Sunday, December 30, 2007

You see the car? I don't see the car (My Sacred Life, Sunday)

We had snow twice in the last week: on Christmas Day, we had the most snowfall on that day of the year, ever. Sounds worse than it was, as it only amounted to six or seven inches. It snowed every minute of the daylight hours on the 25th, dawn to darkness.

Not having learned to become one with my shovel, I was not thrilled by the amount, but not too worried. I shoveled the necessary areas on the 26th.

Then, it snowed on the 27th, on into the 28th. Still, not a big deal, as I shoveled the sidewalks again and had no trouble getting to work on the 28th.

While I was at work, the friendly road crew folks, now equipped with plow blades on the front of something like 160 pickup trucks to supplement the heavier-duty, full-sized road plows, were busy trying out their new equipment. They did a marvelous job plowing my street.

One teensy problem: the snow has to go somewhere, right? In this case, the "somewhere" was a 30-inch-tall berm of snow which ran the entire length of the street, roughly three feet away from the curb. I normally park my 19-year-old Camry on the street. You can see the problem: here I am, on the street, eying my parking spot on the other side of this snow wall. Of course, my driveway is equally on the wrong side, but that's not the current concern. Right then, Friday night, I needed to put the car somewhere.

I knew I had several days during which I would not need the car, so I decided to get it as close to the curb as I could, knowing it would be stuck there. Starting far enough back to pick up some speed, I cruised over and through the berm and, as expected, ended up high-centered but out of the cleared area of the street.

The poor Camry sat for two days, obviously not going anywhere (the front end was pointed, as if hopeful, out a bit toward the street, and the back end was stubbornly up against the curb).

Today's topic is my joy and grateful feeling for all the things that went right so that you see the photo at the top, where there is no longer a car.

I began by digging as much of the snow from under the car as I could, even using a hoe to reach as far under the car as I could. A couple of the very-same pickup trucks came by and were kind enough to remove the berm from in front of the Camry and from in front of the driveway, simply piling the berm higher between our house and the neighbor's.

They could not use their plowblade to push the Camry, for all the [insert string of colorful adjectives here] lawyers who might become richer if they did so and something went wrong. Still, I thanked them for making it much easier, once I managed to get the car to move about two feet, to get it all the way out of the jam it was in. Plus, Julia will have ease of mind about the Odyssey in the driveway. I had no trouble blasting through the berm with the minivan because it has a good deal higher clearance under it's middle than the Camry does, but I knew she would like it better all pretty and clear than looking like, well, someone had blasted through it. She is, after all, a Carolina girl unaccustomed to blasting through piles of white stuff.

I continued the digging process. The biggest problem was that one wheel did not have enough weight over it, meaning it would spin too easily, giving no traction. The other wheel would sit still in sympathy.

Once I had gotten as much of the snow as possible out from under the left side (where the high-centering was evident), the right side wheel was still not weighted down enough.

My stepmom had suggested leaving the car running, in hopes the engine heat might help with the snow under the front axle, at least a little. I thought that a reasonable idea and had the car running the entire time I was digging.

The last and final tactic was to retrieve a little kitty litter from the house, and deposit a bit both in front of that right drive wheel, and behind it. I was hoping that adding just that little bit more traction would help.

I was able, finally, to get the car to back up all of about six inches, but that was all it took. I rocked it forward and back until I had a good two feet of space I could move. I started from the back end of that little maneuvering space, asked her for all the power she could muster, and pulled forward all the way out to the cleared street.

At the end, I felt it appropriate to note the absence of car as pictured above, where for days there had been a forlorn-looking one.

Today, I am grateful for:

My health, as it took a good bit of energy to dig as long as I did

The guys from the public works department, who did their best to help

My stepmother, who had a good idea in warming the engine

My inspiration to grab the kitty litter for added traction

The good old Camry herself, who only was seeking some assistance so she could get back to her job.


Sylvain said...

Rick, I'm tired and cold just reading that. Hope your back is ok.

ladybug said...

Congrats on getting the Camry free!

What an ordeal! Our honda has a big old blanket of snow on it as well...we've decided to just use the truck until we can see the tires on the car again ;)

Carla said...

Did you celebrate afterwards with hot chocolate and a heating pad? :) Glad you got your car free. That's a lot of snow!

Rick Hamrick said...

Sylvain--remarkably, I feel fine today. Either I am in better shape than I think, or I didn't work nearly as hard as it felt like I did! The latter is far more likely.

Monique--your plan is normally the one I use, but we didn't get the normal warming temperatures we often see after snow.

Carla--I went with the big turkey sandwich and a beer as my treatment. Then, some concentrated blog-reading, which always takes me out of myself and allows me to inhabit others' worlds. Go Zags!!

Dandelion seeds said...

this is such a sweet post. You took a normal annoying event and saw the wonder in it.


and glad you got the car out!!!

(btw, thanks for stopping by my blog!!!)

SupaCoo said...

I was just blog-stalking you and then I went into my e-mail and had a comment from you. What timing!

Really enjoying your blog, and thanks for swinging by mine. Happy New Year!

Angela said...

Glad you got her out! It's funny the "challenges" that snow can present when you're not used to the stuff! When I moved to Montana from Georgia I felt like I needed a lesson in snow etiquette.

Sphincter said...

You Liberator of Vehicles, you! I'm impressed by your mighty efforts. And by your ability to shine a positive light on the situation. I'm afraid I would have degenerated into a tirade of expletives that could probably embarrass a sailor.

Jane said...

Wow! That FEELS like a cold place all the way from here! This morning, as I was looking out the window, I told my daughter that it would be great to get just one snow storm this winter. She agreed and said, once again, how much she'd like to move to Denver. She's been saying this for 2 years and I have no idea why Denver sticks out in her mind. We have no friends or relatives there.

Happy New Year Rick! I look forward to a new year of blogging with you.

Julie said...

Oh man did this post bring up some very vivid memories for me. We used to live on the corner of a street, and when the plows came through, our driveway would become completely blocked.
I kid alot about hating snow and it is precisely those memories that bring the kidding to mind. -:)