Thursday, December 16, 2010
Put on Ice
Hunting season 2010 continued explosively with an out-of-season doe. It was Tina's fault, and the way she tells it, the doe tried to bag an out-of-season van. On her way north one night, she vaporized the poor thing, losing a couple of lights and the ability to open the driver's-side door in the process.
The next day, the dogs removed as much of the evidence as they could. Fortunately for them, there was no repeat of the infamous "A Christmas Story" scene. (Not that I have ever seen it myself - I just happen to know several people who can quote it at length. I may have mentioned that before.)
The next, and hopefully final game bagged by a family member was last weekend. Turning into the church parking lot, Jack began to skid, or something. (He still claims it was mechanical failure. I'm sure all the men would agree with him.)
As he pulled into our usual place, the car kept right on going and plowed straight into the church with a resounding crash. A thick metal pipe kept the church wall from injury, and simultaneously left a dandy impression on my front end.
All this happened before...
The Ice Storm
Unlike previous ice storms, consisting mainly of the freezing fog known as "frizzle", this one was actual, bona fide freezing rain. I still don't understand how you can have freezing rain at around 15-17 F, but I sure can't argue with the results.
At first, it sounded like teeny bits of hail pattering against the windows and on the roof. But through some magical and mysterious process, it froze and stuck everywhere it landed. Before long, a glossy, slippery coat covered everything outdoors.
Heady with the joy of having a vehicle again after a month of pedestrianship, I carefully made my way in to EMT class for the first time in a long time. It wasn't too bad until right close to Plentywood, and I arrived just as another wave of freezing rain arrived.
Once again we practiced with the spine boards, tying each other up, but this time with the added fun of C-collars and the KED. With no charting, there was no chance to introduce Gastron, but be patient. He'll be here soon.
At the end of class, conditions were much, much worse. A few skidding steps on the sidewalk told the story clearly enough. Our sturdy 4wd vehicle slipping around in the gas station parking lot at .5 mph added a few more details.
I knew I'd have to drive slowly and carefully, but 30-35 mph top speed was a little more (or less, depending on your perspective), than I bargained for. Even then, I still lost traction several times. Going up that first steep hill just out of town, I thought several times I was going to have to just slide back down and not go home.
Even in all my years of trucking, I had never driven in anything so bad, though the time I got lost in the narrow residential streets of Tacoma, WA with a 53 ft. trailer and came to a dead end, might have been more stressful. Or the time I got off I-5 on the wrong exit in Portland, and came a few feet from blundering into downtown with no way out except a helicopter. Or the time...
But I digress.
Morning brought only a little help from the sun. Have I mentioned that I have a new p/t job? That may seem like a digression, perhaps even rather random, but it's not. My job is maintaining the safety and integrity of the sidewalks around the senior apartments - both sets of them. As you can well imagine, my work area was grim, very grim. (After 2 days of work, I am only just now starting to make some progress with clearing away that pernicious, foul stuff.) School was even postponed till 10 am as the buses couldn't safely make their route any earlier.
Into that melee and mayhem romped Tina, driving to work only a little slower than usual. A few miles before reaching the big city she hit a patch of ice, landing turned around and sideways in the center median. She wasn't hurt, and the van suffered surprisingly little damage: a dent in the side, and one mirror gone. No one is quite sure why it won't run, but I suppose we'll find out eventually.
I'm still not sure how she got out, lying on her passenger side as she was. The deer jammed the door on her side, remember? Anyhow, she made it some way or other, and borrowed a phone to call and break the news to Mom and Dad that yet another car had bitten the dust.
Tonight was EMT class again, but we missed it this time. Just out of town we began to slide around, even at a very low speed. Better safe than sorry, with my apologies to Gastron.
Tomorrow I'm going to try and chip away some more of the ice on "my" sidewalks. The ice melt is helping some, but apparently nobody told the freezing rain that it was supposed to melt on command. Probably I won't drive anywhere tomorrow. For no particular reason.
Growing increasingly paranoid of driving,