First Snow

First snow today.  Or so I am told.  Facebook friends told me, either by way of whining post or exalting post.  The mobile Weather Channel told me, with a background like cotton balls falling behind a pane of glass.  It still looked like sleet to me, but we ran out just in case.

Ruby wasn’t sure why I had pulled her into the cold and wet; she turned in circles upon the grass before stopping to cock her head at me.

I looked to the arms of my jacket, now spotted with dark beads.  Each one shone and hung heavily for a moment before disappearing against the fabric, as if I were stuck all over with melting candy buttons.

The grass and the trees were merely dripping; no dusting of white betrayed snow.  Even the roof, surely cold enough to hold flakes, was merely a soggy brown.

We went inside, Ruby running ahead so that she could turn in the living room to look back at me wryly.  Is all the fuss over, then?  She asked, before moving to make sure her stuffed skunk was just where she had left it.

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In Which I Call for Help and am Answered by Tim

I am happy to report that the saga has ended.  My truck has been pulled free of its icy prison, and is currently resting happily, if tiredly, in the back alley driveway.

Really, the only unfortunate part of this ending is that I didn’t procure it myself.

Yes, friends, I caved and called AAA.

But only after another afternoon of scraping, gas pedal tapping, and boiling pot after pot of water to pour on the stubborn ice.  My housemate, Jordan, came out to help after a time, which was cause for additional optimism: Jordan recently bought (and maintains) a motorcycle.  Jordan recently started a business consisting of himself and a friend performing oil changes for college students who can’t afford to go to the local shop (or, heaven forbid, the dealer).  Jordan had some ideas.  He went to the garage and returned with several small planks of wood and a dirty towel.  The idea was that the planks would give the truck some leverage, and that the towel could fill in the watery tire grooves for added support.  It was a valiant effort, but after watching the planks shot forty feet from the truck by the force of spinning tires (I got out of the way, or else I would undoubtably be typing with my right leg missing below the knee), we decided that a tug was the only hope.

The AAA man was nice on the phone.  “I’ll send my son out,” he told me gently, “he’s going to delay his meal and head out there.”

“Oh, he shouldn’t do that!” I exclaimed, horrified at the prospect of the son, stomach growling, turning away his dinner in favor of helping an automobile-impaired college student who had managed to get her truck lodged in front of her own house.

The man insisted, though, and within a half hour, his son Tim was hooking a tow chain to the back of my truck.  One good yank and then a push from Tim, his right shoulder braced in my front wheel bed, and I was free.

I thanked Tim, drove a victory lap around town, and then went to the grocery store for a celebratory (and much-needed) shop.

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Ice

My dear truck is currently stuck on the ice in front of my house.  We had a winter storm over the weekend consisting of the star combination that is sleet and snow, and when I crept out yesterday morning seeking a ride to campus, I realized that the tires were frozen to the street with a thick coating of ice.

Fine, fine, I can walk to campus today, I said to myself.  I’d be worried about driving when the roads are so slick anyway.

This morning, however, I walked from the house with more resolve.  I had purposely gotten up early and forgone shower and morning BBC reading in order to free my truck from its glassy chains.

First, I tried simply chipping away at the tires with shovel, foot, and window scraper.  I got most of it off, but when I tried to drive forward, I could feel the tires spinning on the ice beneath them.

Not discouraged, I went back in the house for the bag of salt we keep by the front door,  I poured it on the ice in front of each tire, then tried to drive again.  Still nothing.  The truck, I realized, is not only stuck on the ice, but the ice beneath it had frozen into grooves in which each tire is nestled.

So, I called my Dad.  He directed me to the four sandbags in the bed of the truck.  I thought they were there simply to add weight to the bed to prevent fishtailing on slippery winter roads, but actually, they’re partially for traction-requiring times like these.  Use your keys to rip open one of the bags, Dad said.  Then spread it under each tire, let off the brakes, and let the car roll on its own.  The key trick worked perfectly, not to mention made me feel pretty darn handy.  But then there was the issue of breaking up the frozen sand, and scooping it out with the cumbersome shovel, and managing not to spill any while climbing down from the bed.  And I had to go to work.

So I abandoned the project and walked the treacherous sidewalks all the way to campus.

Tomorrow, however, I’ll be back with reinforcements.

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The Tempest

I am currently sitting on the third floor of the library.  I am smug because I managed to snag one of the comfy chairs.  I am full because I just polished off my lunch of orange and homemade chicken soup.  I am focused because I’m reading for Feminist Theory.  I am tired because I chose the Downton Abbey finale over sleep last night.  I am slightly uncomfortable because there is a woman I’ve never seen in my life taking pictures of me from a few shelves down.

This is awkward.  She just moved around to my left and is taking some more.

Okay, it’s all right: she finally introduced herself.  She’s part of the University Relations team, taking photographs for the UMM website.

Welcome to my life, friends.  And you thought Kim Kardashian has paparazzi problems?

In other news, Morris is under yet another blizzard warning.  Not knowing this, I walked to school this morning (not that there were other options had I known) through 33 mph winds. That was fun.

What was fun was that at one point in the walk, I passed my friend Andy.  Not bothering to peel the scarf from his face, he shouted through it a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”

Trekking

Snowpocalypse 2013 has come and gone, and while the plows have been out at all hours (I heard them at 2:30 this morning) clearing the streets, the sidewalks are another story entirely.

My walks to campus have now been enhanced with Everest-like snowbanks which must be scaled.

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Typically, more often than not, my leg will get stuck or slide out from under me, and I’ll tumble down the slope in front of God and country.  So it goes.

It’s Saturday Night, Take III

We’ll all waiting for some snow.  Francis, the yellow lab next door; the town of Morris; and me.  Funnily enough, we’re due for a winter storm, which will hit between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow.  Then we’re due for a blizzard, which will hit between midnight tomorrow and midnight on Monday.  A foot of snow total, and white-out conditions.

Meanwhile, I’m eating the Most Delicious Orange in the world, pretending to enjoy my raspberry green tea (it’s bitter, but Dr. Oz told me to drink it, so I’m obeying), and watching Little Miss Sunshine.

And waiting for the storms, of course.

At the Common Cup

I feel like such a “blogger.”  I am sitting in an actual, non-chain coffee shop.  There are mismatched tables, there are vinyl-backed chairs, there are drawings from the local elementary school children on the walls, there are apartments upstairs.  I am drinking fair trade ginger peach green tea.  It’s snowing outside.

I am reading (though not this minute, naturally) Dan Wakefield’s New York in the Fifties.  I want to turn into Dan Wakefield when I graduate.  I want to take a train called the Spirit of St. Louis, or the Pacemaker from the Midwest to New York City.  I want to live in the Village and sup in mystical places called drugstores.  I want to run into Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in someone’s smoky apartment.  Mostly, I want what those men seemed to have: an assurance, right out of college, that they were in the place they needed to be and doing the work they needed to do.  Oh, for that kind of certainty.

As it is, though, I’m sitting in a vinyl-backed chair in the Common Cup Coffeehouse in Morris, Minnesota.  It is snowing outside, and cold.  And for now, I think this is where I need to be.

“Hearing that plain Midwestern accent, as well as the plain thinking behind it, bolstered my confidence, proving that people from the hinterlands could make it in East Coast literary circles.  It gave me courage to speak to some of my new classmates, jostling down the steps of Hamilton Hall after a lecture.

‘Hey, Van Doren’s great, huh?’ I said.

One of them shrugged, and in a nasal New Yorkese said, ‘I dunno, he’s a little too midwestuhn.’

‘Yeah, that’s it!’ I blurted out.”