Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow, snow, snow

I worked until around noon on Christmas Eve; it had started to snow very lightly. I left the office and ran a few errands--picked up some prescriptions at Target, got a coffee shop gift card for my father-in-law, bought some gift bags at the drugstore. By the time I got home at around 3:00, it had started snowing harder.

I mixed up a couple of batches of Chex party mix and got those in the oven, then started putting together some spinach dip, which is what I always take to holidays at Bob's parents' house. We had put up the Christmas tree the night before, and I had made about 8 dozen miniature cupcakes; I had left them out to cool, so I started frosting them while the party mix cooked.

Once the cupcakes were frosted, the party mix was out of the oven and cooling, and the spinach dip was in the refrigerator, I started wrapping presents. Bob was working until 7:00, so I figured I needed to get in the shower by about 6:00 to be ready to leave when he got home. By 6:00 I was hearing reports of dangerous driving conditions, but since Bob folks live extremely close to us, I wasn't worried about getting over there.

But my sister called and wondered if we were going to be able to get out to my family's Christmas on Christmas day. We were going to my brother's house, which is quite a ways away, and we needed to swing by and pick up my sister on the day, since she was having car trouble. My parents had already said that they didn't want to get out, even if someone came and picked them up. They were concerned about walking on the ice and snow, and I didn't blame them a bit. But it wouldn't really be Christmas if everyone except them was at my brother's.

We decided we'd talk on Christmas morning and figure out what to do. Then my mother-in-law called and asked when we were going to be there. I told her Bob was working (his dad knew that but hadn't told her), so we wouldn't be there until at least 7:30. She wasn't sure when everyone else would be there, but she said she'd just see us when we got there. When Bob called to say he was on his way home, I told him he might call her; he called me back and said that his dad had cancelled Christmas -- he didn't want everyone out on the roads.

It made sense, and I wasn't exactly surprised, but I had all that food . . . And I had all of my mother-in-law's gifts. I had done the shopping for his dad, wrapped everything, and was going to deliver them that night. When Bob got home, I said I didn't mind going out, but his mother wasn't going to have any gifts on Christmas Day. He said, well, he would just go over there and take them, so I threw a pair of sweatpants on under my robe (I'd taken a bath while I was waiting to see what was going to happen) and put together a bag of food--a plastic bag of crackers, a container of spinach dip, a pie plate full of little cupcakes, and the traditional Christmas Eve boiled shrimp that Bob had fixed the night before.

We drove over -- they live only a couple of miles away from us -- delivered the gifts and snacks, and came home to have our own Christmas. On Christmas morning I got up and called my sister before I started cooking. It looked like we had gotten about a foot of snow, and we agreed that it didn't make sense for everyone to get out on the road and risk having an accident, that we could always get together later. So I called my sister-in-law and asked her if she was okay with that, and she said that was fine, that maybe we could get together later in the weekend.

So we just had a quiet, low-key day at home, watching Christmas movies and snacking. In the middle of the afternoon our neighbor called and said that she had tried to leave, and had gotten her car stuck behind Bob's in the driveway (we share a driveway). So we put our coats on and went out and helped her dig her car out, and got it back in her garage, and Bob decided to go check out the road conditions, and go by Quick Trip for some soda.

About a half hour later instead of showing up at the back door, he rang the doorbell at the front of the house. He said that when he got home, there was a different car parked in the driveway, and he couldn't get to the garage. He said he didn't want to park on the street in case the snowplows came through, and guessed he'd go park in a church parking lot a mile or so away, and walk back. I said hang on, I'll get my coat and follow you over and drive you back, and then realized if he couldn't get in the driveway, I couldn't get out.

While he was gone, I got a call from the other neighbor saying that she had come home and hadn't been able to get up the driveway to her garage. I told her not to worry about it, that surely the lawn care people would show up and clean the driveways the next day. Bob had to be at work at 6:00 the next morning, so he had to get up early and walk to his car before he could drive to work. He was aggravated, but what could he do?

I kept checking throughout the day, but the car stayed there in the driveway. There are four households that share the double driveway, so none of us could get out. There wasn't anywhere I needed to be today, but I didn't want it to go on any longer. When Bob got home and the car was still there, and the snow plows hadn't been through, he said he guessed he was going to have to shovel the drive and get her out.

I came out, too, and we had maybe a third of the long driveway shoveled when the snowplows showed up. When they reached our driveway I ran in the house and called our neighbor and said she needed to get out there and move her car, that we had shoveled a path around it and the snowplows needed to get in and finish the drive.

I'm still not sure what we're going to do about Christmas, but at least I can get out of the driveway now.

The sentiment on the Christmas card yesterday, "Happy Merry Christmas," comes from something my nephew, who has Downs Syndrome, used to say. I think it was the Christmas version of "Happy Birhday."

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