Veeder: Typical for a January
"Coming Home" columnist Jessie Veeder recalls her snow-related motor vehicle and problem and the ensuing back-seat commentary from her daughters.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — OK, North Dakotans, how are we doing out there? Are you making sure you’re anchored down? Holding on tight and staying fed with the proper amount of knoephla and carbohydrates to keep from blowing away or freezing to death?
Anyone else find yourself up to your floorboards in a snowbank in your sister’s driveway on your way to school drop-off and work last week?
Well, let me tell you, there’s nothing like starting a day running late at 7:30 a.m. because I had to literally pry my daughters’ eyeballs open and negotiate Every. Single. Move… from alarm, to getting dressed, to each bite of breakfast, to teeth brushing, to finally getting their boots on and their little defiant bodies buckled into the car.
It’s a good hour-and-a-half process, the morning routine. And Lord send us help if we misplace a mitten or choose the wrong T-shirt/legging combination. By the time I get in my car to go pick up my niece for preschool, I’ve burned 3,000 calories and sweat through my bra.
I’m telling you this so you don’t judge my decision to just “plow through” the giant drift of snow that showed up in her driveway the night before. Because “plowing through” is my default on those hard mornings. Yeah, I channeled Cruella de Vil, forward-leaning, elbows out, wild hair, bloodshot eyes. Then I hit the gas and sank like the Titanic. No amount of rocking or cussing or frustrated steering wheel pounding was going to get me outta there.
I called my husband and made my meek request for backup.
And then came the back-seat commentary.
“Mommy, remember the other day when you went in the ditch by the house and Papa had to come and pull you out? Is that like this?”
Apparently the event was traumatizing enough to become a core memory. Edie was only 2. Now that I think of it, that was probably the last time we had this much snow. My track record isn’t great.
“Mommy, you failed at driving today,” said Rosie as my husband arrived with the feed pickup to hook up the chains and remind me to take it out of park, hit the gas and not the brakes as he attempted to pull our SUV full of distressed females backward up the hill because the drift in front was long and deep and was going to need a tractor, clearly.
Assessing that very situation, my husband, bless him, just called my actions “an interesting choice” before leaving me at the wheel as we jerked and spun and jerked and spun and spun and sighed and whimpered and stayed stuck…
Then came my favorite part: my brother-in-law knocking on the window. I had an official audience now. He wondered how hard I gassed it.
Not hard enough. He gave me a perfect 10.
He went to get his pickup. And now there were two pickups and what I thought were just two of the three men on the place out in the cold morning trying to right my wrong. Except my dad got the memo somehow, likely through the famous sister-to-mother channel. News of a crisis moves fast this way.
And so then there were three. Three witnesses to my poor decision-making, which must be the magic number because in a couple more tugs, we were free.
“Our nightmare is over!” yelled Edie from the back, and I honestly don’t know where she gets her theatrics…
Except that it wasn’t over. I still had to call the school to explain myself and how I am mother of the year because my children had to remind me not to use bad words during the whole ordeal. They’re likely scarred for life…
I know I am.
So anyway, that’s how I’m doing out here. Pretty typical for a January, thanks for asking…
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com . Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.