Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Survival Mode and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

It hardly seems sensible to tell the story now - the drive back from Tahoe was so long ago (OK, 10 days).

Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah. We woke up on Saturday morning to snow. Lots of snow. Like, 5 inches of snow. To be one hundred percent honest, this wasn't a huge surprise. A guy in a restaurant the day before had told us that there was a call for snow over the night. I have no explanation for it, but in my mind it was immediately brushed off as non-credible forecasting and on about our day we went. But there it was all accumulated on the road and the hot tub cover. That guy was right.

Tim and I spent a good few hours weighing the pros and cons of what to do about this pickle we found ourselves in. We could chance it that things would look better tomorrow and I could call in sick to work (it would have made only the second sick day in my whole life). Or, we could just throw on a scarf, mittens, and tire chains and hope for the best.

Tim left the house around 1:00-ish. He high-stepped through the snow for about 0.5 miles to get to the main road (read: a cleared road). From there he caught a bus into town and bought some tire chains. I got a call,

"So, I missed the bus."
"What do you mean you missed the bus?"
"I missed the bus back. I'm in a coffee shop across the street having coffee and a bagel. It's too cold to wait outside and the cars passing by keep splashing me."
"OK. So when is the next bus?"
"About and hour."
"AN HOUR? [sigh] OK."

Cold, wet, and frustrated my husband made it back. This is the point in the trip where you and your spouse start getting all snippy when you talk just because you're worried and uncomfortable. Maybe it's just us. Being a good 14 years into our relationship we know better than to take it seriously.
Poor guy had to go out and put the tire chains on by himself. I came out to help but Ada kept trying to get near the idling car, which, on a slick ice and snow covered drive, was enough to make Tim and I both pretty nervous.


We pulled out at 3:30, a solid 4 hours after we had planned to leave. I texted our parents and a couple of friends with a picture of the start of the drive. "Here goes nothin'!"


Tim did not grow up in snow. In fact, we spent a Christmas in Ohio with my family. He was so excited to shovel the driveway. I had to show him how to make a snowball and then explain how to pack it so that it hurts when it lands or to pack it soft so that it explodes on impact, getting snow all down the neck of the target. Driving was a whole other story. We went slow. Most everyone went slow. Shout out to social media here: we got an alternate (safer) route from Lisa and lots of handy tips. Thanks Lisa!

My man has the loveliest eyes. Ada is lucky enough to have gotten that rim of brown around the pupil just like her Daddy. I like it better when his face doesn't look so worried though. He was under a lot of pressure....you know, to not kill his family. 

After a while we settled in and just accepted that there was no going back so we best enjoy it for what it was worth. Mother nature really knows what she's doing. Check this snowy alpine scene out. It was truly breathtaking - when we weren't holding our breath for the driving part.


We eventually reached Truckee and all the traffic that goes with it. And that's when it got really bad. The snow started coming down harder and faster, the sun had set and we were on the freeway. Stop. Go. Stop. Creep along. Stop. Stop. Creep.....It went on like this for almost 5 hours.

The street lights through the back window looked like an indigo blue glow - the glass was covered with at least an inch of snow. Probably more. The headlights had a mound of snow in front of them too, dimming our lights. Our windshield wipers developed giant ice cubes on them so that when the wipers would sweep across the windshield all that was left behind was a harsh streak of water between the snow. We have one single working window in the American Classic and that's on the drivers side. Tim would turn up the heat, open the window and reach his left hand out and around to snap the wiper trying to get the ice off. It worked pretty well until one time it didn't. The pin holding the wiper on snapped and the wiper blade would only rotate like a sad, directionless helicopter propeller. At this point we laughed and then laughed louder and harder. Really, it couldn't have possibly gotten more ridiculous. For the next hour or so we used a squee-gee to wipe off the windshield: Tim through his open window and me leaning out of the open car door (ghetto, but safe enough. I mean, the car wasn't moving more than about 5 mph.)

We got home at 1:30 am. Tired, spent, and happy to be home we went to bed. I had to be up at 6:00 to go to work the next day. The only thing that makes us feel better about the drive is that we heard on the news that it was even worse the next day. Lots of spin-outs and pile-ups. Good thing we didn't wait but I do feel like we've been in survival mode ever since. There's a great book called "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert Sapolsky all about the sustained stress response and the damage it does. Zebras, even though they could be chased down and killed at a moments notice, don't have this problem. Know why? Because in between the chases they absolutely forget about it and peacefully graze. One of my goals for 2011 is to be more like a zebra.

Tim left for Chicago on Monday and was gone for a week. Last week I had a day off and I spent it in front of the fire with some Christmas carols playing. I was working on my values. It's a very Franklin Covey thing to do - I absolutely thrive on this kind of crap. And, yes, it is planner page time! I am collecting my pictures and making my 2011 pages. In this case, however, the values were related to a work assignment. I've also been asked to work on my goals for the coming year. Heh heh, waaaay ahead of you guys! What gets me about this is that a couple of years ago I did approach a senior doctor in the practice and asked that person to discuss my career goals with me. The response I got was, "yeah, I don't do that sort of thing."


Paka has finally decided that the small, screeching human does have something to offer.


Something else that is happening now is that as soon as she sees the camera she runs as fast as her little chunkies will carry her and tries to grab the camera. So we have lots of crappy shots like this one:


Toddler messes. A friend whose baby is just a bit younger than Ada tells me they don't have this problem. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the possibility of there not being random pile of who-knows-what all over the floor and in random boxes or baskets.


Finally, her new favorite game is to hide behind you, pressed against you. When she is ready for you to turn around and surprise her she will give a tug on your shirt - whichever side you should turn to. It's so stinking cute I can hardly stand it.


5 Lovies:

Ty's Girl said...

Glad you made it home safe! I can't wait to get into the snow with my tiny tot.

Her Momma said...

Wow, what a story! I'd be hella freaked!!! I about died at the pic of your hubs eye! hahahaha!
and those pics of you and Ada- ADORABLE!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are braver than me. I would have hunkered down until the roads were dry as the desert. I hate driving in the snow.

I don't really understand how anyone with a toddle can not have those messes. There isn't a corner in my house where you can't locate a Cheerio.


Judy said...

Love the pictures!

Connie said...

Ada is just so stinkin' cute! Wow, what a story glad you guys made it home okay.