep.

I had my own little SUV by the time I lived in Chicago, and had nary a problem that winter. Nor in D.C. the following year. Nor when I drove to New York City for New Year's 2000, leaving earlier than planned from my apartment in Alexandria, Va., so as to beat a forecast blizzard. My friend's father moved my car from the street into the parking garage at his building in the middle of the night, to save me from getting snowed in. But no trouble driving home.

This is my 6th winter in Washington, the second without my CR-V. We didn't have any snow to speak of last year that stuck around very long. Alas, this year, we've had a doozy and are expected to get more snow tonight and tomorrow. (Have canceled plans to go to the company Christmas party Monday in Olympia, even though I can take the company -- i.e. government -- Ford Explorer to get there.)

Last Sunday, my car wouldn't go up a very slight incline to Rob's parents' house. They told me later that no one can get up that street without 4-wheel drive. They assured me that I'd have no trouble in my own driveway. Still, I hadn't moved my car since Tuesday.

I did shovel the foot of snow off of it on Thursday, as I contemplated going to the grocery store, but then chickened out. What if I slid down and couldn't get back up? I am fortunate that I can work from home and had a swell ol' time on Wednesday and Thursday, taking occasional breaks to attempt a snowman and throw snowballs at my dog, who caught them in her mouth.


This was working out great, I thought. I'm never going back to the office! But someone called Friday morning, telling me that she needed someone to let her in, because she was scheduled for a video-conference meeting. Couldn't get a hold of the one other person who was supposed to be in the office that day, so I went ahead and backed out of the driveway.

No problem at all. No problem, even, pulling into the parking lot at my office, which was still piled high with snow, because apparently no one else in the neighboring offices had come to work since Tuesday either.

A few minutes before I planned to leave, a maintenance guy came in and asked if I could move my car to the other side of the lot, as there was a leak and they were going to be pushing all the snow from the roof to the place where my car was. No problem whatsoever; I backed my car out and parked it in a new snow drift, next to the aforementioned Ford Explorer.

This time, when I backed out, my wheels spun and didn't want to go. How embarrassing. The maintenance guys would see me and laugh. I had a set of chains in my car that I was going to have to ask them to help me assemble. Or...I was going to have to leave my car there and clear the snow from the Explorer and take it home (then worry about getting in trouble for using the GSA car for personal use). But I pulled forward and back several times and got that sucker out.

The slope of my driveway on the other hand, was not so easily conquered. I can only get halfway up it. See? I was right to be concerned. Never should have moved my car in the first place!

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