Monday, March 14, 2011

Optimism can be a Serious Character Flaw

Ask me how I know.
Today started innocently enough. I hit 'snooze' a few too many times (well, maybe three. No more than four. Certainly not five, though I admit I wasn't thinking too clearly) because I really didn't want to get up. I should have taken it as a sign, called in sick to work, pulled the covers over my head, and gone back to sleep.
But I didn't.
The next sign I should have twigged to was when the chickens got out while I was gathering the eggs. I'd pulled the coop door closed behind me, but big Mr Rooster pushed his way out anyway. And where he goes, the hens are sure to follow. I moved carefully out the door, scooping up hens and pitching them back into the coop, while trying not to spook the rooster so he wouldn't panic and head off cross-country. Meanwhile, he was helpfully making 'Come on, girls, let's go have an adventure' noises, so more hens were trying to go outside. Finally, I got out ahead of the pack and shooed him back inside.
"Well, that could have been worse," I assured myself optimistically while I headed inside to get ready for work.
Then the real part of my morning kicked in. I'd actually made it to the top of the driveway last night when I got home from work, and was quite excited about it since it was the first time in weeks I hadn't had to park at the bottom and trudge up the hill.
I should have known better.
While trying to turn my car around at the top, so I wouldn't have to back down (and we all know how well that would have gone - see previous post), I got stuck. I'd pulled the nose of the car up to the snowbank, then shifted into reverse, figuring I'd have to do that same maneuver several times to turn around in the tight quarters at the top of the drive.
Instead of reversing, however, one of the tires just started spinning on the ice. I tried rocking the car, but only succeeded in digging myself in. At this point, I called work and told them I might be a little late, explaining the circumstances. They wished me luck and told me to be careful.
(Last time I got stuck, Madman discovered that my all-wheel-drive isn't functioning. The car is supposed to work like a front-wheel drive until one of the tires starts to slip, then the rear wheels are supposed to kick in. My rear wheels refuse to take up their rightful duties, so my car is basically a front-wheel drive. No wonder I haven't been able to get up the driveway all this time...)
I tried everything. I put stuff under the tires, trying to get a little traction. Didn't work. I chipped ice out from behind the (increasingly deeper) hole that the tire was grinding for itself. Didn't work.
But I was sure that at any moment I was going to pop right out and be on my way. Optimism can be so ugly.
More grit, more chipping, repeat, repeat, repeat. Finally I felt the car starting to move, starting to lift itself out of the hole... and then the other tire started spinning.
You can imagine the words that were coming out of my mouth by this time. But I was still sure that I was going to get out. (I'd called Madman a couple of times by this time, but he was working in a town that's basically a dead zone, so my calls just went to voicemail.)
I started working on the second tire. Grit, chip, grit, chip.
Suddenly it started spinning freely, without even making contact with the ground.
That can't be good.
I discovered that my bumper was now hung up on part of the snowbank that had been below bumper-level when the whole disaster started, but since the car's level had dropped as it dug itself down, it was now high enough to add to my problems.
I got the snow shovel and started chipping away. This snowbank is plow-pushed stuff which has frozen and melted numerous times after being packed. It's only slightly softer than cast iron.
That part wasn't much fun either. By this time, part of me wanted to just go in the house and get drunk, but the Little-Miss-Optimist part insisted on keeping on.
Finally got the snow cleared, and went back to rocking, chipping, gritting, swearing, because after all I was going to just pop right out any second now.
Eventually even I had to give up. I caught a glimpse of myself reflected in the car window as I was getting in for the bazillionth attempt - I had crazy hair, and not only was there dirt on my face, there was blood from my bruised and bleeding knuckles. Optimism over.
(Madman and I discussed it later - where optimism stops and too-dumb-to-know-when-to-quit starts. I admitted it's a fine line, and I often don't know which side of it I'm standing on.)
I called Madman's mom, who was the only person I knew who could even possibly have been home at that moment. I told her the problem, said I was now 3 hours late for work, and she offered to come give me a ride.
Madman picked me up after work and drove me home. He'd gotten my messages, and had gotten my car unstuck for me through a combination of hot water for ice-melting and sheer determination. It's presently parked at the top of the driveway, turned toward the road so I don't have to do anything in the morning but press the gas and go. (He's offered to turn the car around for me for the rest of the winter, pre-supposing I ever get it up the driveway again...)

I think I've mentioned a time or two how much I hate winter. Do you think it's dangerous that I'm going to Florida this weekend? As in, 'Why should I come back?"
Oh, yeah, there's Madman...
Do you think he could learn to love palm trees?


Diane said...

You are one determined woman. I would have given up in an hour and called it a day. Florida must have sounded like a really good idea along about hour 2.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you poor thing. That entire story sounds so familiar -- the cramped space to turn around, the snow and ice, the chipping and gritting. My husband is the optimist around here; he would have kept at it and somehow gotten out (no, I have no idea how; he mystifies me). I would have tried for a while but not as long as you, then called into work and declared a mental health day for myself.

You deserve a l-o-n-g vacation in Florida.

rjcook said...

Wow! You are one determined woman. A little crazy, but definitely determined. :-)

amy said...

lol @"part of me wanted to just go in the house and get drunk". hope you have an awesome time in florida- let your cares melt away into the sand.

Anonymous said...

My biggest problem is the one (maybe two?) times I've successfully gotten myself OUT. Therefore I know it can be done, so I keep trying (and trying and trying)

When the bumper gets hung up you know you're in trouble!

Cookie said...

Oh, honey, I am so sorry! What a terrible way to start a week. I hope this is the last weather related adventure you have this season. You have more than done your duty this winter.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

You have no idea how much that sounds like me. Here's to spring!