Cars and snow and things that (don’t) go

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me: a 5 seater Volvo SUV……… 4 Diego drawings, 3 tasty treats, 2 U.S. passports and a mushy brain with no memory…..

Well actually no such exchange took place. I didn’t open my front door to find a Volvo with a red ribbon around it. The only ‘trade’ that occurred was the one in the professor’s mind. If he disliked the car-van before last week, he dislikes it even more now.

He spent the latter part of the week wishing for a new Volvo XC90; drooling over pictures of one on the internet, but his wish did not come true.

It started with some minor issues. The heat in the car-van is semi-non-existent. Not only does it take at least thirty minutes before the car-van will eject a semblance of heat, the heat is paltry. At best. During a family drive last Sunday, the comments from the peanut gallery consisted of: ‘I’m cold’….’I’m freezing’. And they were inside the car.

There was also a tiny matter of the brakes switching in and out of ABS mode. Seemingly randomly. For no reason whatsoever.

So Jason dropped the Venture off at the Midas shop that’s spitting distance from our house. When I collected the van about five hours later, the mechanic handed me a printout with a bottom line of $2200. That’s what it would take to address the heating and brakes issues. Awesome.

Apparently the temperature problem is one that can be found in many GM vehicles made between 1999 and 2004. So now, besides Ford on the professor’s ‘car-hit-list’ (thanks to his college blue Mercury Topaz) there’s a special place for Chevy/GM.

That night he spent several hours online coveting Volvos and the like. Mumbling about his disdain of all things minivan and American-made and who knows what else. I wasn’t too bothered about looming repairs. After all, cars do need to be fixed sometimes. It just sucks when it’s a chunk of cash like that.

I had other fish to fry in the disdain compartment of my brain. Namely Calgary.

Yes, on Friday, mere seconds after we purchased our crooked tree from the crooked tree lot, a bit of a blizzard came upon Cowtown. I don’t know why a blizzard is called a blizzard – does it have to do with inches of snow, or more about snow plus temperatures plus crazy winds? This was more a case of the latter. Snow and wind and freakingcoldness.

On Saturday when I prepared to go to the grocery store with two of the three musketeers, our front walk had been attacked by snowdrifts. Many inches high.

I’d have to shovel (again) there was no denying it. I donned the professor’s puffy jacket that one friend described as making its wearer look like he or she had been pumped full of air. The coat is in fact so good at keeping one warm that I was literally sweating standing in line at Starbucks with my blondies.

But anyway. I pulled on the snowboots and the puffy coat. And one of the Gort’s hats. Because I couldn’t frankly find my own. ‘You look funny in that hat,’ the Gort kindly informed me. ‘Thank you’ I replied. Because what else do you say to that? ‘I didn’t say you looked nice’ he clarified.


A look in the mirror revealed that I looked like Frances McDormand in Fargo. Which was semi-appropriate, because when I got to my van parked at the bottom of my street, I felt like I was at least an extra in the movie. Bleary landscape. White snow piled high. And my car-van was bookended by several feet on either side. Some ‘neat’ people had apparently cleared the sidewalk in front of their home….right onto my car.


It took a good twenty minutes to shovel and maneuver my way out of there, all while uttering a colorful array of words directed at Calgary. Perhaps that newspaper headline: ‘Calgary adds $1 million to snow removal budget’ was just a delayed April Fool’s joke?

Later in the evening I passed a police van, thoroughly stuck on the right side of the road. The next morning, we passed an abandoned city bus. Sitting diagonally in the street with its rear end firmly anchored in a huge snow drift. Hazard lights blinking pathetically.

Perhaps Santa Claus will bring me some tickets for Hawaii. Or even Alabama.

*Thanks to the other jason johnson who kindly took these photographs for me….from inside the house.

5 thoughts on “Cars and snow and things that (don’t) go

  1. Okay…I admit – I had that coming to me (you know what we’re talking about) but what I really meant was that he looked all warm and cozy, all puffy like a big down quilt…albeit a little frustrated considering the weather and whatnot. 😉 I’m hiding behind my anonymity…and I’ll be thinking of that warm jacket when I’m shivering away in mine.

  2. I will proudly wear my puff daddy jacket and consider it a all encompassing airbag, kind of like the ones that can be found in the volvo xc90….for those of you looking for something to add to my christmas list….

  3. You only have one disdain compartment in your brain?! You’re pretty much a saint then. There are days when I’m pretty sure disdain takes up all available brain waves…

  4. It may well be a large compartment, VS. Depending on the day….And, ‘anonymous’, let me know if you want to borrow the puffy 🙂 Oh, and Brandi yes…I’ll take Alabama. Just for this week, though.


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