Monday, February 28, 2011

I hate snow



Warning: this post is one long, annoying, self-pitying rant.

To begin with, I need to establish my snow credibility. I grew up on the prairies. I began driving in Calgary, and learned so well how to pump the brakes on ice that I have had to avoid cars with ABS ever since. I spent more years driving in Ontario, in more blizzards, and on more ice.

But here's the thing. Ten years ago I moved to southern Vancouver Island. And now - now, I hate the snow. I really, really hate the snow.

I should be more specific. If I didn't have to worry about going anywhere, I would be fine with the snow. It's pretty. It makes everything so much brighter than our usual winter-cloudy-grey. Frankie likes to play in it. It can be an adventure.

But there are three things that make driving in that lovely snow a huge pain:

(1) Our snow really is different than the prairie snow I grew up with. Really. It's very wet, and the temperature is always around freezing, so the weight of a car turns it instantly to ice. I learned that the hard way my first snow storm here - same car, same tires and same driver as had just gone through an Ontario winter, but there I was, sliding and turning down a hill in a slow motion auto ballet.

(2) We live in the country and don't have a 4-wheel drive. Country roads aren't plowed as often and don't get as much traffic, so they're usually in a lot worse shape than city roads. And we don't have a 4-wheel drive. I'm starting to think a 4-wheel drive should come with every rural property. After the big snows we had in January we borrowed my dad's 4-wheel drive, and it didn't snow again. Until we returned it a week ago. It has snowed almost every day since.

(3) We live at the bottom of a big hill. Lovely for coming down, but impossible to get up until it has been plowed or the snow melts. It's actually worse than that: from the end of our driveway we have to go up a not-so-steep hill, then make a right-angled turn and go up a long, steep hill. There's no flat bit to get up enough momentum to make it to the top. The best we can do is open our gate, gun it down the driveway and up the first hill, carefully gauge how much to slow down for the corner (skidding out and oncoming traffic being the two chief dangers) without losing so much hard-won momentum that we don't make it to the top of the hill.

Have I mentioned that I hate snow?

For example, here was my day. We woke up to about 3 inches that had made no appearance in our local weather forecasts, so I didn't have a chance to prepare by parking the car at the top of the hill rather than the bottom. And sure enough I had an appointment I had to get out for. So I dragged Kim out of bed (it takes two to drive the car up the hill: one to drive and one to watch for oncoming traffic) and we tried, but couldn't get the car even halfway up the hill before it came to a halt and started sliding back down. But the sun was out, so two hours later I tried it again and made it. I thought that would be my snow experience for the day, but this afternoon during a tutoring session I looked out the window and saw nothing but a wall of blowing white. 5 minutes later it was clear. 20 minutes later I passed through another blizzard on the way to my next session. 20 minutes after that it was raining. By the time I left it was snowing again, but by the time I got back into town it was raining. Then snowing. Then the sky was clear. Then I drove to choir rehearsal and 7 minutes down the highway I was driving through a blizzard so dense I couldn't see the road, so I turned around and came back home. At home the sky was clear and I could see the stars.

I hate the snow.

I really, really need the spring.

6 comments:

jeanives said...

I can SO relate, especially coming from the Maritimes where there is serious snow and they thing we are bad drivers here on VI. WE had about 10 minutes of snow today on I5, between Portland and Seattle and it was freaky. Spring? bring it on!

Paula said...

What you really need is an all-wheel drive vehicle, or to move to sunnier climes. I don't see you moving, so at least one of your vehicles should be all-wheel (AKA 4 wheel) drive.

We bought our only car in Florida, knowing that we were moving to the PNW, but didn't think about AWD. We're determined that the next one will be.

And I'm with you on not liking it if you have to go somewhere. A couple of winters ago when we had that freak fourteen inches fall before Christmas, commuting by bus was really hell. My back was knotted up from the tension for two weeks!

Hope it all melts soon!

jeanives said...

BTW, buy a Subaru - tomorrow. We have two and while I LOVE my Outback better than Jim's Tribeca they are both fabulous

Doc said...

I just hate all this yucky stuff! I'm tired of garden chores in the rain, picking up dog poop in the rain, mucking out the chicken house in the rain. I'm with you on this wintery crap, let's skip spring and go right into summer.

Toni aka irishlas said...

I hear you loud and clear!

My biggest beef with driving and snow are all the folks around here who do have four wheel drive or all wheel drive and think because they have this they can drive normal! And by this I mean they drive too fast and tailgate! Because of these types of drivers, I typically stay off the road when it snows.
Hang in there - Spring will come!

Joleen said...

I hear ya!

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