stuck 1219

I learned some hard lessons last night, at a time when I should have been blissfully uneducated, sound asleep. The overarching lesson seemed so vital that I feel it my duty — nay, my obligation — to try to sum it up in a neat phrase of my own devising and pass it along to all of you to spare you the trauma of learning the hard way. Here it is: Haste makes waste.

That’s catchy, don’t you think? Perhaps this way we will all — all of us — remember it. Haste makes waste. I like that.

Bob’s niece arrived last night, driving in from Omaha with her gentleman friend (yet another Dave). Lynn and I had offered to put them up in the guest cabin out here at Riverwalk, which is all fine and well until you’re trying to locate it in the dark. So I suggested that they stop first by our house, and I could guide them to the cabin from here.

Annie has been extremely gracious throughout all of this, grateful for everyone’s assistance and mindful of everyone’s concerns. She notified me as soon as she could that she was running later than she anticipated, and said they would just get a hotel room for the night so they wouldn’t disturb us by arriving after 10.

No, I told her. I have horrible sleep patterns, and this will be fine. (Although I did fall asleep on the couch waiting for her, and slept right through her text that she was 15 minutes out. Good thing Lynn heard it come through.)

That is when things stopped going smoothly, at least at my end. Annie and Dave arrived right on time and said they had no difficulty finding our driveway. I had provided explicit instructions because another out-of-town friend used her GPS to get to Riverwalk, but then it told her she was at our house without the last couple of curves to get to the driveway.

I grabbed a snow shovel and two flashlights, and Oz and I got into my car to lead the way to the guest cabin. But for whatever stupid reason, I had taken the key to the cabin out of my jeans pocket and set it near the door, where I thought for some reason I would give it to Annie. I did not give it to Annie and I did not put it back in my pocket.

Let’s consider this concept of a key for a moment. The cabin is managed by Jenny, one of the owners of our local Berkshire Hathaway real estate office. Whenever a guest of ours is going to use the cabin, I go to Berkshire Hathaway, which has the friendliest receptionist (I’m sure that’s not her title) in the world, and she gives me a key.

Then, when Tia locks herself out of the cabin, I have to text Jenny as she’s in the middle of watching a movie in Crested Butte. Then I end up texting her back to say, never mind. When Tia’s daughter Ellie arrives on a weekend, Jenny leaves the key in an unlocked cabin (and asks me to ask Ellie to wash a load of towels before leaving — it’s not hotel service, apparently), and then Ellie leaves the key in an unlocked cabin for the next guest.

Our friend Carol, days away from spending her second winter of retirement in California, has decided to try renting her Gunnison house out on AirBnB this winter. She had a code panel installed on her door, and the code will be changed with each guest to the last digits of their phones. Easy to remember; no frantic calls when she’s too many miles away to do anything about a lock-out problem anyway.

Doesn’t that seem like it would make sense at the Riverwalk guest cabin?

While less educational, it certainly would have helped me out last night. I started, in my car with dog, snow shovel and flashlights, down Kokanee (Lynn tells me it’s a “Court,” even if it’s the longest street out here) in front of Annie and Dave — until I remembered the key was sitting on the shelf back at my house.

So I left them waiting for me as I turned my car around and headed home, and it is here that the nighttime learning began.

Number One: When it snows, then warms up and melts, then cools down, the roads get slippery.

Number Two: Always steer INTO the skid to arrest it. Okay, really I learned that one way back when I was 15, but apparently I need a refresher.

Number Three: If you are going to drive recklessly fast turning into your driveway on slick snowy roads and not steer into a skid, you are going to wind up in the soft snow to the side of the driveway, up to your hubcaps in loose snow, perilously close to the sewer clean-out you put several warning signs around to make sure others are aware of it.

Or, to be more succinct about it, Haste makes waste.

This was my first real skid in my Leaf (although nowhere close to the first skid in real life), which probably should have a better set of tires. There’s this button I can push on the dashboard called the “traction button” that’s supposed to somehow help in the event I need to rock the car. I gave it one try and decided I was too stuck to make that work, and Annie and Dave, who had driven 10 hours from Omaha, were waiting on the road for me.

I transferred the snow shovel and the dog (but forgot one of the flashlights) to my truck, went in and got the cabin key, lifted the hood of the truck to engage the battery, started it — glad I had driven it earlier in the day, because the manual transmission gets really cranky without a warm-up — and went back to Dave and Annie.

I stared to roll the window down to explain why I was in a different car, then decided they knew who I was, and just led them to the cabin, where I left the truck running with the headlights on. We did need the snow shovel, because the walkways weren’t clear (a lesson I learned last year when Tia had to wade in), but they were delighted with the space in the cabin, and this morning reported it was very comfortable and warm.

I went back home, figuring I would probably just need to leave my car lopsided in a snowbank, probably begging Kara’s husband for some help with it this morning, but I decided to give it a little more effort now that no one was waiting for me.

It probably helped that the snow wasn’t all that deep, although you can see where the Leaf’s low belly dragged along the loose snow, and there was no way I was backing up onto the driveway, but I was able to move forward better than expected, and without sliding any closer to the clean-out. So I learned a little bit about my car and its tolerances for winter driving as well.

That feels well worth it, then, doesn’t it? Plus, I came up with this new phrase that it so catchy I’m sure others might want to use it as well (yours for a small royalty): Haste makes waste. Keep it in mind, won’t you?

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