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Michelle Lovato: Digging out the day after

Posted: December 23, 2008 9:17 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2008 4:55 a.m.
The Lovato residence on a white, sunny day. The Lovato residence on a white, sunny day.
The Lovato residence on a white, sunny day.

My husband Vince was so cute out in the front yard with his grey hoodie and gold coat trying to dig our car out of its snow wedgy.

Since his heroic left swerve at what felt like 100 mph the night before, the car, which miraculously missed a 6-foot fence post, was aloft on a thick snow platform.

I sat in a rocking chair on our home's patio with a tall, frothy cup of coffee as I watched him scoop mounds of the powder with intense ferocity.

As I sipped I chatted on the phone, played with the dogs and whittled a few holiday ornaments.
Just kidding about the ornaments.

I noticed H.R. Pufnstuf's face turning red, but I know from nearly two decades of marriage that I was safely out of earshot of the salty language my delicate female ears should never hear. So I stayed put.

While I was discussing my dad's problems with my mother, I breathed a sigh of relief as I watched Farmer John manage to dig the car off its perch and rock it back and forth.

He was either creating a driveway or suffering a nervous twitch.

While I sought the comfort of another warm cuppa Joe, my Dear departed for parts unknown.
All right.

He's such a genius.

Ten minutes passed.

Thirty minutes.

Forty-five minutes passed and the Invisible Man had not returned.

So did what every smart wife would do in a near-panic situation where her husband may be lying prostrate in the snow dying of freezing cold.

I called Lila, our boss at The Signal.

"We might be late," I explained.

There's nowhere to get lost in my neighborhood other than in a snow drift.

"I've got the phone and he forgot the shovel."

After a long wait, I started to feel guilty so I went inside, poured more coffee, gathered my extra socks, snow boots, heavy coat, hat, scarf, oh ... and a pair of my daughter's hot-pink fuzzy socks I thought he could use for gloves.

Did I mention my daughter lost dear-old-dad's gloves the day before?

I walked cautiously into the three-and-a-half-foot snow and approached the gate.

Lucky for me, just as I grabbed the shovel my Dearly Beloved rammed himself into a snow berm near the corner of our street.

I rolled my eyes and considered retreat when his wild eyes caught mine.

I tromped down the street and saw his red face was now maroon.

For the sake of small children I must censor the next verbal interchange, but I can confirm I was informed of my miscreant behavior and that he did indeed dig himself out again.

He slammed on the gas and peeled out around the corner and straight into another berm.

What a genius.

After the third snowdrift rammage, temper-fit Tommy abandoned the car and began hiking home.

I stood behind the car holding the shovel thinking the master linguist created a whole new language of curse words.

Did I mention Señor Swear Words is bilingual, too?

"You can't leave it here. It's in the street," I squealed.

His maroon cheeks turned burgundy as he turned on his heels, threw his enormous body in the car and stomped on the gas.

With a fishtail and a cry from the earth itself, our little mini-SUV gained traction and limped back to our gate.

But leaving the house was not in our immediate future.

"The tire's flat," Professor Plum said as he threw his head toward the back wheel. "It's really flat."

Well, some might say that she who drinks coffee and rocks in the sunshine is bound to receive vengeance from her humorless husband.

And it is true. I did indeed receive my just reward since I spent the next 45 minutes creating a "traction path" up the street while our flat tire spilled air as fast as the battery-operated tire pump could fill it.

One must be creative when Mr. Sunshine Employee has guaranteed without a doubt that no matter what obstacles lie in the way, he would find some way to make his poor crippled wife get him to work.

First, I spread cat littler on the rut's surface for traction, but my kitties are prolific and there wasn't much supply. Then I dug through the trash and recycled every previous kitty installment possible. I threw old sunflower seed shells, peanut shells and dog food kibble onto the ice.

Look, Ma! I'm being green!

Rico Suave walked out with his briefcase and uttered two words.

"Get in."

I obeyed.

Long story short, we gunned it up the road, made a crazy right swerve and fishtailed through the icy mud path we'd sliced through the night before.

We used half a tank of gas gunning it up to the nearest gas station and landed right in the path of my ex-husband. Joy to the world. My tire fizzled flat.

My first husband tossed Mr. I Don't Wanna Get Dirty next to me a knowing smile, laughed and drove away.
A quick $20 to an anonymous cold mechanic and we were back on the road with a little tube-like thing posing as a tire.

I arrived at work with uncombed hair, wet cat litter plastered to my boot and in desperate need to use the facilities.

I don't hold it against my not-so-cute Forever Mate for making me wait the two hours it took to get to work.

I forgot to give him the hot-pink fuzzy socks.

Now that I've shared my California girl's snow experience with you, we are sort of snow buddies.

So if you see a filthy mini-SUV with a flattening inner-tube tire, kitty litter and a shovel inside rolling around sunny Santa Clarita, please be patient with the worn-out woman wanting rest and relaxation inside.

I wonder what will happen this week when it rains.

Michelle Lovato is a Signal staff writer. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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