Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Henry, the Lonely Red Truck

Yesterday, as I walked the dogs, our meadow looked like this. It was a frozen fog, which brought an end to our week of "normal" weather. February in NM is generally cold at night, warm in the day, sunny and dry.

I had my weekly conference call with Dr. Florance in New York at 8:30 yesterday morning and I had planned for N. to do a mixed practice page for math and then play a bit with the Microsoft Powerpoint (TM) program because we are getting ready to make a slide show to document his progress with Brain Engineering. But N. was not feeling well--he is having a really hard time shaking this crud he's had, so instead he was curled up in the recliner, reading Theras and His Town. I am beginning to wonder if we are ever going to get into a routine like the one we had before Channukah and Bar Mitzvah!

All morning and into the afternoon, the Fog hung on but the snow warnings were coming from everywhere. I had to decide whether to go to my Special Education Law class by 3 PM. No snow--so I drove into town having given N. strict instructions to: 1) under no circumstances go outside (that fog was bone chilling and cough producing); 2) watch a history chanel DVD about the real Troy, and 3) call me if it started snowing and the snow started to cover the driveway. In town, it was 45 degrees v. our 26, but there was a nasty wind blowing. No snow there. However, just as I was unpacking my notebook, my cell phone buzzed. It was N. It was snowing at home, he told me. I'd better come home.

But...Darn! I'd just got there and it was a once per week class--which meant I'd be missing a whole lot. So I called Bruce at his work and asked him when he was going to head home. He said that he would in about 15 minutes. So I told him: Call me when you get into the canyon if it is bad and you think I should head home. Then class began--and the prof handed out the homework handout right away, "in case the weather should give out on us." I had a hard time paying attention as I kept looking out the window at the mountains. Were the clouds lowering? Was it just my imagination?

Just as we got into discussing the statute IDEA 2004 section 614 (on assessment) and comparing it to the NMAC (state regulations) on the same issue, my phone buzzed again (I had it on vibrate). I slipped into the hallway to answer. It was my dear Bruce, and he told me that it was very windy in the canyon and that the snow was blowing around a bit. He thought that I had better head home right away. But--as I got back into the classroom, it appeared that we were wrapping up the discussion on the assessment part of IDEA--and it was interesting. So what harm would there be in going on just a few more minutes.

I imagine you can see where this is going...It was 5:35 before I left--a full hour after Bruce had called me. I thought to myself: I have at least 40 minutes more of daylight, if I get going I will get up our road before it is fully dark. So I fired up Henry, the big, red truck. But...I got onto I-40 and the traffic was very slow. Although I exited at the next exit, that took time. Then I had to go through city streets during rush hour to get back on the freeway further east. By the time I was entering Tijeras Canyon, the wind was very strong and the road was slippery. So I decided to get right back off again and take Old 66 through the canyon. It was snowpacked, but being lower than the freeway, the wind was not a problem. And it was a good thing I got off, because the radio announcer said that an east bound tractor-trailer had hit the guard rail, slid across the highway, crossed the center rail and overturned in the west-bound lanes. The traffic on the freeway was stopped in both directions! But 66 was very slick and it was all I could do to travel at 25 mph with my right tires in snow on the shoulder.

It was full dark when I turned on our road, which seemed okay until the first hill. It was very icy with blowing snow, and I had to go slow, but I started sliding on the hill. But I made it up that one. However, the next hill, steeper yet defeated me--I got half-way up and started to slide and had to stop. There was no going forward. Luckily, a neighbor in a 4WD SUV, helped me back it carefully into the ditch (so I could get it out) and then drove me up to get Bruce. We brought 6 40lb. bags of pellet stove fuel to put in the back. But Bruce could not get it up the hill, either. Poor Henry, just did not make the grade! So Bruce backed my truck down 2/10s of a mile to a side road that was level. We parked Henry in a pull-out just down that road, locked the doors and our neighbor brought us back home. It was snowing fast and furious by the time we got home last night!

Poor Henry! Abandoned for the night on Alta Vista road!

I am not sure if N. learned anything yesterday--but I did! If I should be in class during another storm warning, I will go home at the first

This morning, we woke up to 10 inches at 6 AM and it was snowing steadily. I checked the closings and delays while Bruce called the NWS to give a spotter report. Sandia was having a three hour delay--so we went back to bed. Bruce made an executive decision at that point that today was a full snow day for him. (The snowplow did not arrive 'til afternoon).

When I took the dogs out at 7:30 we had 11.5 inches of snow on the ground. I measured it in the driveway. I guess we'll not be parking there for a while!
The dogs and I broke trail to the main road, where we walked in already filling tracks of our neighbors 4WD F-250. At 8 AM, when I measured as we came home, we had 12 inches.
By about 11 AM, the snow was slowing down and N. measured 14 inches. We called the spotter hotline at NWS to report our total.

We have plans to rescue Henry tomorrow because it was beginning to clear up and we thought a little sun tomorrow would mean less digging.

Weather Bug just informed me that a new wave of storms was moving south from the northern mountains. We can expect at least two more inches tonight.

Poor Henry! Still stranded. Above you can see Bruce's Nova. Buried.
And all alone. No Henry beside her. Sigh.

Tomorrow: Henry's Rescue.

1 comment:

Megan Bayliss said...

Ohhh. I had adrenalin racing as I read your post. I was scared for you on those slippery roads. I am glad that you got home safely.