Friday, December 28, 2012

The Prius is Really Just a Big Shopping Cart

Those of you that know me are probably thinking you are going to be reading a post about my shopping habits. You aren't. I hope this doesn't disappoint you.

I was previously going to title this post The Prius is an Ice Skate but I changed my mind today after maneuvering my grocery cart in the snow and discovering, like the Prius, it's next to impossible. Sidenote: I understand I can get wrapped up in grocery shopping but it was FLURRYING when I went in and there was a good half inch waiting for me when I came out.  Anyways, I digress. The Byrnes are failing winter so far. Seriously, Mother Nature must have taken my Facebook post telling her to bring it on quite seriously, maybe I bruised her ego, because right now we are being taken behind the woodshed by her. (In case Big MN is reading this: I take it back, you win. My big poofy NorthFace coat has NOTHING on you).

When we moved here and everyone gave us that knowing look when we told them we were moved from we always qualified it with the fact we lived in Chicago for 8 (Mary) or 10 (Tim) years. Okay my Iowa peeps, you also win. Apparently we deserved every last chuckle and sidways glance. Chicago has nothing on Iowa. Except maybe decent street crews. I know last year was a mild winter here but did they all but forget how a storm works? In theory there should be so much surplus in the snow clearing budget none of it should have even TOUCHED the streets, right? Okay, sorry- this is not a bash the Des Moines Streets Department post, it's letting the world know that we truly had no idea what we were in for here. St. Thomas made us soft. (Although there is some truth to the whole streets-being-clear thing, just saying....)

When we got our first blizzard last week we got Tim's car stuck not once, not twice but three times. Time #2 resulted in me finding a nice man in a snowplow clearing a driveway to basically plow me out of the street and in front of the driveway. I had a choice between a $10 bill and a $50 bill.  I gave him the 50. Tim said this was excessive. I said I was no longer in the middle of the street, I win. However, for $50 I probably should have had him actually do the driveway because that's where we got stuck the 3rd time...

Being stuck is not limited to the car. Apparently you can get your lawn tractor-with-snowblade-attached stuck as well. That thing is MADE to clear snow and we, well Tim, got it stuck. I guess the blade was old and too heavy so it weighed down the front making it impossible for the back wheels, WITH CHAINS, to get any traction. Namely because they weren't even touching the ground. I'm pretty sure at this point our neighbors had to be looking out the window, pointing and laughing but I wouldn't know it because I was too busy concentrating on not running over Tim as I steered and he pushed me backwards into the garage to park the tractor. In unsurprising news the blade went on Craigslist. In surprising news, someone has already bought it for $100 and we no longer own the thing.

So we sucked it up that night and took the really long (normally 20 minutes) drive to Sears to buy a snowblower (see: stuck in the driveway the 3rd time, above). You know what sucks more than having to buy a snowblower at full price with no other options? Not being able to fit it in the car to get it back to your house and going home empty handed. Which leads me to...

So the Prius is bad, I mean BAD, in Iowa snow. As mentioned, I wanted to name this post something equating the Prius to an ice skate. What I didn't mention was that I felt the ice skate gave the Prius too much credit. At least with an ice skate there's some control! If I'm not stuck (twice so far which resulted in Tim having to put a blanket on my car and back into me on purpose to get me out of the driveway the second time). I have basically slipped and slid my way too and from work the last few days. It's a good thing that there was no one in the lanes on both sides of me on Jordan Creek this morning as I turned off Bridgewood because I used all three of them and still almost ended up facing south in the northbound lanes!

So that's where we are so far this winter- technically a whole 8 days in- I hope we grow our snow legs soon!! Check back regularly to see if I win the 'Mary Needs a New Car' battle!


  1. Mary, I would have to agree with your assessment of the Iowa road cleaning process. Mark and I drove through Des Moines on Friday, December 21 on our way to Omaha. What is usually an 8 hour drive turned into a 12 hour crawl. We delayed the start of our trip until Friday to allow the plows to do their job, but alas, the roads all the way across Iowa were a mess. I am not talking about just a 10-15 mile stretch here and there, I am talking about the entire stretch of I-80 from the Mississippi to the Missouri. And no place were the the roads worse than in Des Moines. We did see plenty of plows, but funny thing, not a single one had their blades lowered to actually clear the snow/ice mixture off of the roads. After reading your story I am thinking maybe the back tires weren't touching the ground either, why else would they be out but not actually working. When we reached the eastern part of Des Moines I thought we would surly see some improvement, but nope, it was a free for all across all of the lanes. What a cluster. We saw 100s of cars and semis that had spun out on the side of the road, in the median and in the middle of the road. Some were occuring as we drove which made for even slower going on I-80. Driving back to Chicago on Wednesday was a piece of cake, sun was out and we made it home in the normal 8 hours. I only have one suggestion for Iowa, SALT. No where did we see any signs of salt being used. Mary, you know that the only way our Chicago roads become clear so quickly is because of the massive amounts of SALT that is used. I would highly suggest that you inform the Iowa DOT about the successful use of SALT in other states. You might also mention that it helps to put the blades down on those large plows that they bought, they work wonders when they come into contact with pavement. Happy New Year.

  2. Janie- I wish we could. Iowa doesn't use salt due to the crops :( But I'm glad you are in agreement with me. Sorry your trip took so long. Wish I had known and you could have stopped by and broken up your trip!