Fun And Games Off Duty

‘Snow Joke!

A couple of years ago, I was working in Vermont on a winter locum tenens contract. (that’s kind of like travel nursing, for doctors, PAs, NPs, CRNAs and such) Since Mother Stretcher Ape resided a state or two over, I finagled a long weekend, and drove off to visit her.

Now, perhaps you had realized that Vermont, and all the states around it, are northern tier states. So, in the winter they get some snow. Nay, they receive abundant snow. With my formative years spent in Michigan, snow is no big deal. Still, even we hardened northerners need to pay attention, so as to avoid turning into corpsicles.

When I was first driving up there, the administration spoke of their concern that I understand the snow situation in their neighborhood. “So, you know, here in Vermont we get a lot of snow.”

“Yeah, I had heard that was so.”

“You *do* know how to drive in snow, don’t you?”

“You looked at my resume, right? You did notice the part about working all over Michigan, for years at a time, right? Including in the winter. My children were born in Michigan, and have grown up in Michigan. I think I know what snow looks like, and that I have driven in snow, a few times.”

(mumbling on the other end of the phone) “Oh, yeah. Right. You probably know how to drive in snow.”

“Yeah. Kinda.”

So, one wintry weekend, I set off to visit The Maternal Unit. Now, I say “One wintry weekend”, but that was by the calendar only. This particular January weekend, the temperature was in the 40-s to 50-s, low overcast, drizzle filling the air. Nice. I took off across Vermont, into The Neighboring State, and then southerly toward The Maternal State.

Once I crossed over into The Maternal State, it began to flurry, with the temperature dropping below freezing. As I continued, entering into The Megalopolis, it began to snow. Big surprise, right? January, northern states, snow. Who knew?

As I stop-and-go-ed my way across The Megalopolis, on the parking lots laughingly called expressways, the snow picked up. By the time I was on my way out of The Megalopolis, with only another hour of stop and go before me, it was snowing it’s ass off (Yes, that is a northern Michigan meteorological term). While the street department of The Maternal State in general, and The Megalopolis in particular, are no slouches in snow handling (having abundant experience), this specific storm was more muscular than the norm. Indeed, snow was collecting at such a pace that both it outpaced the highway department’s ability to plow it away, as well as limiting visibility. When you consider the fact that snowy roads lengthen your stopping distance considerably, couple that with, say, 50 yards of visibility, and you really start to feel the need to slow down. Waaayyyy down. Personally, I was going around 30 mph, and feeling daring at doing so. More high spirited souls than I were passing me, and more power to ’em. I had resolved that, should they wind up in the ditch, I was gonna drive my happy fuzzy electrician ass right on past ’em.

So, driving in the snow, transformed a three hour drive into something on the order of 6 hours. When I wasn’t wondering just what sort of fiery hell would send me to my judgment, I gradually formulated the Stretcher Ape Four Stages of Snow Emergency Scale. I share it with you, now.

Level 4: wear your damn boots

Level 3: bring a coat, bring a shovel and a scraper

Level 2: do the s#!t you have to do and go the hell home

Level 1: Ermagerd! French toast by candlelight!

I figured that I was driving at that time though a “Level Two Snow Emergency”, and resolved to arrive at The Maternal Manse, and consider myself the hell home. I really was pretty happy with that insight, and strong in my resolve in accomplishing it.

Then, roughly 30 minutes (I hoped!) from my destination, I saw flashing lights ahead. I slowed down even more. Approaching the scene, I observed flashing lights as of several police cars. Several fire trucks appeared to be in the gaggle, if their lights were as I figured them to be. Closing the distance, I noticed lights as from a highway department plow truck, although they seemed strangely out of position.

I crept past the scene, and realized why the lights appeared out of position, on the plow truck.

When a plow truck is on it’s side in the ditch, that would be a clue. Almost as if it was a Sign From Ghawd. A Sign, as if Ghawd were telling me, “slow your dumb ass down, go the hell home, and set your ass in a chair and stir not from that chair, until I tell you otherwise!”

My reply? “Sir, Yes Sir!”

My car slithered into Mother Stretcher Ape’s driveway, and settled several inches once I stopped. Looked as if the driving part of Ghawd’s admonition, would be easy to comply with.

I clumped into Mom’s house, trying not to track too much snow inside. We spent a couple of pleasant days watching the snow fall, shoveling snow (well, *I* shoveled snow!), and shoveling snow, and shoveling snow, and shoveling snow yet again. On the plus side, there was the home cooked meal part of things to enjoy, and the visit with your mother part, as well.

In summary, I leave you with two insights:

Insight The First: The Stretcher Ape Four Stages of Snow Emergency Scale.

Level 4: wear your damn boots

Level 3: bring a coat, bring a shovel and a scraper

Level 2: do the s#!t you have to do and go the hell home

Level 1: Ermagerd! French toast by candlelight!

Insight The Second:

When a plow truck is in the ditch, that would be a clue. A clue that you do NOT belong on the damned road.

One thought on “‘Snow Joke!

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