Monday, January 24, 2011

A Snow Saga

Last week was the snowiest I can remember in 34 years on this earth. While I'm sure it's a bit of selective memory on my part, I can state unequivocally that New Hampshire is currently covered with quite a bit of the white stuff.

Because Addie just got her license this past fall, I'm extremely overprotective about when and where and how (and who) she drives. Yeah, I'm the annoying mother that requires her to text me both before she leaves to go anywhere and as soon as she arrives at her destination. If she doesn't do those things, she loses her car. Period.

I also reserve the right to deem the roads unsafe for her to drive. Because of the snow, she wasn't allowed to drive herself to school at all last week. Today, because the roads were clear, Addie was back on the road.

Because she had mid-terms today, she got out of school at 12:15. Just before one, I got a text telling me that she arrived home. I was relieved and went about my business of proctoring my mid-terms (which my school had today, too).

And then my phone started ringing. Well, actually, it started vibrating because it was on silent. I saw it was Addie and pressed the "ignore" button, figuring that she'd already told me that she'd gotten home safely so it was probably one of those "I'm out of shampoo, can you pick some up for me?" kind of things. I assumed I'd get a voicemail notification, but instead the phone started vibrating again. The third time she called back, I finally answered it.

Addie was absolutely hysterical. Her car was stuck at the bottom of the driveway and she'd tried to move it and it was now stuck in a snowbank and she needed me to help her and so on. I tried to get her calmed down and told her I'd get her car taken care of when I got home and not to worry.

Belle's after-school care is located on the same street as my house, so I got a look at the car on my way by--I cringed when I looked in the driveway. It was bad. Bad enough, in fact, that I wasn't sure I'd be able to squeeze my car in far enough to move Addie's car. It was clearly not going to be a cool experience.

I called Addie as I was grabbing Belle and told her to start the car so I wouldn't freeze while I was trying to move it (temperatures were in the negative numbers today). I also asked her to come grab Belle from my car (our driveway is fairly long and extremely steep), which she readily agreed to do.

When I got home, I did my best to maneuver my car as far into the driveway as possible ... put the hazard lights on just in case, though. Addie was as good as her word and met Belle and I at the bottom of the driveway, grabbing Belle's paraphernalia and starting up the driveway as I went to get into her car.

Which was locked.

Yup, while starting the car so it could warm up, Addie had accidentally locked her keys in the car.

So she starts crying all over again while I go looking in the yellow pages for the police department. Turns out, by the way, that my town's police department does not accommodate people who lock their keys in their car, but the dispatcher kindly directed me to CarOpeners who, for $60, will come Slim Jim a locked car.

I didn't really have a choice in the matter.

So Mr. CarOpener comes after about twenty minutes, and he was great. His flashlight died in the midst of the great car break-in venture, so I got my flashlight from the house, which he was very appreciative of. He gets the door opened, and I get in the car and try to move it.

Nothing.

So the Slim Jim guy offered to try to extricate the car from its snowy prison, which was super nice of him. It took him a few minutes, but he eventually got the car up to the garage, which I don't know that I would have been able to do.

I did learn a couple of things from this, though.

The first is that I found out that Addie had gotten into the driveway just fine on her own. She was trying to help by backing her car into the garage so it would be out of the way and she got it stuck in the process. We did have a long conversation after my hands defrosted about how, if you are uncomfortable in a driving situation, to stop what you're doing and call someone who can help you. Oh, and that she just needs to get into the driveway--I'll put her car into the garage for her after I get home from work.

The second thing was how kind Mr. Slim Jim was. I mean, obviously I paid him sixty bucks to get the car unlocked, a process that took about two minutes. He had absolutely no obligation, however, to help me get the car out of the snowbank, never mind move it up to the garage.

There is so much simple human decency in the world, and I am always so grateful when I encounter someone that reminds me of this.