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The weather finally warmed up enough for rain to fall instead of snow. All the lingering snow melted. The nice thing about snow here is that it stays white and pretty. If you have to have snow at least it looks nice.

This has been an unusual winter. I have been told anyway. I am experiencing the Northwest for the first time. Heath lived here for ten years and has never seen such cold temperatures or as much snow in one winter! He probably hasn’t seen that much snow in all his ten years here combined! For now we blame the weather on Gwen. She wishes it and it comes true. Those are the facts.

Temperatures were in the low 30’s this morning. It was cold and the ground was still wet from last night’s rain. No snow. The boys planned on walking to the bus stop. They can  handle the cold. They are manly men! They come home from school wearing only sweatshirts since they have both stuffed their coats in their backpacks. That 5-10 degree increase can be such a sweaty heatwave!

This morning I waved and called out my farewells from the front door. Parker’s head could be seen as he passed behind Heath’s car. Suddenly the head disappeared. Parker came back into view behind the car and laughed that he slipped and fell. The boys said it was very slippery and icy outside. So I called them back inside. I did not like the idea of them walking to the bus stop when conditions were icy enough that Parker fell on his butt at the end of our driveway. I found out later that they were not the only kids who had slipped at the end of their own driveway on the way to school.

Heath took them to the bus stop. I was afraid he thought I was overreacting until he came home and announced the ground was a virtual ice rink. He stopped by the mailbox at the top of the street. Luckily he had one hand on his car the whole time his feet were flailing wildly underneath him as he got the mail.

Unfortunately Heath had a call when Gwen needed to go to school. The sun rises about the time the boys leave for school so there was no way the ice was melting before Gwen had to go. I got dressed and tried to decide if it was better to drive to the top of the street and walk in with her from there or actually go all the way around to the bus stop.

I’m from Utah and I know how to drive in the snow. I’m no dummy. But I never had the opportunity to drive my car around the Olympic Speed Skating Oval when we lived in the apartments down the street. I also chose the glamorous job of teaching over becoming an ice road trucker in Alaska. Icy roads are not on my driving resume.

I turned around at the barriers and parked on the side of the road facing into my own neighborhood. Gwen and I walked into the other neighborhood to the bus stop. We held hands and I squeezed any time she slipped. Which was a lot. She finally asked me not to squeeze so hard because apparently I was hurting her! The sidewalk looked wet and normal but it was essentially a sheet of black ice.

There was already a gaggle of kids at the bus stop. I asked Gwen if she wanted me to stay with her. I was kind of hoping I could just go home and work out. She said it would be nice if I would stay with her. Before we left I got a text and an email from the school district saying Gwen’s bus was late due to icy conditions. It’s typically late so who knew how late it would be now? It showed up about 20 minutes after it is scheduled to arrive.

While we were waiting the kids were ice skating in their sneakers. There were lots of falls. I thought the kids would be black and blue before they got to school! We also witnessed a car accident. That was crazy. I have no idea where this woman came from since I don’t remember seeing her SUV on the side of the road when we walked to the bus stop. Maybe she lives in the houses near the barriers. I don’t know. But she clearly was unaware of how slippery it was outside.

It’s not like there is tons of road for a driver to get up to speed on an icy day before getting to the T intersection where the bus stops. This woman came flying down the street. Not really. She was probably going 25 mph but on a day like today, it’s not wise. I assumed she would drive straight but at the literal last second she turned right. I knew she would crash into the car parked on the left side of the street. She didn’t turn early enough or break enough to avoid the collision. Her car slid to the left until it was directly in front of the parked car. Bam! At least the parked car stopped her momentum.

We all saw it. No one said anything about her driving. Just comments on how slick it is outside. We tried not to stare as she angrily got out and had to go knocking on doors to admit her mistake. I was relieved to know that no one was inside the parked car. I hadn’t paid enough attention to know if it was a waiting parent or an empty parked car. It was empty. One lady from that neighborhood said it belonged to the boyfriend of the house it was in front of. He came out. She drove further down the street and parked. He pulled into the driveway. Slipping as he backed up. We never saw the lady again. She must have taken her daughter to school out of sheer embarrassment.

The minor fender bender of an accident shut up my mind though. I hate driving. I didn’t trust myself to safely get down the hill and onto the main road to drive up more hilly side streets to get to the bus stop. That’s why I stopped at the top of my own street and walked in. Seeing the accident made me realize I had made the right choice.

Another mom drove her daughter to school after the accident. I had no problem waiting for the bus. The bus is probably safer than my car. Actually, Heath told me to drive his car since my van has too much power. I agreed with my next door neighbor who believed that the main roads are not slippery. It’s the side roads that are the problem. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out of the neighborhood onto the main road though. No one judged me for my way of dropping off my kid. I stood firmly behind my California roots!

The sun came out earlier than Wally Weatherman forecasted. The sun has been out all day melting the ice. There may still be some in the shade. When Heath and I ventured out to the store we noticed some ice on the road just before turning onto the main road. That part of the street sees no sun in the winter. The rest of the week will go back to the low 30’s for a high. Good thing the sun has mostly dried out the ground. No rain forecasted until the weekend when the temperatures should also rise. What a crazy day!

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