I braved the ever-falling snow today. I packed Sophie and my mom in the minivan and took them to Safeway.
On the way I missed a stop sign, until my mom screamed, "There's a stop sign!" Our van came slipping to a halt.
A little further on I missed a stop light, until my mom screamed, "There's a stop light!" Our van lurched through the snow several more feet before stopping in the middle of the intersection.
I'm not usually that bad a driver. The only explanation I can give is that I was keeping my eyes on the road. Literally.
Today, the roads were continuous avenues of white, without any indication where an intersection began. The tree limbs were coated from tip to soil, each branch standing out like its own piece of artwork. Willows looked especially pretty, like white haired princesses. The snow continued to fall.
We slipped our way onto the freeway. Exiting, I almost slid us into a ditch because the exit ramp wasn't cleared and I didn't slow down enough.
Coming back was worse. I barely made it onto the freeway at all. By that time I was trembling. And praying. Praying hard. Oh Lord, let us get home. Baby screamed from her carseat all the way. I drove 40 miles an hour on the freeway and let the cars and trucks pass me on the left. My tires kept slipping. I honestly couldn't go any faster. And the snow still came down.
Eventually we made it to our hill. Up we went.
Close to the top we ground to a halt. I tried the gas again. The wheels spun.
"Stay here," I told my mom. "I'll get Aaron."
I ran up the hill, my boots marking in the freshly fallen snow. I came into the house looking like a snowman -- hair snowflecked, jacket dusted, boots encrusted.
Together Aaron and I headed back to the van. I sat behind the wheel and he tried to push. No go.
My mom took Baby up to the house, her scarf wrapped around her head like a babushka.
A kind neighbor who had seen me from his window, an elderly man with his jacket hanging open and a homemade snow shovel, arrived to dig my wheels out.
Dad and brother then arrived to help Aaron push.
People came to the intersection right ahead of me, saw me stuck and turned around to go the other way.
A snow plow trundled up the hill, snorting. He passed us, but stopped on his way back down to help me. The men grabbed handfuls of salt from the back of the plow to throw under my tires.
They pushed again. I shifted to a low gear and pressed the gas tentatively. That time, I made it to the top of the hill, only to end up on the side of the road next to our mailboxes.
My brother-in-law came in his truck. The four men together pushed the car down our gravel road and I barrelled down our driveway, straight into the open garage.
This is not the first time I've had the audacity to need rescuing on our hill and driveway.
The first time, I almost killed the man who came to put in our countertop. That was the first snow, and I parked in the driveway not knowing I wouldn't be able to get out again. My van slipped sideways and almost crashed into his truck. He threw his body in between the two and yelled, "Crank the wheel the other way!" That was the only way I knew I was turning it in the wrong direction.
Another time, on a day when we had helpers galore assisting at our house, there were about ten vehicles parked out front. My brother-in-law was parked at an angle behind me. I thought I could squeeze out without asking him to move. The ensuing fifty-seven-point turn landed me jack-knifed in between the retaining wall on the opposite side of our one-lane private road and the back wheel of my brother-in-law's truck. I was absolutely, totally stuck. We called all the men out of the house. After they finished laughing at me they managed to lift the tail of the truck and swing it around so it was out of my way. Thus, I was able to drive away with only a mild scrape on my bumper.
I'm not a bad driver. Maybe just inexperienced. And not good in snow or driveways.
Consider yourself warned.