We did get snow, sort of. I watched a newscaster bend down and touch the snow. She announced that we got an inch of snow. The problem is that there was so little snow that her finger only brushed the dusting around on the ice. In order to have “one inch,” you finger actually has to sink into something.
But the lack of real snow accumulating on roads didn’t mean that we didn’t have nasty winter weather. Instead of lovely snow, we had ice. A few major roads were treated for ice. But most roads weren’t.
Now having lived in Connecticut, we’re used to nasty weather. (For those of you who can’t remember fourth grade geography, Connecticut is in Southern New England between New York to the west, Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and Long Island Sound to the south.) However, we’re used to dealing with bad weather in one nearly fool-proof way: studded snow tires. Yep, those babies carried me through a blizzard proceeded by an ice storm, which the state had been completely unprepared for. It took me about 4 hours to travel a distance that should have taken 45 minutes, but I didn’t end up in a ditch.
However, that state of Tennessee frowns on studded snow tires. And let’s face it, there’s not enough wintery weather to justify it. So we faced yesterday’s ice without snow tires. Everyone in our family was laissez-faire about it, especially the kids. Last night was the BCS championship, and we headed off to my parents’ house. They have a big, flat screen LCD TV and cable—my kids think my parents’ are very cool TV-wise. Plus, grandparents always have good food. Anyway, we hit some bad patches of ice on the way there. We saw quite a few cars in ditches. We shook our heads sadly—those poor inexperienced Southern drivers.
We came to the twisty, steep hill before my parents’ house. You’d think that multiple cars parked on the side of the roads at odd angles and one car whose rear end was in a ditch might have been a warning. But you’d be wrong. Instead, we plunged ahead. Our van made nice progress up the hill...until about halfway. I caught my breath as the van skittered to the side and then began sliding backwards. Cal got the van stopped. But now we were in the middle of a big patch of ice halfway up a steep hill.
Cal said, “Why don’t you drive and I’ll get behind the van and push?” I gave him my you-must-be-insane-look and said, “My darling, I know you’re quite strong, but this van will mow you down.” (Okay, I didn’t use exactly those words.) Then I started praying while Cal did this fancy maneuver that was a combination of sliding and wheel turning that forced the van into a 180 degree turn, which put us safely at the bottom of the hill, pointed in the right direction without having hit any of the other cars. (I think this was more a result of my prayers than Cal’s driving skills.)
Cal drove to the other way into my parents’ housing development. It also had a nasty, icy hill. Cal got out of the van to survey the hill. I remained in the van with the four kids, two of whom were making accusations of parental lunacy with edges of hysteria in their voices.
At any rate, we ended up going home and streaming the BCS game on the computer. I guess the moral of the story is when there’s ice in Chattanooga...Stay Home!!