I was able to get yesterday and today off from my work in order to spend Farrah's birthday with her. I was grateful for this because I don't miss her birthday...ever. And when it's winter break - she is always on the west side of the mountains because I can't leave her home all day.
So, yesterday, I had a wonderful day with my daughter that was completely unforgettable. Makeup for my 11 year old so she would learn how to wear makeup correctly without looking like a hooker at the age of 13. Natural. We had fun, stayed up again telling more of her baby stories, and then I had to send her to bed because I needed to get up early to head back to work.
And that's when the hell began...
I've been watching the pass reports and weather reports religiously because I know there are times it can get pretty bad. Well, I was all dressed for work and packed, and said good bye to everyone with big hugs. I even left early enough to get to my house first in order to get my dog situated before heading into the station. I kept watching the pass report and it said it was rain and snow mixed; traction tires advised. Easy enough! I was prepared. I even looked at I-90/Snoqualmie Pass as a back up just in case like I always do...same conditions.
I got on the road, had my audiobook going, topped off with gas, picked up a coffee, and drove the 40 minute drive into Monroe. The signs there before getting onto the main part of Hwy 2 still read "traction tires advised".
40 miles later into Skykomish where the base of the climb begins...there was a sign lit up and all I caught was the horrific word "CHAINS". I drove until I found a place to do a U-turn and go back to make sure I read that right.
"CHAINS REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES EXCEPT ON ALL WHEEL DRIVE"
Guess what I don't have. All wheel drive. And guess what I had...chains. Chains for one tire. Awesome. I let my boss know my situation and in the midst of my frustration, said screw it and headed back into Monroe (another 40 miles) to go buy chains for more than one tire. When I got there, I pulled into a Napa Auto Parts to pick up work gloves and at the last second, an LED flashlight. For the heck of it, I looked one more time in my trunk, and under a blanket was another set of chains. Eureka! They were Les Schwab so I drove to the Les Schwab to show me how to put on the chains. I even did it twice on their model tire and chains to be certain it wouldn't be an issue.
I got to the chain-up area where there really wasn't much snow yet, but other people were stopped so I felt safe should I run into a problem and might need help. Confident with my coat, boots, and work gloves on, along with my handy flashlight - I went to the trunk to grab the first set of chains. I started to put them on and found that familiar rhythm from practicing, but when everything was all hooked and in its place...there was soooooo much loose chain. W. T. F.
The chain was too big for my tires! Awesome. So, I went to remove it and this is when the fun started. Let me point out that it wasn't really snowing as much as it was windy with downpour rain with some snow. I was a mess. I had unhooked everything and began to pull the cable when one of the many hooks decided to attach itself to the INSIDE of my front tire. The only sized hands to fit there were mine...and they didn't fit and I didn't know where to find the hook.
Mind you, semi trucks, buses and pick ups were driving by going 60+ mph and I was one of those people in one of those shitty commercials where the mud and water got hit just right...right up my entire body and into my face.
I got into my car and inched the car forward about 6 inches, hoping this would allow me access to where I needed to reach. Now it was worse. The only way for my hand to get in was scrape my hand and wrist on a pointy part of the wheel. Why is that even there?
I didn't want to cry, I didn't want to cry, I didn't want to cry.
Did I mention I had to pee?
I didn't want to need to pee, I didn't want to need to pee, I didn't want to need to pee.
I only got in my car once and screamed. I thought that was a good release.
I had been there easily an hour dealing with this one chain on one wheel, still getting splashed by fast moving vehicles. Also...my earring fell out of my ear and the first thought that came to mind was, "This is where forensics will find my earring. My arm will be lodged in the wheel of my car when someone loses control and either kills me or amputates my arm from my shoulder. But my earring will still be there. I put it in my pocket.
After my 100th internal temper-tantrum, I marched over to the semi-truck behind me and asked the man if he had any bolt cutters. He told me he didn't, but had cable cutters then said, "I saw that you were still working on that one tire when I was finishing my 6th...let me take a look." This made me want to cry on two different levels. First, he was willing to help me. Second, he had six friggin' tires done and I was killing myself over one. The man had on the appropriate attire to get under and reach the problem. At this point, I thanked him profusely, got in my car, and cried my eyes out. I could hear my daughter in my own cries and I felt pathetic because I'm 40, not 11. But god damn it, I felt like it!
So, since I failed horribly at chaining up my car, I headed back to mom and dad's in tears feeling completely defeated. The whole time I was out there, I was scared, I was cold, I was inexperienced, and no matter how I tried to fix it or to calm myself - it just didn't work. Besides that, no reception. Thanks, AT&T.
I let my parents know I was on my way back to them, and unbeknownst to me...my dad was already filling up his diesel Ford with a very large amount of dirt/rocks in the back to keep it heavy and to let me drive it in the morning - none of us felt safe driving at night when it was so unpredictable. So, I got to mom and dad's, cried some more, and got out of my soaking wet clothes. I had the heat on super high the whole drive back to their house and I was still freezing to the bone.
This day can now come to a close and tomorrow is my reset. Parking will be a pain in the ass this week, but - oh well. If you see a big red Ford F-350 - get out of the way because I probably won't see you.