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Friday, April 4, 2014

Hardy nutmeggers on slippery slopes (original title)

Hardy Nutmeggers on slippery slopes

Published 03/13/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 03/10/2014 04:48 PM

New Englanders are hardy folk, even southern Nutmeggers here in Connecticut. We pride ourselves in being able to weather whatever Mother Nature throws at us. To paraphrase the familiar motto, neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, can prevent us from the swift completion of our deed, we can always make it to the mall.
I don't know about the "gloom of night" thing - my husband and I doze during final Jeopardy - but from Gloria to Sandy my daughters and I could make it to a store during a deluge for a Snicker's and box of Q-Tips, if need be.
Because the recent weather went from a simple New England winter to that Arctic Vortex thing, my daughter's four walls became a bit confining; new babies have a tendency to stifle outside risk when the wind chill reaches minus-too-damn-cold. So she and I decided to attempt a special kind of foolishness, shopping with a one month old. Actually the shopping wasn't the foolish part, getting to the mall was. But it was a perfect day to stroller a four-week-old up and down the indoor Main Street of the Crystal Mall.
I should have known that making it to the end of our 1,000-foot ice glazed driveway would be a challenge. I should have known that attempting to drive up the incline at the end, in anything other than a Snow Cat, like the one driven by Scatman Crothers in The Shining, might leave us spinning our Goodyears.
We packed my daughter's car. The stroller, which transforms from a baby transporter to a mid-size SUV, filled the trunk. Inside with us, and baby in a car seat, were so many diaper bags and colorful totes filled with baby accoutrements, it looked like a Vera Bradley Trunk Show.
My daughter decided to drive; I sat in back with the baby. I should have told her to build forward momentum at the up-hill end of the driveway and under no circumstances brake, unless of course there was traffic, which was unlikely because we live on a dead end country road. I should have told her that if, because of deer, turkeys or the neighbor's dog, she had to brake, we'd never make the climb. She would have politely told me there was no steering wheel or pedals for a driver in the backseat.
The Zamboni smooth driveway was clear, no traffic on the road, and yet just before we reached asphalt, my ever cautious daughter decided to slow down. Our forward momentum became a perfect slow motion slide backwards. Never in danger, the snow banks acted like bumpers at a bowling alley for preschoolers. We came to a halt half-way down the hill in fits of laughter. As the self-described more accomplished winter driver, I took over the wheel. Within 30 seconds we were against a snowbank going nowhere. I tried several times to back us down and my daughter even offered to push. I figured that was not a good idea for a lactating new mother.
I called my husband who was on his way home. My other son-in-law was with him. The young guy pushed and rocked until the car straightened out. The old guy sat in his truck to keep warm. Once my son-in-law got behind the wheel and achieved forward momentum, the car made it to the top. I stood on the road to stop traffic. There was no traffic. I was useless.
We got to the mall, walked off a little winter and drove back in a downpour. The ride down the slippery slope to home was uneventful. Enough said.
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