I spent the bulk on my day on January 28 doing laundry and sorting through summer clothes, giggling at the fact that I was packing flip-flops and short sleeves when there was snow outside my window and the little pond in my backyard was frozen over. More snow was predicted, but since the day was clear with scant bulbous white clouds (not even a little bit ominous-looking), I wasn't concerned, weather forecasting in this area of the country more closely resembling voodoo than actual meteorological science.
It was shortly after sunset that the first flakes began to fall. They grew increasingly large and fell thickly through the sky. It wasn't long before my driveway and street were covered in a thick blanket of white.
Now for a little background information: I live approximately one hundred miles away from the Seattle airport and had secured reservations with a shuttle service for a ride to the airport in Seattle. The bus left at 2 a.m., and I needed to be there at our local rinky-dink airport no later than 1:45 a.m. My sister would be taking me, but considering the increasingly treacherous road conditions, we needed to consider how we would get to said local rinky-dink airport without sliding quietly into a ditch.
I pulled the chains out of the trunk of my car (chains that had procured my salvation from an icy hill just a month or so before) and we set to work trying to put them on my front tires. Trying would be the operative word. These chains were hand-me-downs and even though my car drives on the smallest tires made (13"), the chains are somehow a tad too small but can be coaxed onto the tires when the appropriate amount of strength is exerted.
We tugged and we tweaked, we pulled and we grunted, we took turns laying down on my purple yoga mat on the dusty garage floor in a vain endeavor to find the best possible angle. Several times, we were within about one-half inch of the promised land. But after nearly an hour of pulling, tugging, and me starting to curse like a sailor (Kaari exhorting me to just step away from the chains and calm down), we still fell short.
This is where older, burlier, and most willing-hearted brothers come into play. Kaari and I are at a distinct advantage to have a brother who considers providing varying means of rescue for his sisters as part of the Big Brother Contract implicitly agreed upon at our respective births. When others were sliding backwards in attempts to make it up the icy hill to our street, Peder was able (with the advantage of all-wheel drive and new snow tires) to come to our rescue. He and Kaari managed to secure the chains on both tires and even took it for a test drive down our icy hill to ensure we'd be safe when we ventured out in the wee hours of the morning.
The chains secured, we all sat in our living room, simply enjoying one another's company for awhile, taking note of the size of the flakes falling outside. There was already a couple of inches on the ground after just a couple hours of snowfall. We opened the door and listened outside for the hush that inevitably befalls with the thickening layers of snow. Then at about 8 p.m., the house went went black. Our power was out. Of course.
I had just purchased a large package of candles the day before, so we set about setting them out and lighting them. We were hoping, of course, that power would be restored soon. Can you imagine getting ready in the morning by candlelight? That would be hilarious! I'm sure it will be restored before we leave at 1:30.
The adage famous last words was invented for such cavalier persons as myself.
Peder still being there, he helped us manually open our garage door so we could move my properly-chained up car outside. One less thing to concern ourselves with in the morning.
I made the decision to go to bed for what would amount to about a two-hour nap before I'd need to get up and make those last-minute prepartions so Kaari could drop me off at the shuttle. She and my roommate and I all took a few candles with us to our rooms, all of us laughing at how very Little House on the Prairie this all felt. All I was lacking was a bonnet for my hair and a long white nightgown with a lacy collar.
When I got upstairs, I set out a few tealights around my bathroom sink so I could see as I washed my face and brushed my teeth. As I spit out the foamy remnants of my teeth brushing, I leaned over the sink and slurped some of the running water so I could rinse. Now, what is that pungent smell? What is that crackling noise?
That would be my hair on fire. Of course.
I frantically batted my head and looked in the mirror to ensure the flames on my head had been squelched, hoping this incident would not become a cautionary tale against lighting candles in the bathroom and placing them in such close proximity to the sink when getting ready for bed. It was a matter of seconds before the whole upstairs began to reek of my burned locks. I looked to the sink and saw a rather interesting mix of discarded toothpaste and small chunks of my singed hair.
The alarm went off at midnight and despite the hour, it was surprisingly light out as the moonlight reflected off the thick shroud of white outside. I expectantly reached over to the lamp on my nightstand to flip the switch. Nothing. It appeared as though I'd be putting the finishing touches on my packing by candlelight.
I went to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth again, placing the candles as far away from the sink as possible, desperately wishing not to repeat the attempt to see how my hair might double as a torch. I got ready as though in a fog, and even with the candlelight, couldn't see much of what I was actually taking with me. Reasoning that Florida would no doubt possess what I may have forgotten, I decided not to worry myself over it.
I lugged my bags downstairs and thanked Kaari again as she lumbered upstairs from her room, the hood of her sweatshirt pulled tightly around her face. She warmed up the car and we took my bags out. There was at least five inches of snow on the ground.
We made it to the shuttle without further incident. My little car lumbered up and down the snowy, ice-packed streets without incident and I was deposited safely at the curbside where the shuttle would pick me up to take me to the airport in Seattle.
Sigh. Thank God.
Once the shuttle was safely underway, blazing down the decidedly bare freeway, I got a text message on my phone from Kaari. It was 2 a.m. She had arrived safely home and the power was back on.
And that, my friends, is the crazy grand adventure of how I got to the airport in the first place.