Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday Three: Weather!

Oh, sure--laugh at the weather guy get blowed away real good…
But don’t tell me YOU’VE never done stuff just as dumb!
Boy, I sure hope you have.
BECAUSE, today just happens to be Thursday, and after a long e-mail exchange with the always engaging, self-proclaimed weather junkie Sarah G., she just happened to hit upon an idea for a certain every-Thursday game we play around here. After witnessing Mr. Al Roker’s foolhardiness and subsequent fall-down-go-boomage during the late passing of Hurricane Wilma, Sarah said: “The Thursday Three should be about the most idiotic things you have done in bad weather.”NOT BEING ONE TO TURN DOWN A REQUEST FROM A BRUNETTE WITH FOUR CHILDREN--we herewith offer you
The Axis of Weevil “Great Big Moron Against the Elements” Edition of the Thursday Three!
[polite applause]
Now then, we want you to name the THREE most idiotic things you’ve ever done to prove yourself against the forces of Mother Nature. This doesn’t have to be just weather, though, even though Sarah would probably like it that way, but can be any of the forces of Nature--gravity, weather, earthquakes, electromagnetism…

Why thank you Terry. Now on to my own personal moments of weather related brilliance. For some reason they are all car related. I guess getting behind the wheel of a car somehow grants me greater self confidence in my abilities than they really merit. I will note however two occurred during college and shortly afterwards, so age may have been a factor.

  1. Driving home for Thanksgiving in a snowstorm. Sounds relatively innocent, but you have to realize that I was driving from Connecticut to Vermont right along with the storm. The truly brilliant part was that I was driving my Super Beetle, a car notorious for no heat and essentially no defrost for the front windshield (all it could do was generate two half dollar sized clear spots). I remember the car effortlessly plowing through the few small drifts of snow in the underclassmen parking lot and chuckling at the more expensive cars trapped within those same drifts. Connecticut and the first half of Massachusetts were not too bad. The snow was getting heavier, but it was doable, then I hit the leading edge of the storm. It was a wet slushy mix falling from the sky and sticking to the windshield. My wiper blades could just barely keep up until a truck would pass me. A great spray of muck would be slapped against my windshield; freeze and I would be almost blinded. I would then pull over and scrape the window and then drive on. I don’t know why I didn’t pull over and call home. My mom would have happily come down to rescue me. I had a phone card and there were plenty of exits. In the end I did make it home in one piece.

  2. My next incident happened when I was living in Wisconsin, but before Larry and I got married. It was wintertime, almost spring and a Friday night. The roads were slippery with isolated patches of ice. I had gone out to meet some friends in a bar. The drive was fine until I reached the restaurant where the bar was located. To get to the bar you had to turn into a largish parking lot travel down a small dip and up a short but steep hill to the bar’s section of the lot. The hill was a sheet of ice. The first time I got a third of the way up it until my car slid back down. I kept gunning the car up the hill until I made it. The lot was nearly empty so I was never in actual danger of hitting another car, but it was still stupid. I should have parked in the lower section and walked up. I guess it was a little bit fun and a challenge to my driving abilities.

  3. My third weather related stupidity also occurred in Wisconsin, but after Larry and I had married and I was pregnant with our first child. The Midwest was experiencing an extreme cold snap. For a week the highs never climbed above -20 (that’s right 20 degrees BELOW zero) and the lows hovered around 40 below. As a result AAA was slammed and it was almost impossible to get a tow or a jumpstart. We were fortunate in that one of our cars would still start in the extreme cold. One night had gone out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We found a parking spot just outside of the restaurant, but we had to park ontop of some large lumps of ice/snow. When we were done with dinner went outside to discover our car’s left front tire was flat as a pancake. We tried calling AAA and we could get was a busy signal. So we decided to change the tire ourselves (remember it was extremely cold and dark, not the best situation to change a tire and I was quite pregnant and somewhat useless). We got the car jacked up and the lug nuts off, but the tire was frozen onto the car. We could not get it off. I called the police for assistance, but no luck. For some strange reason I was convinced that the restaurant had a sledge hammer and I went inside to ask if they had one and if we could borrow it. I went in and the owner was right there so I asked him. He then stared at me for a few seconds and then said yes we could. Talk about luck! It was amazing he had one and even more so that he loaned it to us. I think that I was a harmless looking and obviously pregnant aided my case. With a couple of mighty whacks to the tire Larry got it off and put on the spare. I then returned the sledge hammer with profuse thanks. We should have paid for a nice level space in a parking garage or gotten a friend to take us home. We were lucky that it all worked out and that we did not get frost bitten.

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