Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcome to Winter.

Yesterday, I experienced my first true winter storm. I don't know how much it actually snowed, but enough to cover everything in white and make the sidewalk indistinguishable from the street before the snowplows came. It's like I live in a Christmas card, with the snow softly falling outside, building up on my window panes, and making everything look wintery. It's gorgeous.

As soon as the sun came up, I took Bailey outside and we stomped around the front yard. Bailey LOVES the snow. She gets really playful, running and jumping around. Eventually she discovered you can eat snow, which makes her whole snow experience even more hilarious. Because it's really powdery, she does this half-bite half-sneeze grab into snow piles, and then it builds up on her whiskers and makes her look like she's been doing some illegal recreational activities.

Because a lot of my co-workers live in town, and town is incredibly small, we set up a small carpool and this week was my week to drive. When I was living in the Farmhouse, I wouldn't leave until I heard the snowplows go by, so I had to ask my carpooling buddy if I had to wait for them in town too. It's a gift I give, these moments of complete winter ignorance, that my coworkers (and you!) can laugh about later because no, you don't wait. You just go. Snowplowers, as I have now learned, are incredibly unreliable.

And well, I have now learned why driving in snow is absolutely terrifying.

I like to think that I just got a little squirrely, but carpooling buddy has been describing it as a spin out. And see, the difference to me is that I just sort of slid around a little bit, in and out of my lane (and the next lane) until I stopped moving and could proceed as normal. I didn't end up in a ditch or hit anything, but I did learn that ice is fucking slippery as shit. And while I felt rather embarrassed for slipping around (because of course, I reacted in every wrong way possible), I found out later that another coworker did a 360 in the same spot, and another one ended up in the ditch at that same spot too (he's fine). So after work, my friends took me out around town and out into the country to work on my snow driving. We didn't practice spinning out or anything, but just got me used to driving in the snow and on slippery surfaces, getting over drifts left in the middle of the road, and navigating slippery hills on both upward and downward trajectories. I'm still terrified, but I feel a little better, and have learned that it doesn't matter if you're a little late to things - go as slow as you need to in order to be safe. If you're safe and slow, then you won't spin out.

I'm also going to try to keep my California plates for the rest of winter, hoping it'll serve as a sort of explanation to the Iowans around me as to why I'm going so very slow. And maybe warn them to keep their distance.

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