January 15, 2011

How Not to Spend Your Winter

When you live in the upper mid-west, you learn to put up with a few things; snow, cold, wind, short days, bugs and road work.  In fact, it has been said that in North Dakota, our state bird is the mosquito and we only have two seasons; road construction and winter.

Now that's not a very nice thing to say.

In all honestly, I love North Dakota with all my heart.  I was born and raised here and would not want to live anywhere else.  The air is clean, the sky is blue (not smog gray), the people are hard working, caring and compassionate and we are the only segment of the US population that does not speak with an accent (unless you live right next to the Canadian border. Aye?)  

And we actually have 4 very distinct seasons - each one very beautiful in its own right. 


In a normal year...

But not this year.  Oh, no, definitely NOT this year.

This year winter has decended upon us with the velocity worthy of a two-year-old's temper tantrum.
It has been the winter of endless shoveling...
The winter of  relentless howling winds and snow...
The winter of doom.
You think I'm exaggerating.  But I would never do that.

No, I have proof.  And it looks something like this:

 While that is not a picture of my exact vehicle, it is a very close representation of how I have spent way. too. much. of my time this winter.  Not once.  Not twice. But three...yes, three times this winter.

Now, I know you are thinking "that woman needs to learn how to drive!" 
But I assure you, I am a very good driver.  In fact, in 25 many, many years of driving, I have never caused an accident or even received a speeding ticket.  

But this winter has been different.  In one month's time, on 3 occassions I have found myself hanging sideways into a ditch.  The first time was when I took our 7 year old to his guitar lesson.
It was his first guitar lesson. 
I wanted to make a good impression. 

The weather was not ideal - but after already having to cancel the lesson twice due to weather, we were determined to get to there.  All was well until I turned into what I thought was the guitar teacher's driveway.  Turns out it was the ditch slightly to the left of her driveway.  Thankfully, her husband owns a very large tractor and was able to pull me out.  It only took him ...and his dad...and his brother about 45 minutes to get my van out.  And it only cost me $45 to have the front tires realigned. 
That was Dec 16.

On January 8th, I left home to take the same 7 year old son to the bowling alley for a birthday party.  As I made a right turn into the parking lot I slid - yep, right into the ditch.  This time there were no handy tractors to pull me out and, to make it worse, my husband was out of town for business.  I called him, fighting tears of frustration and embarrassment.  Thankfully, he was able to get a hold of our new neighbor, who just happens to own a very large 4WD truck, to come and get me.  (Welcome to the neighborhood!)

Two days later...January 10th...guitar lesson #2.  Again, the weather wasn't ideal but we weren't worried (much).  I made a complete stop at the end of the driveway. .
I looked very carefully.  
I turned slowly.  
And I slid...right into the ditch. 
In the exact. same. spot.

Son #3  yelled, "I knew it.  I just knew it! Ugh!"

I called guitar lady from my cell phone.  "Um, Kiersten, we're here...but guess what?"

Moments later her husband came down the road, once again, to pick us up.  And pull us out.
All I can say is that he was smiling on the outside.

Which bring me to this: I am SO over winter.

I am done.  I don't care about snowmen or sledding or sparkly ice crystals on a sunny winter morning.  I want spring daffodils and I want them now.  I have lost my patience with this wintry weather.  It is even making me just a little bit cranky.  In fact, as Lyz over at Modern-Day Jane puts it, you could say I am a little bit P.I.S.S.E.D.

According to Lyz, P.I.S.S.E.D. is defined as : Perpetually Irritated by Stupid Snow Especially when Driving

I could. not. have. said. it. better.


In two days, my son has guitar lesson #3.  The weather forecast is for "freezing temps and blowing snow."  I am thinking of hiring an Alaskan dog sled team to take him to his lesson.  And if they get stuck in the ditch,  all I can say is I know a really nice farmer with a tractor.

Take care, stay warm, and keep it between the ditches.


  1. I say drive by slow and make him jump out and avoid the driveway altogether! He can ride the guitar like a sled down the driveway!


  2. Ardene1/15/2011

    Great article Dawn - and I too am done with winter or so I wish. Commuting 25 miles one way each day to then work 10 + hours a day in Jan makes one also p.i.s.s.e.d. Nuf said!

    I too keep a blog but mine is private for only me - kind of an online diary.

  3. I like Meg's idea! The ditches stink - thank goodness for kind neighbors (and guiter teacher's husbands!)

    Thanks for the link!

  4. I could say a lot about this but that would only get me in a lot of trouble so I'll just not say anything...for now. I'll have plenty of comments for the next time I come home though!

  5. Meg - I love your idea! If there aren't any available dog sleds that will be plan B.

    Ardene - good for you. Writing is therapeutic even if no one else reads it. Although, I confess, I am relieved to find that people are not only reading mine but also finding it entertaining :)

    Chris - you are getting wise in your old age. :)


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