28 January 2009

I'm Dreaming Of A White... Ground Hog Day!

I knew there was a possibility today would be "interesting". It was still snowing last night when we put Sara Jean's car in the garage. That snow was falling on the existing three inches of ice and sleet mixed. My old work car has front-wheel drive, so I was pretty confident about making my way to work this morning. But just in case, I drove up and down our drive several times to make a pathway to our road. Then I backed into our drive so all I had to do this morning was start the car, clean off the windows and lights, take a sip of coffee, drop the car into gear and drive carefully to work.
But Mother Nature said HA!

I woke this morning to 4 inches of snow on top of the three inches of sleet/ice. Front wheel drive works great so long as the wheels touch the ground. With ground cover this deep, the floorpan making contact with the snow actually lifts the weight of the car off the wheels. With no weight on them the front tires spin uselessly.

And that's what happened. I drove halfway up the drive and the car came to a stop, wheels spinning. You know the drill from there... select "Reverse" and back up, then "drive" and try again... two feet closer to the road. Back and forth, back and forth.

But "Mr. Snowplow Driver" sabotaged my efforts...
When I got to the end of the drive the snow was piled more than a foot high, and I couldn't get enough inertia built up to ram my way through it. Time to shovel.

This week I became eligible for Social Security payments. With the patients I transport I'm continually reminded how stupid 62 year old men can be. Put a snow shovel in the hands of a sixty-two year old man and you have the perfect formula for a heart attack at the lifting end of that shovel.
So I went slowly, digging snow from underneath the car and in front... back in the car to inch forward another two or three feet, then rinse and repeat...
Over and over...

Neighbor Mike came by in his four-wheel drive truck on his way to work...
No time to really lend much of a hand. He asked how he could help and I suggested he try to make a pathway for me to escape. But Mike's truck had nothing in the bed, and although he was motivating, he was slipping and sliding all the way. He made three "back and forths" for me, then waved as he made his way to work.

I drove another three feet, then grabbed the shovel again.

Half an hour later I'm on the road. Forty-five minutes after that I'm at work, and the helicopter is still in the hangar... Mr. Snowplow driver is clearing the helipad.
I check weather and most of this storm is now East of us. I preflight the aircraft in the hangar and when I'm done, the pad is clear. We push the machine out onto the pad and I call dispatch to let them know we're ready to fly.
"Can you take the ****** transport team to Rivertown?"
"Yes, I can do that."
"Your flight is a go."

We've had two days of icy/snowy weather. I suspect there are quite a few patients in little hospitals waiting for the weather to clear so they can be moved to get the care they need.
Ambulances, ground and air, will be mighty busy today.


cj said...

Let me tell you - I absolutely hate snowplow drivers!

No, not really. In this neck of the woods we'd be going nowhere without them.

It's just that I live on the main ambulance route (two blocks from the hospital) and they plow my street ALL the time! It gets old, let me tell you.


cary said...

I'm glad you didn't become one of the 62 year old stats, my friend.

I'm also glad that I don't have to shovel it, no matter how much I miss it.

I'm also VERY glad to hear that global warming is keeping the snow from piling too deep in your area...

texasnana said...

as much as i miss the midwest i do not miss all that mess -down here in the heart of texas we only get sheets of black ice on occassion - 2009 being one of them - thanks to global warming i have been extremely cold since october - spring will definitely be appreciated this year