It started snowing in the Zaulem Sound area last evening. Those that had a northbound commute were allegedly trying to wait it out until 9 or 10 o’clock before heading home. Fortunately, I was southbound so I didn’t have much trouble. There was a little bit of snow, but not all that much. It was snowing a little more by the time I went to bed. I sighed that this probably meant that I would need to scrape off my windshield in the morning. On a brief aside, this didn’t make sense to me. I bought an ice-scraper on Wednesday night. The mere fact that I bought an ice-scraper meant that there should be no more need or it for a long time. It’s only when I don’t have a scraper that these things are supposed to happen.) I also timed my trip into work a little bit later so that if necessary the required army of snow-plows and maybe a little heat has the ability to lessen the problem. If there was one thing I learned in Deseret, it’s not worth your while to try to get an early start when weather is going to push your arrival back. You should just accept a bit of lateness and work from there.

Just to make sure that Mindstorm wasn’t closed for the day, I called the 1-800 number with that information. It said that the “Zaulem Sound” facilities were open with “limited service”. I wasn’t sure what they meant by Zaulem Sound facilities. Did that include the main HQ in Enterprise City? Or was that a separate campus? If that was a separate campus, did that mean that HQ was completely open or not open at all?

On mornings where there is a real question about commute times, I like to get to the first sign indicating travel times before I get my morning faux-coffee. So I did that this morning. Unfortunately, the sign said “Heavy snow. You’re screwed.” rather than giving any more specific estimate than that. But I-3 was moving along at a relatively brisk pace, all things considered. I decided that I would wait until I got to my favorite Shell station in Orrinwood before stopping for the faux-coffee. I thought for a moment that, given the alleged “heavy snow” that was to come that maybe I should drive through Zaulem rather than taking the always-risky Splinterstate, but since I missed my faux-coffee I wanted to be able to stop in Orrinwood. There aren’t any stops along the Zaulem route. Besides, there was no telling what the bridges would be like in this weather. Even at its worst, there was only so bad that Splinterstate 803 could be.

803 was worse than usual from the moment that I turned onto it, but not too bad. Until it got too bad. Unbearably bad. I reset the meter on my GPS and determined that I was going an average of 6 miles an hour. Then 3. It was stop and go. Then stop… and go. I was beyond relieved when I finally made it to Orrinwood, two and a half hours after I left our Soundview home. I couldn’t even enjoy the break because I knew how much I had left to drive. It was probably going to be another hour. Another. Hour. So I got back in my car after only five minutes or so and realized that my car was stuck in the snow in the parking lot. The parking lot was at an incline and unfortunately when I turned around I found my way to the road blocked by an air pump and I was unable to steer my car clear of it. Thankfully, a nice local was able to help this southern hick get himself out of the pickle he’d just found himself in. He pushed my car away from the air pump and that did the trick.

I was hoping that the Interstate had cleared up a little bit by the time I got back on the road, forgetting that my shortened break meant that was less likely to happen. Oh well, at least it couldn’t get any worse. An hour later, I had gone less than a mile. I know this because my GPS told me that my average speed was now .8mph. That average even included when I was earlier cruising along at 6 and 3 miles an hour before my Orrinwood detour. During that hour, as I watched the GPS average speed fall, I decided that I had to do something. Anything. Worse yet, I was missing the next installment of my audiobook CD, which meant that I either had to start a new book or do something else. I decided to call my father to find out if he could get any traffic information that might explain my .8mph speed. Dad wasn’t there, but I had a pleasant chat with my mom. I then called Clancy’s mother. I was actually calling to talk to her father, who could look the information up for me, but I realized that I would have to chat with her before I’d be able to get her to hand the phone off to him. That was fine, though. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere.

