Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bad Car Day

OK.  Yes.  Well.  I had an embarrassing driving day.  Nothing dangerous.  But plenty embarrassing.

I was scheduled to pick up Sophie and some girlfriends from their slumber party this morning south of Erskine, and Louisa had drivers ed in Oklee starting half an hour later.  I might have just made it if I really boogied, but I didn't want to feel rushed.  And I figured I'd probably visit a few minutes when I picked up the girls anyway.

So I arranged to drop off Louisa at Alysa's so she could ride to drivers ed with them.

No problem so far.

I might add at this point in my narrative that this morning was one of those very white days.  Fog here and there, overcast.  Lots of white around.  Really hard to see in three dimensions.

As I was backing out of the driveway after dropping Louisa off,  I kept my eye very studiously on the snowbanks on either side.  What I didn't realize however, was that on the left, the driver's side, as I backed up, the snow at the foot of the snowbank gradually got a bit deeper as it got close to the snowbank.  It all just looked that flat white in the rear view mirror.  Wouldn't you know it, I drove into the deeper snow and got my left wheels stuck. 

I sent Clara to the door to call Louisa out to help me.  She and Karleigh came running out.  I let Louisa drive and the rest of us got behind to push. 

Louisa did such a nice job listening to instructions and giving the car just the right amounts of gas.  I was very proud of her.  We only had to go forward and back once and then she was able to pull forward out of the ledge of snow.  Yeah!  Just in time for Alysa and Dave to come running out to help, too.  I hope you didn't work nights last night, Dave.  All I could think after I saw you come out was, "I hope they didn't wake him."  And thanks to you all for being willing to help.

After something like that, one is always a little shaken up, even if it's nothing really bad.  By the time I got a few miles down the road, my adrenaline levels had returned to normal and we were good to go. 

So I thought.

Sophie's friend, Kia has a driveway with a bit of a drop in it.  Not a very steep drop and really not that long a drop either.   But it also has a curve.  And the two together in a rearwheel drive passenger van, with not much room to work, apparently is not a good mix.  I tried to back out first.  I could tell I wasn't hitting the curve just right, so I came back down and tried again.  This time, when I got to the drop (which on the way out of the driveway is a rise) the wheels just spun.  So I pulled forward again and tried again in a little bit different spot.  No go.  AfFter a few more tries, I pulled back down, resigned to my humbling situation.

Since it was questionable whether I'd have space to turn around even without any other vehicles, I had to run inside and ask the other mom who was picking up her child if she could please temporarily remove her van from the driveway.  If I had had a tail it was pretty far under my legs at this point.  Embarrassing!

Eventually, through a series of back and forths, I managed to get the van turned around to pull forward.  Whew.  A big sigh of relief. 

My sigh was premature however, since much to my chagrin, I still could not get up that little hill.  I still don't know what the problem was.  Perhaps I just didn't have space to get up enough speed first.  Perhaps I had glossed up the surface enough trying to back out that there was no way to get traction.  Perhaps the angle and length of the rise is just the wrong combination for a vehicle the length of mine.  (I'm pretty sure my tires are still good, though.)

As I backed up the final time, thinking I'd have to go in and grovel again, I saw Jeff come out all gloved up and ready to push.  Thank you, thank you.  In no time at all he had pushed me right over the rise and I was once again on my way.

Two pushes in one day.  And I don't think either time was really anything I could have done differently.  I suppose I could have been more attentive at Alysa's, but even so, when everything is all white like it was, one just can't determine the highs and lows in the snow.

Ah well, all worked out and nobody and nothing was hurt.

Except my pride.

1 comment:

A Stafford said...

Uff da! Reminds me of the time we were visiting the Crazy Horse Monument on our way out to Oregon for Shawn's vicarage, and we couldn't get out of the parking lot to leave because the grade was too steep. We had a small U-haul trailer and a car top carrier on our '90 Merc Sable. My parents were helping us move, and my dad finally was able to get the car up the hill out of the parking lot with everyone else out of the car--Shawn, my mom and myself having to walk up the hill.