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Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE winter?

Hmm. Didn’t think so.

Today, weather-wise, wasn’t quite as bad as I expected — but then again, I tend to overestimate when it comes to prognosticating such events as winter storms. Going by what the National Weather Service was saying yesterday, we could expect freezing rain, sleet and snow.

We got a little of all of that starting last night and continuing through this morning.

I, naturally, being someone who tries to celebrate the “little things” in life, took great joy in being able to open my car door — which, quite honestly, I expected to be frozen shut, thanks to the overnight rain, sleet and sub-freezing temperatures.

I wasn’t pleased with the amount of snow on Ruth Street as I drove toward North Main, but my Grand Am slogged through the slippery stuff. Once I was on the main road, I basically coasted down to Church Street, on which I usually park. Today, though, I decided to pull the car onto the parking lot across the street from the office — an attempt to keep the street as clear as possible for the snowplows I knew would be going up and down our town’s roads throughout the day.

That’s when I suffered my first setback, as my car’s tires struggled to get traction in the snow. I’d shift to “R,” give the car some gas, shift down to “1,” give it some more gas, etc., until I was able to inch my way into a parking spot.

I knew I simply couldn’t get stuck; it was 6:15 a.m., and no one else would be there anytime soon to help get me unstuck. On the other hand, my car was off the street and I was, after all, just across the street from the news office; let’s face it, the situation could have been much worse!

I spent most of the next eight hours at my desk at work — except for the half hour or so when Dirty D. took her Tahoe to the hardware store, the bank and the post office, and I rode along with her to snap a weather-related photo for the front page.

When it was time to leave work, I looked forward to going home, but I dreaded getting back into the car because the weather had gotten worse as the day went on. (OK, let me just state, for the record, that our weather rarely ever gets as bad as Chicago’s weather, or probably any of the winter weather the northeastern part of the United States suffers through, but still: It IS treacherous around here at the moment … and it was when I left work, also.)

After spinning my wheels for a couple of anxious moments in the same spot that had troubled me earlier in the day, I drove off the parking lot and headed toward home. I opted not to attempt a turn from Main onto Ruth, which still wasn’t cleared sufficiently — or perhaps it had been, earlier, but by now had become covered by snow and ice again — and includes too steep of an incline for my car to make it up. Instead, I drove on to Bond (West Bond), made the turn and headed toward home.

To get to my driveway, I have to drive through an alley that goes from Bond to Ruth. I attempted to enter the alley my usual way, from Ruth Street — and promptly ended up stuck, and stuck GOOD, in the alley and then in the driveway of my catty-corner neighbor.

A few minutes later, I managed to work my way out of that mess and ended up back on Ruth. I decided to drive over to Maple (the street that runs parallel to Main) and attempt to make it down the alley that runs from Maple to Main. (In other words, the block I live in contains two alleys: One going north and south, the other going east and west.) I made it about three feet into that alley and ended up stuck. REALLY stuck.

I tried all my reverse downshifting, to no avail. My car was at just enough of an angle not to be able to go forward nor backward — with its back end jutting right out into the street. (I would have left the car sitting there if not for the “jutting” part!)

I called the office. Dirty said she’d be there in a few minutes.

In the meantime, I tried some more downshifting. In a couple of minutes, a guy I’d never seen before came over and asked if I needed help. A minute later, a woman who was unfamiliar to me walked over to offer her assistance. They tried to push the car while I tried to back it up; the woman even went to get a snow shovel to clear some of the snow from around the front wheels of my front-wheel-drive vehicle.

Then the work crew arrived. Dirty, Sandy V. and Billy hopped out, and collectively, all five of my helpers were able to give my car just enough of a push to free it from the snow.

I attempted no more alleys today, deciding instead to leave my car parked next door … which just so happens to be my insurance agent’s office!

January 2009

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