Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Winter Storm

When we arrived back home in early December we were greeted by -40C temperatures and both Senor Ping and I (but especially Senor Ping) were wondering what the heck we were doing coming back to the great white north. But then in early January milder temperatures arrived and it has been very pleasant here in "flatskatchewan". We have had above average temperatures, the snow started to disappear (which might not have been the best thing for the farmers) and you didn't need to start your car and let it run for half an hour before going anywhere.

Well, this weekend the mild weather came to an end!! It started with freezing drizzle and fog on Thursday evening. And wouldn't you know it, I was booked to substitute teach in Marengo on Friday, a 45 minute commute from home. For those of you that commute daily, you're probably saying "So what, suck it up!!" But you have to realize that for 24 years of my teaching career I lived next door to the school. This meant that it took me 57 steps to go from my door to the door of the school and if I cut through the playground I could do it in considerably less steps. And on Friday morning I had to drive cross-country on grid roads, through fog and freezing rain with the worst sense of direction anyone could have. Senor Ping suggested it might be in my best interest to take the truck with 4 wheel drive and the GPS. Thankfully, I made it to and from Marengo without getting lost or stranded. I really do admire anyone that has to commute to work, I'm so glad it's not me!!!

Anyway, by Saturday morning the snow had begun to fall, the wind was blowing and there were winter storm warnings!! Watching the snow pile up on the driveway brought back memories of some of the rare "snow days" we have had over the years. The days the buses didn't run, but the parents drove through the blizzard just to make sure their Kindergarten student didn't miss a day at school (which really wasn't necessary) while the high school students that lived down the street from the school didn't show up. Those few times when commuting teachers couldn't make it home and would spend the night at our house, and the last big storm we had on April 1, 2004 when the car was buried in the driveway, the drifts reached the roof of the school and the 57 steps to school was through thigh deep snow.

However, by far the most retold "snow day" story is the about the time I buried our jeep in a snowbank. The storm had started early one Sunday morning and by mid afternoon there was lots of drifting snow and high winds and zero visibility. I ventured out in the storm to pick up prizes we had won in the annual Ladies Bonspiel. I picked up my curling buddy and Al had a movie to drop off. We put the jeep in 4 wheel drive and off the three of us went. We made it to the curling rink and the convenience store without a problem. We were homeward bound!! I followed the usual route from the store to home. My buddy suggested I might want to take Main Street. "Not a problem," I replied. "I have 4 wheel drive!" And that's when we came to a grinding halt. No warning, nothing!! We couldn't see beyond the hood of the jeep, but then it didn't matter much because we really couldn't see the hood was buried in the snowbank!!! I tried to get out and assess the situation but it soon became apparent the the snow was blocking my escape. Fortunately Al was able to get his back door open and by crawling over the seat I was able to get out and go for help. Off to the nearest house I went to call for help. A phone call home brought this response from Senor Ping. "Call a tow truck!" Eventually, after many head shakes, questioning looks and a few chuckles the jeep was extracted from a 3 foot deep and half a block long snow bank. So much for the jeep advertisement that maintained "Jeeps will take you anywhere" Ha!!! When I got home I had to put up with wise cracks and smart remarks from my family but the humiliation didn't end there. The next morning I arrived at school to find photocopied hand drawn pictures of a jeep buried deep in a snowbank posted throughout the school for all to read. So much for "What happens in the snow bank, stays in the snowbank!!"

The storm of 2010 is over, we have a few snowbanks in the backyard, some snowdrifts on the streets and the temperatures have dropped. Overall, not one of the more memorable blizzards. Of course, the jeep story was told once again (I can't believe there are actually people who have not heard the story) at a birthday party this afternoon. And when we were leaving, I offered my friend (yes, the same buddy) a ride home. She declined. I wonder why?????