The latest storm dumped its huge inches elsewhere, coating us with sleet 1/4" thick, or so, taking all day/night to do it, then added 2-4" of light, powdery stuff Monday... At 6:07, school was rescheduled two hours late. At 8:07, the superintendent's wife called, and school was canceled. Tuesday morning, I un-iced the truck windshield and drove it CAREFULLY down the hill, leaving one nice straight set of tracks I hoped I could make it back up.
When I got to the bottom of the driveway, I was afraid I would not make the road if I put on the brakes, so I let my momentum take me right on around the corner onto the main road, which had no traffic on it at all. The entire time I was doing the chores, the only vehicle I'd seen was the sander. Good man! Love to follow him in, not lead him in. I arrived about 20 minutes late, after leaving about 30 minutes early. Nobody said a thing, and I was NOT the last to arrive.
When I got home about 8:30 or so, the mailman had used the bottom of the driveway to turn around, so I had a nice thick bunch of tracks to get me started uphill. The fluffy snow would give way, I'd hit the ice underneath and slide, then grip and lurch up a foot or so before repeating the process. In the deeper stuff in the shadow of the old house right beside the drive, I got going sideways. In the clear area between the old house and the first wooden stud pen, I got back into the morning's tracks, so I hit the steepest part of the hill with the best chance, dreading going sideways again, afraid I'd get hung up half on the driveway and half on the side.
It wasn't just an idle fear. The last time that happened in this kind of cold, the truck was there for three days before I could get someone to tow it out (afraid they'd go over with it, or roll), the battery had to be replaced.
But this time, I cleared Debut's stud pen still lined up in the tracks, doing the steepest part in the same lurch and slide movement as the lower slope. The headlights showed me my arch nemesis -- THE SKUNK with the broad white tail with a bit of black fringe, or her daughter -- running up the track for the house, intent on a cat food raid.
I thought briefly for a second or two about trying to dodge her -- the steep slopes on the side of the drive were safely behind me, but I was coming to the corner where I'd stalled out one year and just gave up and walked the rest of the way, since it was the weekend that time. Jess still worked for me, and he saw it parked at a funny angle, drove around it in his vehicle, then went back to bring it on up. He did not bother to clear the windshield off, just held the driver's door open so he could see where he was going. Somehow he got slid around so that the driver's door was facing back DOWN the hill and began moving sideways, crunching the door into a V, with the curve toward the OUTSIDE. He got it back in position and parked it, with a woolen rug hanging in the door opening to keep the storm out.
Just the brief thought of all that grief kept me centered in the tracks. The skunk would surely jump aside like the cats and dog used to... The way the truck was lurching, I was not sure if I hit it, or not. I DID NOT go back out and check once I got to the house. There was a faint smell.
This morning, I have to admit a slight satisfaction upon seeing the body there in the tracks, but seeing how small it looked, I am thinking it was one of the children, not the adult. Either that, or her incredible size was puffed out hair that is now lying flat and compact.
We got out at 1:30 for a speech contest that was being held at our school, so I'd booked someone to get the driver's mirror Jess gave me in early January installed. When I told them the truck might be quite aromatic when it got inside and warmed up, they decided that was one appointment I did not need to keep, so the driver's door is still mirror-less.
Small price to pay.