street in snowy neighborhood

Snow Queen

Probably the worst thing about moving to the Upper Midwest from the Southwest was the weather. Specifically, the snow.

I used to love snow.

I liked it growing up in New York City, where all I had to do was shovel maybe 20 feet of sidewalk in front of our row house. But things are different now. We have a driveway. We live on a corner, so we are responsible for the “L” shape sidewalk in front of and beside our house.

Everyone has a snow blower. You can’t get along without a snow blower. (Or a leaf blower. But that’s another story.)

But what’s even worse than having to shovel or blow snow is that travel is made somewhat more difficult even after the snow stops falling. Sometimes it’s hazardous even after the snow’s mostly cleared from the streets. Because then what you are left with is the dreaded black ice – the snow that melts during the day and freezes over at night, leaving a thin film of ice that even the most powerful headlights can’t see. Or if you’re driving while the snow is freshly falling, you may spin straight into a snowdrift.

snowy-highway with cars and trucks

These conditions kept me home for the past few winters, but this time around I decided to face my fears. That happened after a neighbor casually informed me that I could get snow tires for my little Honda. Snow tires! I thought that only Hummers and other “high-profile vehicles,” as they say, could have snow tires.

They cost me $700, but I’ve got them. And I’ve already been out several times with them. I have courageously gone on highways as well as local streets (actually, the highways are cleared way sooner than the streets).  I was getting pretty cocky there for a while, until my car slipped sideways. I calmed down then. Now, I go at the stated speed limit, sometimes even a couple of miles below it, and anyone who doesn’t like it can just go around me, darn it.

Of course, this happens only during the day. I still don’t have the guts to face the possibility of black ice. Maybe next year. Or maybe not.

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