snow and near-near-death experiences

nathan and cooper

Saturday night, we took Nathan over to our friends Lisa and Branan’s house for the annual Nathan-Cooper Gift Exchange. I love this tradition of our boys trading gifts. I also love making them hug and kiss each other before they’re older and yelling, “OMG THAT IS SO WEIRD! CAN I PLEASE GET BACK TO STUDYING FOR THE LSAT? SOME OF US HAVE PRIORITIES!”

After we had wine and cheesecake, Lisa remarked that snow had started falling and so we bundled Nathan and Cooper and freed them onto the street. They spent a couple of minutes wobbling and running. Nathan was clearly stunned that he was let out on the street without my yelling, “Nathan! Come here! Come here! COME HERE!!!!”



I love snow in its early stages, especially when it’s the first time I hear someone whisper in amazement, “Look, it’s snowing!” I love it when it’s soft and doesn’t feel like you’re walking on crushed aspirin.

My love for snow was not so much the next day when we had to drive back to Lisa and Branan’s to retrieve my purse. I guess I could have left it there, credit card, driver’s license and all because really, with my credit rating, you’re lucky to get a reasonable low-interest loan on a Sea Doo.

We were about three blocks away from their house when we saw three stalled buses on the street. The road we were going to turn onto was completely iced over, so I got out of the car and make the trek on foot, passing cars pulled over to the side. I found that trying not to fall and crack a tooth is a great workout, especially since I was taking short geisha steps while slumped over, arms extended for balance. Nothing says sexy times like showing off some fine geriatric moves.

By the time I got back to the car, two of the buses were on the street, side by side, effectively blocking off the only safe way home. Mike asked the driver if he could just drive around the bus and the guy yelled back that unless Mike “crapped some chains” he would just have to wait. He directed us down a hill to which Mike said there was no way we would make it down there, but the bus driver blared that we were impeding him so instead of fighting with the guy, we drove down the hill and turned onto a side street. AN ICY SIDE STREET OF DEATH.

Mike revved the engine to try and mount a hill, but there was no traction. The wheels kept spinning the smell of rubber filled our noses. Then we were sliding. We slid for a few feet and then stopped within a foot of another car. There were parked cars on both sides of us and I kept thinking, “Please. The last thing we need is to buy this Honda Civic’s owner a new door.”

Mike maneuvered the car around and we attempted another side street. No luck. The tires spun, our engine squealed. We couldn’t drive up so we turned around and headed out where we came. Our only choice was to wait until the buses moved and we could head home.

I was so proud of Mike for handling the road conditions without any panic. I would be so screwed since I’s likely be driving my no-wheel drive car, effectively smashed up like these Portland drivers:

How do you handle driving in the snow? Do you panic like I do or are you in control? I bet you totally know what you’re doing behind the wheel. I’d be in your passenger seat anytime.

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  1. Icy Side Street of Death is the most apropos phrase I have heard in, well, at least 2 days. I will be searching frantically for a way to slip it into WSB weather coverage. Oops, I said “slip,” maybe not a good word to pair with icy. Good luck getting around today, hope you don’t have more excitement but OTOH it was certainly nice to have the eyewitness reports at the time.

  2. Pickles and Dimes says:

    I don’t mind driving in the snow and ice, as long as it’s not night or I’m in the middle lane between two giant semis.

  3. I hatehatehate driving in the snow. I flat out refuse because I am a panicked black ice driver. And judging from that dipshit in the video, I could be harmed just being parked somewhere! Why do they keep trying to drive?? I do not understand this. They must have hit 4-5 cars!

    I love watching snow fall and walking in the winter wonderland but that’s the extent of it.

  4. shirley eugst says:

    I would just like to say two things, as a lifelong resident of Portland.

    1. Most residents of Portland aren’t originally from Portland. So “Portland drivers”=people from California, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, etc.!

    2. I was out driving here for two hours yesterday, and the only lameass I encountered had a Colorado license plate on their car. Just saying.

    That is all.

  5. Hey Shirley: I hope you don’t think I was dissing my pdx peeps. The video was from last year’s snow storm so I just said Portland drivers as opposed to drivers in Portland. But I could easily have been one of those cars because I don’t know how to drive in the snow and I am originally from a tropical island where it has never snowed.

  6. I HATE driving in the snow and ice. HATE. There is not a word strong enough to evoke the kind of HATRED I feel. Driving a two pound Honda Civic that slides around all over the street does not help matters at all. Stupid ice. Stupid snow.

  7. Kate @ Life As I Live It says:

    I don’t mind driving in the snow, especially when I’ve got a 4-wheel drive. Good thing because I’ve got to go buy some winter clothes for my poor frozen kids today. You know, since winter arrived suddenly the other day and doesn’t plan to leave.

  8. Driving in the snow stresses me beyond all belief, and we have 4WD.

    It’s the other idiots on the road who make it such a nightmare.

  9. I love the banner!

    I drive like a grandma and piss off other drivers, like my husband. But driving in snow makes me nervous, and I want to be safe!

  10. Okay this is really funny and relevant for me to read right now. I just moved away from Seattle back to rural vermont where I’m from. We are in a constant state of snow and ice storms in the winters here and life goes on…everyone has chains and snowtires and 4 wheel vehicles. I always enjoyed it immensley in seattle when an inch of snow fell and the world went to hell in a handbasket. But after being in a sliding out of control bus…not so funny anymore!! I just did 3 reports of bad weather and crazy ice on my blog because we got a MAJOR ice storm. Well done navigating on those roads and be wary of the hills!! ps toddler boys kissing is joyous. love it.

  11. Oh, I panic.

  12. A dude almost hit me on 44th and Alaska after coming up a closed street and running the 4 ways stop while looking down 44th. . . and not the where he was driving. Then he flipped me off and called me an asshole.

  13. I do not drive in the snow…no. frickin’. way. In fact, I am currently trapped in my home because I refuse to drive my car down my ice-encrusted driveway. And I have a long, very steep driveway.

  14. Seattle drivers in the snow are the worst! You can be the best snow driver in the world but it’s the other idiots you have to worry about. I think, in the city, you are much safer on foot – even if you look like a geriatric!

    I’m sure there’ll be more craziness in the cold days to come! šŸ˜‰

    But to answer your question, I am a kick ass snow driver.

  15. like a library book says:

    HATE snow and ice – that’s why I left Chicago !! I love looking like a bumbling fool walking to the loser cruiser on icy sidewalks. I almost bit it several times this morning. A good laugh for the passerbys….

  16. Chickenbells says:

    Good gravy! That was an incredible video. I can’t say that I mind driving in the snow…it’s the ice that is horrible. When I was in college (lo those many years ago back when it used to snow a lot…before “global warming” cause I’m that old…) I lived in a place that had a lot of snow, and I remember driving onto a side street and the car spun around in a circle…so I just went the other way gladly.

  17. says:

    I grew up driving in The Endless Snow, being from Spokane, WA (which apparently is buried at the moment), but the majority of people here in Portland seem to think a bit of ice warrants CITY LOCKDOWN, and well, it’s hilarious to me. I completely understand not being equipped as a city to handle the inclement weather, but the way the newscasters attack it as if we are all! going! to! die! is just a little over the top. But driving in it has been mostly OK, thankfully.

    Oh, and that video? Kills me dead. Because how many mini-vans does it take to slide down a hill? You’d think that seeing other people wrecked would slow their steadfast resolve to go wherever they were trying to go. And I love that it’s shot from someone’s apartment building. Classic.

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