They (who is this "they?" I’d like to write them a mean letter.) say that there’s another round of Polar Vortex coming around in late September this year. Which means snow. IN SEPTEMBER. I sincerely hope that they’re wrong, but I am silently gearing up for another Michigan winter. Which in theory will be my last Michigan winter for the next few years. Can’t say I’m too disappointed about that idea (how are winters in Japan? my sources say that they get some snow but nothing like our crazy “make sure there’s a tennis ball on your car antennae so the plow knows there’s a vehicle under all that snow” kind of snow.)
It is times like these, where I brace myself for shorter days and colder weather, that I find myself reflecting on winters past. In this post in particular, I’d like to reflect a bit on that one time last year where I was 3 hours late to work because I am incapable of being a reasonable human being when there’s too much snow. Would you like to hear this story? I think you would.
At the very beginning of 2014, Michigan found ourselves whalloped with soo much snow that it truly felt a bit like being Mario and taking a THWHOMP to the head. We had a few snow days in a row, and when I say snow days, I mean like even the universities in the are closed, and if you’re not from a place that does snow days, you should know that’s when a college calls off class, you know the weather is a big flipping deal that day. Anyway the point is, the preschool was super closed.
The day we the world started turning again and Michiganders were all supposed to brave the elements, was also the first day The Mister or I had put any thought into the snow on the driveway. I will be the first to admit that I am lazy(-ier) in the winter, and so generally throughout the winter, the bottom of our driveway becomes a giant piece of ice, because once I’ve already gone through the trouble of shoveling the whole stupid drive, I am too tired to then chip away at the small chunk of ice that always accumulates at the end from the plows going by. So that ice grows, obviously. By the time our “go back to land of living” day came around, it was at least a foot of ice between the world and the driveway underneath.
So on that day, I got ready to go to work, put on my winter boots (I love that point of every Michigan winter where people stop bothering to even bring along nice shoes to work and just wear their winter snow boots with their professional clothing all darn day), and trudged outside. I got the car started, so that was a win (cold can sometimes kill a car’s ignition), and backed down the driveway.
I then got stuck half in and half out of the driveway on the ice/snow/plow combo.
Not a problem. If you live in Michigan and know how winter works, you keep a shovel in the back of your car at all times for just such an occasion. SO I got out of the car to try and shovel out a path for the tires. Except that I also forgot, since the car was not moving, and since I had not had any coffee yet, that I left the car in drive.
I realized that the car automatically locks when the doors shut if it's in drive... a millisecond after closing the door to keep the heat in while I shoveled, and then immediately started to freak out that the car will somehow gain purchase and magically drive up the driveway and into our house while I was locked out of both the car and the house. And when I say freaked out, I mean full on meltdown in the middle of the damn street.
I managed to pull myself together well enough to realize my phone was in my pocket, and I calmed down to call for help. Only to find that so many people had been boneheads in this snowpocalypse that tow trucks aren't responding to anything but 911 calls to keep from getting overwhelmed.
...What else could I do? The car’s tires were still, thankfully, mercifully, just going round and round in place on the ice, half in the road but at least not moving anywhere.
I decided to trudge through the 2+ feet of snow, over the fence and dig down to the ground to grab the hide-a-key in the backyard. Did I mention that I may have thought to wear winter boots that day, but I had paired the look with a sweater dress and leggings? That fashion statement goes really well with two feet of snow. (Oh hi Sarcasm, what’s up?)
That hide-a-key I dug up out of the garden? Frozen shut. Of course, I go back to freak out mode then. Trying and failing not to cry as I called 911 for essentially being a giant idiot. I would imagine, based on the voice at the other end of the line, that I was certainly not the first person that day to call the emergency line for something insanely stupid. However, stupid getting locked out of a car in drive is… I did at least qualify as an actual emergency. An officer was dispatched to my location as soon as he was available from the previous stupid people being stupid in the snow call.
In the meantime, I stood outside in the cold for an hour. Let me be clear that I definitely earned that wait. My legs disagreed at the time, but really I wasn’t missing a limb or anything so I had no right to complain.
After all that, once the officer arrived on the scene, he was the kindest and most patient person I could have asked for in the situation. He poured out his fresh hot coffee over our hide-a-key so I could get into it, then get into the house, and get a coat hanger. He used that coat hanger to spend his whole morning picking my car lock, and THEN once he actually got me into the car so I could put it in neutral, he wasted another half hour chipping away the ice at the end of my driveway and pushing me out of it.
Moral of the story:
- Never make fun of a cop getting breakfast at Dunkin’ Doughnuts. That coffee he’s having with his glazed jelly is could come in super handy. (not that I made fun of cops before)
- Don’t wear a dress to work if there’s more snow on the ground than your boots are tall.
- Chip the ice. If you don’t want to chip ice, move out of Michigan.
- Hey Mister, did you buy our plane tickets out of here yet?
What’s your worst winter story?
Ever get stuck somewhere and needed to call for help?
Have you ever needed to call 911 for something stupid? Tell me in the comments!
I feel like weathering Winter would be more way more reasonable
while hanging out in a hot spring with Japanese Macaques.