… I’ve ever known — even though I dreaded facing it almost as much as anything in recent memory.

Fittingly, Kiddle woke me up at 4:11 a.m. wanting to play fetch.

I thought I’d snooze until at least 5 a.m., get up, shower, get dressed and go de-ice my car, which was still parked next door at my insurance agent’s office. I spent about 15 minutes on the car before I realized it was probably going to take at least an hour to get the windows cleared — and even if I accomplished that task, I still didn’t like the looks of Ruth Street. My next thoughts: What if I get stuck in that ice-snow muck? Who’s going to push me out at 6:15 a.m.?

I looked around and sort of savored the moment: The snow was coming down steadily, but unlike the last couple of days and nights, during which we received sleet or freezing rain, practically non-stop, this precipitation was virtually silent. The whole town was quiet, in fact, and the streetlights illuminated the snow as it fell.

The sign at McCollum’s said 15 degrees, but honestly, I felt warm. I did, after all, have on my Timberlands, longjohns, jeans and sweatpants, two T-shirts, my RLC Tennis hoodie, stocking cap, scarf, gloves and coat.

“I’m walkin’!” I said (to no one there).

I turned off the car, went inside, stuffed my camera and some extra clothes and shoes into my backpack, and headed out.

I started in darkness, but by the time I reached the news office about 30 minutes later (OK, it’s only 10 blocks, but I was slowed by the snow and I did stop to take a picture of a man walking his doggies), it was daylight. The snow had stopped falling and the sun was coming out.

Unfortunately, within a span of about 10 minutes, I realized that I just might be the only person who was able to make it in to work. No biggie — except I had no idea how to do the composition part of sending the newspaper pages to the press plant! Luckily, a few minutes later, in walked my lone reporter, Mona, who also had hoofed it (she had a longer walk than I did, even!), followed shortly by Kim, Junior and Billy from the mailroom, and Sheila, our circulation manager.

Thanks to Michelle’s assistance via telephone, I was able to get the pages PDF’d and sent. In the meantime, my buddy Lea came by in her Trail Blazer, went to pick up lunch and then stuck around until we were finished with the paper to give Mona and me a ride home — she even made a detour so I could drop off some Cokes for The Currently Snowbound Diane!

Once I returned home, I immediately took some pictures of snow-covered stuff in my yard. After that, I resumed the process of  de-icing my car — made somewhat easier by the bright sun.

While I was scraping the windshield, a man pulled up in a car and parked in the space next to mine. I gave him a quick smile, but he basically ignored me as he carried a piece of paper inside. What a grump! I thought as I merrily went about removing huge chunks of ice.

The man came out a few minutes later and, once again, pretty much ignored me. Then he opened his car door and said, flatly, “I can see you’ve never lived in the northern part of Illinois.” As he spoke, he reached in and grabbed an ice scraper that basically made my scraper look like a tiny toy!

I couldn’t help thinking: Ooh, thanks for pointing out that I am woefully unequipped for this daunting task! (Or something like that; I’m pretty sure I didn’t think of those exact words until I started typing away on this post!)

Next thing I knew, though, he was scraping away at the windshield, scraping away at the back window, all the while telling me about a dandy way to use a soda bottle filled with tap water (“Nothing too warm,” he said, “or you’ll crack the glass in your windows!”) to help melt the ice.

A few minutes later, the windows were almost completely clear … or at least as clear as I cared about getting them, considering I wasn’t actually going to be going anywhere for another 15 hours!

I walked home, went inside, removed my wet clothes and put on some dry ones, and then sat down. Finally.

Kiddle immediately brought me one of her toy mice. Obviously, it was time for more fetch!

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