Where I Drive In Snow

December 13. It was my mom’s birthday and Todd thought it would be nice to surprise her Wednesday, because he thinks of others and is thoughtful like that. So around 6 we all pile into my car, which has decided to be festive too and light up the engine light on the dash. It’s doing that wobbly thing again in idle mode that reminds me of a standard transmission about to conk out. (This fun feature was fixed at the dealership, you may recall, but now it’s back and they want to do a more thorough investigation tomorrow.)

Me being the worrywart I am (which, you may also recall, is the result of BDCPTSD, broken-down-car post-traumatic stress disorder, which is REAL, ya’ll), I said – we better take another car. We took the Mustang. The kids, who have absolutely no appreciation for a muscle car, complained about the lack of comfort in the backseat and I channeled my inner Jewish mother and reminded them that it was Nannie’s birthday and this is for her.

If you reside in the mid-Atlantic, then you already know what happened on Wednesday. The forecast said snow – AFTER MIDNIGHT. Well, they lied. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and I offered to drive home. The flurries started about 10 minutes into the ride. No worries, said Todd, it’s not laying.

Twenty minutes later it’s not only laying, it’s building a fortress. And I’m driving a Mustang. I took my time, but when I went under an overpass the backend fishtailed and Todd said, oh my God, pull over. I momentarily recalled that advice he gave me about riding with Opac and not grabbing onto the door handle, but decided this wasn’t the time to point out hypocrisy.

So we switched seats and he put the car in gear, and somehow was able to get a car that should never be fully stopped in a snowstorm moving forward again. By this time my nerves were wrapped around my chest, and I was gripping the sides of my seat and breathing shallowly. Todd reassured me that he had everything under control, which is really like telling a feral cat that you’re not going to hurt it.

It took us two-and-a-half hours to get home. Nearly twice the time under normal conditions. But we made it, because Todd learned to drive in the snow and he’s really good at it. And when we pulled in the driveway I finally let go of the seat and all the air in my lungs, excavated the sleeping kids from the backseat, and went inside to pour myself a pint of bourbon.

Fast forward: Friday. Todd drove my car down to the dealership first thing in the morning, Opac was home sick with fever, headache, and a sore throat, Veruca went off to school as usual, and I decided to drive the Mustang to work. I had a choice of three vehicles – the special-needs Fiesta, the beater truck, or the V6 Mustang. What would you choose?

Apparently, for those who actually pay attention to the weather, they might have chosen differently. I got to work and one of my coworkers said something about snow and I said, whaaaaaat? Oh yes, snow this afternoon. And then, within the hour, a message from the school announcing early dismissal at noon. Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck!

I texted Todd and said something like, oh my God it’s starting to snow and I drove the fucking Mustang today and I’m gonna die on the way home and I don’t know what to do.

It’s okay, he said. I’ll drive up and switch cars with you and take the Mustang home.

He showed up at my office about 3 I think, dropped off the keys and told me to drive safe. My coworkers all thought he was so sweet to do this for me and, without an ounce of Humble, I said he’s the best. And he is. I joked that he was really just protecting the car from me, but truly, he can’t live without me, so. But here’s the problem – I’m not exactly always the best.

An hour later: I love you and I don’t want to sound like I’m scolding, but please don’t ever leave the car with less than 15 miles to get anywhere (smiley emoji).

I forgot to tell him. I forgot all about it. I knew I needed gas when I left in the morning, but I figured I’d get it on the way home so I wouldn’t be late to work. Having no idea, mind you, that we were even getting snow.

People coming into our office were talking about the snow. They’re saying we could have a white Christmas. First time in years… yes, snow all weekend. Which is all lovely and romantic and all, WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE ANYWHERE. But I do, and I know we will just because I don’t want to.

I left work early, and got home about 45 minutes later. It wasn’t terrible, at least until I had a horrific thought and suddenly my chest tightened and I couldn’t breathe. This must be what a panic attack feels like. I opened the car window and gasped for air. Stop this, stop stop stop. It’s not real. I changed the radio station and Def Leppard soothed me back to reality. Because metal is good for anxiety, right?

My car goes in for eval tomorrow, and Todd told me they were going to give us a loaner – an Expedition – and he’s thinking it’s not necessary and I’m all like, have you lost your mind? They’re paying for it and IT’S GOING TO SNOW.

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