Winter has definitely settled in on Hamilton over the last few days, and I’ve been learning quite a few things about winter driving that you don’t learn until you have your own car in the winter. Like how important it is to have a snow shovel, especially when you live in an apartment building and park your car in the open lot out back.
I went to the local mall this morning, being careful to brush the car off very carefully before – luckily there wasn’t enough snow that I needed to actually dig it out. Walked around the mall enough to get my exercise for the day, picked up my groceries, got back to the car, brushed it off again. Turned on the ignition, wiped off the windows, noticed that there was some ice on the back windshield that I hadn’t brushed off, so I grabbed the scraper/brush, got out again, took a few seconds to go scrapy scrapy…
and the door wouldn’t let me back in. I was locked out of the car, with the engine running, my groceries sitting in the front seat with the heat going.
Luckily, I had a cell phone in my jacket pocket, and I was able to call CAA. It was a long wait for the guy to show up, brushing my car off again every fifteen minutes or so, but finally he showed at the mall entrance, followed me to my car, with the wipers still going every so often, and pulled out the tricks of the trade. One little doo-hickey that inflated itself with air to pull the passenger side door open, just a little up near the window. A metal wedge to help keep the door propped open just that crack, And a slightly flexible angled bar, which he stuck in through the crack in order to pull the unlock switch.
It took him about half a dozen tries – he kept complaining that the door was unlocking and then relocking itself – but finally the door was open. I dived across, unlocked the driver’s side door, pulled the keys out of the ignition, and then hurried around to get in the driver’s seat. As soon as the tow truck pulled out, I hurried for home to put the meat, the eggs, and the frozen potatoes into the appropriate cold storage.
Later, I drove over to my Mom’s place, to help her get packed and move out of the condo. The drive down the main streets was fine, but once again, the visitor’s parking lot was full. (This happened on Christmas Day, and we ended up parking my car in her spot on the P2 floor of the building while driving her car up to Kitchener.) So I drove around her neighborhood for a bit, looking for a decent parking spot on the curb, but the side streets there looked like they hadn’t been plowed since yesterday afternoon.
I tried to pull off to the side to let a truck go past me on the street behind the condo building, and got myself well and truly stuck. After the truck managed to inch past me, a friendly man out brushing off his own car came over and asked if he could help, and he was able to help push me out of the groove. I kept driving around a little while, and managed to pull into a three-hour spot down the street from the condo building.
Once the packing for the day was done, and Mom and I were heading off to dinner, there was more snow-driving fun. My three hours were almost up, and somebody had parked behind me, cutting off the easiest way of getting out of that spot without driving through a low snowdrift. My mother actually helped talk me through without having to resort to shoveling or salt, showing me how to ‘rock’ the car back and forth, switching between reverse and first gear, something I don’t think I’d been taught before.
I hope the roads are a little less eventful when I head down to the Pier for a modest holiday write-in tomorrow!