From sometime in 2011..
A few months ago, the heater’s blower motor in the mini van began to die a slow death. At first, it still blew some hot air and it would mysteriously kick on all of the sudden, and then quit. Slowly the intermittent blowing was replaced by a some-sort-of-dying-animal noise. And then, finally, the heater blew no more…At least in the front of the fan. Hot air was still blowing out of the vents in the back of the van, so if I started the car and let it run for a fairly long time, the heat would make its way up to the front of the car and defrost the windows for me, as well as warm the whole inside of the van. So, that’s how I have been doing it most of the winter, and it has been working just fine, except for today. Apparently this method is ineffective when the temperature dips into the negative double digits.
Since I have found that every thing that can go wrong, will go wrong…I was hardly surprised when the power steering pump went out in the van as well. Art has assured me that it was not my method of Snow Removal that killed the power steering; on the other hand, my brother says that’s what happens when you use a mini van as a snow plow. I am a big fan of avoiding blame, so I am going to stick with Art on this one.
And finally, there is the fact that I am rarely cold. If I am cold, I am not usually cold for long because I start the car, let it get warm, run from the warm house to the warm car and then into where ever I am going to. The final destination is almost always WARM. So, I see no need for a heavy winter coat, or gloves or a hat and I usually stick with my light leather jacket.
And now that you have the back story….
Last night I went to work the closing shift at the bar. I was, of course, running late, so I didn't bother to grab a hat or gloves. I threw my coat on and ran to the already warm car and drove to work, my ass half off the seat most of the time because I now need my entire body weight to turn a corner.
It was midnight when I left work and the temperature was -4 degrees. That's actual temperature...not wind chill. I started the car and let it run for over 20 minutes.
I locked the bar and got in to the car only to discover that the heat coming from the back blower will not sufficiently heat the car in subzero temperatures. Usually if it runs for long enough, the windows will even defrost. Not. Today.
There is a clear spot in the icy windshield, right in the middle, so I lean far to the right to see and steer at the same time. (Of course I could have scraped the ice off…but it was –4 freaking degrees outside, remember?) Once I start driving, the temp goes from -4 to -12 on the thermometer in the car. There is no warmth coming from the back of the car, my teeth are chattering, and my nose is frozen.
Since I neglected to bring any gloves with me, I am reduced to putting on a single kid’s glove that I found in the backseat, while sitting on the other hand, my nose pressed against the hand that is on the steering wheel because I am reasonably sure it is about to freeze and fall off. This is quite a picture.
As I am pulling out of the bar I realize that if anyone could see through my frosted windows, they would have to assume that the bartender is hammered, or sleeping, or maybe both.
Now, I probably would have been able to drive the entire way home that way, except I can't leave my ungloved hand tucked under my ass because I am unable to physically turn the stupid steering wheel with only one hand. Actually, I am physically unable to turn without utilizing my entire body weight and hooking my foot under the dash for leverage. I am not kidding. Stupid power steering pump.
When I stop at the stop light before my turn, I reach back and pull Cadence's Disney Princess hat on. It is pink, and glittery, and rather than simply stating “Princess” across the front, there are also pictures of the Disney Princesses. I look like a fucking retard at this point, I am sure. I reason that I am probably not going to get pulled over, though, because no sane cop wants to get out of the warmth of his car, (Which probably has perfect power steering by the way.) to pull over what appears to be a maybe-mentally-retarded-and-possibly-intoxicated-but-what-could-just-be-a-little-kid, driver.
I absolutely do not want to stop at the gas station. But I am out of cigarettes. And I am pretty sure we will need milk, and I know that there is no way in hell I am leaving the house in the morning after this whole fiasco; so I stop. I remembered to take the single glove off my hand before going in, which hardly mattered, because I forgot about the hat.
My teeth are chattering because the damn heater is actually blowing snow instead of hot air, and my nose is running, and I cannot park close to the door because there is no way I can make that tight of a turn, so I park at the pump and run.
"Cold out there huh?" Say the gas station lady. I am too cold to offer any witty retort so I roll my eyes at her instead and go about collecting the crap I need for morning. I briefly wonder if they will let me sleep in the gas station all night so I don't have to go outside.
But of course I don't ask. I run back to the car, drive - well, sort of - home and run into the house. I spend ten minutes sitting in front of the heater before removing my shoes and climbing into bed, jeans, coat, and stupid pink glittery hat still on my head.
I wake up early with the kids, and make a firm resolution to pack my shit and move somewhere south of here, where it is always warm...Just as soon as the power steering pump is fixed.