Unfortunately, the state Department of Transportation site was bereft of valuable information. It apparently wasn’t even bothering to pick up travel time information, instead opting for the increasingly familiar “Heavy snow. You’re screwed.” He and I had a good talk about college football, though, and some new office software suite that he’d found. After he and I were done, I decided that it was a mighty decent time to change the main address on my Discover card as I had been intending since they’re supposed to send me a new one next year. After that was finished, for the first time in my life I volunteered to do the “customer satisfaction” survey. Why not? I wasn’t going anywhere. Stop………… and go. Stop…………………….. and go. Stop……………………………………………………….. and go

Finally around New City it started to clear up. I was speeding along on mud at an astonishing rate of 20 miles an hour. That was enough to let me limp into a Mindstorm campus that was open but wasn’t actually in use. There were a handful of cars in the parking lot, but they looked suspiciously like they had been there overnight. Unfortunately, the parking spots hadn’t actually been cleared of snow and I didn’t want to get stuck like I did in Orrinwood. Then I thought to myself “Hey, if there’s any area that they did de-ice and de-snow, it would be the parking garage. Right? So I drove by and turned juuuuust a little bit to get a view. It was apparent that though there were tracks, there was enough snow on those tracks that I was unlikely to be able to get back up if I drove down there. No matter, the slight incline I was at was enough to prevent me from getting up and out anyway.

A couple people walked by and tried to help me push the car back, but they were not successful. Then good fortune really struck and a half-dozen people, including my boss, happened by. It took six people to move the car, but they did it. I exclaimed that I didn’t know where to park. My boss said I should just go home. I said that I’d been in the car for over five hours and was not interested in spending another five driving back to Soundview. I said that I would figure something out. I ended up parking in about a foot of snow, plowing my way into a parking spot I wasn’t at all sure how I would get out. Ironically, by the time I got to work, I was too exhausted to work. I filed a couple of reports that needed to be filed and walked over to my boss’s office.

I asked him if this weather was going to push back an extremely strict deadline we had for Tuesday. If so, I was going to regroup and probably spend all day working, getting both Thursday and Friday’s hours done, sleep on the campus, and leave the next day. Otherwise, another five hours or no, I was going home. He asked if I had really driven in from Soundview. I told him that I had and he said that I should never come into work when it’s snowing and that I should leave immediately so that I might get home before dark. I had never talked at 2:30 in the afternoon about leaving work to get home “before dark”, but suddenly that was a very real concern. I told him that given the givens I would not be coming in on Friday. He said that was fine. So I went back to my desk, worked a little more, went to the cafeteria (which was open!), got some food, and drove home. Despite having actually worked today, my wife managed to beat me home.

Things that I wish I had remembered, realized, or known:

  • My boss’s phone number.
  • There was a parking garage that was almost certainly dry and almost equally certainly had vacancies on the first floor, making my trip to the underground garage particularly stupid.
  • Cascadia does not have the facilities to deal with snow and ice the same way that Deseret does. I had been lulled into a false sense of security by my previous ability to rely on Deseret making primary roads drivable.
  • Studded tires are good for ice, but they are also good for snow, too. At least I assume this to be the case by how easily I was able to get stuck in snow compared to when I had studded tires in Deseret.
  • When my audiobook ran out, I could have watched TV shows on my Smartphone. It’s not like I was doing much actual driving
  • The 1-800 number tells you if a facility is open. Not whether anybody is actually working.
  • If I had checked my email before I left, I would have seen an email from the junior VP of the Stormcast division telling everybody not to come in to work.

Category: Road

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3 Responses to My Own Snickers Commercial

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    To determine how Zaulemites will react to a given amount of snow, take the depth, replace “inches” with “feet,” and pretend you’re in a place where it snows more than three days per year.

  2. Kirk says:

    Living in FL, I haven’t had to contend with snow in years, not since I visited my brother in Syracuse. I actually drove up there for a Christmas, which everyone thought was insane.

    Like you, I did get momentarily stuck, when I tried to turn around in someone’s driveway. As the driveway sloped down away from the road, and I was driving a rear-wheel drive car, I didn’t have enough weight on the back wheels to get out. I ended up having to floor it in reverse for a good thirty seconds–leaving rubber on the ice–to slowly inch my way out.

    The only thing that really bothered me about going up there though, was the amount of slush in all the parking lots. Not owning a set of rubber boots, my feet got wet up to the ankles every time I got out of the car. I think I was going through five sets of socks a day.

    Anyway, it in the mid-sixties here today. Hee, hee.

  3. trumwill says:

    So it would seem.

    Flying back to Colosse, I’m going to be looking forward to some solid ground!

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