17 March 2007


That's the only word I can think of to describe the driving conditions on Interstate 95 through Maine at 7:00 this morning.

Our daughter had a basketball tournament and it was the only event in the entire state that hadn't been cancelled. Consequently, other than the hard-working snowplows and the other tournament attendees, we had the roads all to ourselves. But it was a scary thing. A drive that would normally take about 45 minutes took us nearly an hour and 1/2.

Several inches of snow had fallen overnight, but that wasn't the problem. The snow was being removed quickly and efficiently, as it always is by Maine's superior snow removal experts. The problem was the ice and freezing rain. I'll never truly understand why it can be 25 degrees and raining ice, rather than just snowing, but that's what was happening. Ice was pelting the windshield of our ancient jeep, building up on the wipers, and even the four-wheel drive was struggling. All the way there, we kept asking ourselves who was crazier - the tournament officials for not cancelling, or us for actually showing up?

But it doesn't end there. The snow ended and then the rain picked up and helped clear the roads. When we broke for lunch and headed to the local mall for a break between games, there was only a light drizzle and just a distant memory of the frighteningly icy drive from hours before.

Yet, when we left the mall, our jeep creaked and groaned as it always does. It shuddered and sputtered as it always does. But this time, it did something more. As we drove around an on-ramp, smoke began pouring out of the driver-side door. It seemed to be coming from the line of buttons for the automatic windows and locks (which hardly work anyway). As we were exclaiming about the smoke and looking for a place amidst all the ice to pull over, small flames began shooting out of the same area.

A small panic ensued among the girls in the car, including myself and one of my daughter's teammates. Thankfully, my husband kept his cool, pulled over, and turned off the car. The rest of us promptly began to bail out. The flames died down on their own while my hubby was looking for the fire extinguisher and in the end, he simply took out the fuses for the lock and window buttons, and we saw no more flames.

You know, to me, there's nothing sexier than a man who keeps his cool during a potential crisis - especially when all the girls are screaming fire and offering to throw their water bottles on the electrical fire. Yeah, like THAT would have helped.

All in all it was an eventful day. Back at the tournament, one of the other parents asked me what we were doing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I looked at her, looked around, and said, "This."

We came home this evening, and in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I cooked Mexican food for the second night in a row. Ok, I AM quite a bit Irish, but the only GREAT meals I know how to cook are Mexican.

Besides, I think St. Patrick would understand. :)

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes


Leanne said...

Wow, what a scary day you had! I'm glad you're all okay!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Paulla. That was an adventure! Is the car running? Glad everyone is fine.Barb

Anonymous said...

Some adventure. The Lord protects His own--especially those out in the cold and snow and defying winter driving precautions. Love you. Don