I'm Melting


Classes at the university where my wife teaches didn’t begin yesterday until 11am, as the school slowly reopens after the snow and ice. Since she has only one class on Wednesday (and then the bulk of her church hours), which begins at 10am, it was another day off.

I felt a little frustrated for the students who live on campus and will still have to deal with all the make-up work they’ll have to do, even though they could have made it to class.

They would have been lonely, though. It wasn’t just the commuter students; it was the faculty, many of whom (I assume) can’t afford to live in the greater Seattle area unless they’ve been there for a few decades. And I’ve described what that’s like already. Like, plenty.

So we got the car out of the driveway yesterday without much difficulty as I recall, but I’m not sure what I recall. It wasn’t a big deal and the trip south was fine, although apparently the street the church lives on was awful, unplowed and just a mess. Parking lot completely off limits, and when she came out around 5pm she was stuck.

And then, in a little snowmagedden miracle that could theoretically make a decent Pixar film, a snowplow finally came down the road right at that moment. And the driver not only cleared the road, he gave her a little nudge, enough to get her on the way home.

She texted me from the bottom of our driveway, telling me she was having problems. My neighbor with his semi rig was in the middle of the street, himself stuck as he was just attempting to park that monster on the street, chains on or not. Cars were beginning to line up, trying to slide around the sides while the sides were piled up with snow drifts. It was a mess.

At any rate, I managed to get the car backed out of the drive and onto the side of the street, where it would have to spend the night (I found out this morning that the passenger side window had stayed completely open all night, as we were yelling back and forth and it was dark, and somehow I just didn’t notice. It wasn’t like it rained or snowed last night. It seemed fine. Just a weird thing to do in freezing weather).

Then my neighbor drove his 4-wheel drive Titan down, hooked it to his semi, and had me yank it out of the snow. He then manage to park on the street, while I drove that Titan back up my driveway, fishtailing and having a great time.

And that, my friends, was the most fun I’ve had in four weeks. I am serious. It’s been a little dull around here. Kind of sad, in a way.



This morning I layered up and headed out to the street to try to dig the car out (it hadn’t snowed but the ice had re-frozen), and as soon as I hit our bare driveway (where the car had been parked for five days) I discovered a nice patch of black ice, which slammed me onto both knees, ripping a hole in one leg of my jeans but, so far, no real pain or damage. After I dug and chipped and tried to move the car, which really just needed a driver and me giving it a little push, I headed back up the hill to find my wife sprawled on the driveway, having found the same patch of black ice. She seems OK, too, although results will always be delayed. We got her on her way.


We had the mildest January up here in forever, and now it looks like the coldest February (average temp 34 degrees F., which is bizarre for a monthly average in any month). And when I backtrack a little, using my technical historian skills (i.e., I look through old text messages), I see what happened.

I went to Arizona, where I had a great time even with my grandson’s episode of emesis. I came back to find my wife getting sicker with a bad cold, which I inherited. I spent the better part of two weeks, then, dealing with that, a lot of it unconscious. Then the snow. I’ve done nothing for a month.

This is why I got so energized last night, I assume. Actually moving. Actually doing something useful, this side of cooking a few meals. We’re thawing now, slowly but surely. In a few days I imagine our driveway will also be useful, and I will be back jousting with life. Possibly with one good knee. It’s unclear at the moment.


So, I owe you a story. I’ve told it before, so I’ll make it quick. It wasn’t on Valentine’s Day, but let’s call it romantic (it really wasn’t).

What it was, was the presence of too much excitement at my love and I finally making our big move, deciding that we had found our mates. We lived in this cabin in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by drifts of snow. Our backyard went on forever, forest all the way to Sedona.

And what it really was, was the introduction of peppermint Schnapp’s, something our roommate brought to my attention. I wasn’t much of a drinker back then, but I loved that Rumplemintz, and that 100-proof label wasn’t lying. Had a little kick. Things would not work out well.


So well before Northern Exposure was on the air, I looked at that dark, white expanse of snow-covered forest out back and thought it would be a fun thing to jog through all that snow, just for a few minutes, just on a whim. Just because I was young and in love and happy. Mostly because I was kind of wasted.

Oh. I thought it would be fun to jog in the nude.

It couldn’t have lasted much more than a minute. Everyone was laughing. I wore a sweatshirt and some tennis shoes, but that was it. I headed out into the yard, made a few comments about how freezing it was to run through several feet of snow with bare legs, then turned around and headed back toward the house.

I mean, I knew the fence was there. It was just a boundary fence, property line. It didn’t have a gate; I could just run around the side of it. I kind of forgot about its existence temporarily. Just a little fence. Came up to my waist, roughly.

A barbed-wire fence. Not sure I mentioned that.

So, slowly jogging back to the house, my naked adventure in the great outdoors about over, I hit that nearly-invisible barbed-wire fence. Hit it right about waist level. Pretty naked.

That’s the story. I actually lacerated my thigh a little, not too badly. Kind of stung. It could have been worse, you think? I have two grown children; it could have been worse. No reproductive stuff was harmed during the performance of this stunt.

What can I say? When you’re young and dumb, you do young and dumb things. I have some faint scars, and a fainter memory. I believe my sweatshirt had a picture of Snoopy on it, which may have offered some protection from fate. It’s cold to run in the snow without pants. Also, shrinkage is a real thing.

But mostly, I do stupid things when I drink. I don’t drink anymore. There’s a faulty syllogism lurking here, so be careful. I still do stupid things.

And after this morning, and the black ice, and the fact that I’ve ended up face down in the snow so far on three separate occasions, I think there’s plenty of room for more stories. No more nudity, but after a certain amount of years that becomes a no-brainer. But I’ve got the scars, and the story’s bound to get better.

Chuck SigarsComment