OUR ICE STORM HIT AS PREDICTED shortly before midnight on Thanksgiving. The arctic blast was heralded by an unusual display of lightning and thunder, as wind howled and ice fell from the sky.
Fully dressed, I fell into an uneasy sleep, knowing my alarm would wake me in less than two hours. I had promised to ride along with my stepdaughter to her retail job for Black Friday. She was scheduled to start work at 3 a.m. to prepare for the store’s early opening at 4. The plan was for me to stand outside the Base Exchange, waiting for the store to open, so I could buy an insanely low-priced laptop for her hard-working cousin, who desperately needs and very much deserves a new computer.
But when my alarm went off at 1:20 in the morning, I did not want to get up. Surely the unexpected ice storm was a reasonable excuse for backing out of my promise, I thought. Although it’s important to keep one’s word, sometimes things happen beyond a person’s control. Things like extreme weather.
After all, I reasoned, I’m a great grandmother now, even if I don’t feel so very old. Surely no one expects me to keep this promise, if it means standing outside in freezing rain for hours before sunrise. Besides, with all the people who have probably been waiting outside the store since yesterday morning, it’s unlikely that any of the $149 laptops will be left by the time I can get inside the door…
Satisfied with my reasoning, I turned off the alarm, shut my eyes and promptly fell back to sleep. Until a few minutes later, that is, when my stepdaughter, who is staying in a trailer in our back yard, called her dad, all apologetic for having to wake him. The back yard gate was frozen shut, she said, and she could not get out of the yard. Could she come through the house to get to the car?
As my husband got up to let her in the back door, I forced myself awake and threw on my coat and boots. Then, stepping oh-so-gingerly, I walked out the front door and into a dark, foggy, frozen world.
A thick coating of ice was everywhere, on everything. The car doors were frozen shut. In fact, the car was completely encased in a thick, solid sheet of ice. My stepdaughter was trying not to cry.
Together the two of us scraped and cleared the windows and headlights, after my husband got the doors unlocked and opened. “Don’t cry!” he told his daughter. “Your eyes will freeze shut!”
My funny hubby went back inside the safe warm house (he only went back inside at our insistence, because his balance isn’t good, which makes walking on ice all the more dangerous). Then my stepdaughter and I s..l..o..w..l..y drove the twenty miles to her job. I did a lot of praying on the way!
When we finally got to the Exchange store — a half hour later than she was supposed to clock in — my heart sank when I saw the line of people waiting. Although I was relieved to learn that we were allowed to wait in an indoor hallway, I was sure the bargain laptops would be sold out before I could get near them.
Oh well, I thought, at least I can say I tried. I kept my word, despite the weather….
But, Guess What………. I GOT THE VERY LAST TICKET FOR THE $149 HP LAPTOP COMPUTER!!! WOO HOO!!!!!
After the sun was up and the roads had been salted, my husband drove our truck into town to get me, since his daughter wasn’t getting off work for eight hours. Although I kept reminding my hubby that I did not want him walking on the ice, he got out of the truck to help me across the slippery parking lot with my precious package.
Which was sweet and very thoughtful of him, except for one thing: when he hit the door lock button, he thought he was unlocking my passenger side door — but instead, he hit the button that locked all of the doors. Then he closed his driver’s side door before coming around to help me into the truck — only to discover that all of the truck’s doors were now locked, with the truck running and our only key in the ignition!
We have been married going on twelve years and this was the first time I’ve ever heard my big, tough, US Marine biker man CURSE! (Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about me…)
Thank goodness, we have the Geico insurance roadside assistance plan. (It is the best $8 you can spend!) A locksmith was there within the hour. He was a very cheerful fellow, too, despite the icy roads. I told my husband the locksmith had probably been praying for some extra Christmas money and we were his answered prayer. That made my disgruntled hubby laugh. 😀
So, we each did a good deed for someone for Black Friday. Can we please go back to sleep now?!
….I am so tired, I almost forgot to mention the four whitetail deer that darted across the icy highway in front of us on our way back home. I also forgot to explain the assault rifles in my title. There were several military police officers stationed in front of the store, and three servicemen dressed in battle fatigues, armed with assault rifles, patrolling inside the store.
I had never before gotten up in the middle of the night to stand in line for a Black Friday sale, but I’ve heard that these events can sometimes grow violent as people fight over the bargains. Even so, having men armed with assault rifles patrolling a store full of Holiday shoppers is a little excessive, in my opinion. Even if the store is located on a military base.
Aside from the ice, my Black Friday shopping experience was pleasant. I did not witness any rudeness or assaults, unless you count the Christmas carols coming over the PA system. Sometimes those old songs yank me back to a time in my memory where I really don’t want to be.
Holidays can be hard for those of us with PTSD.
I don’t want to be a Scrooge, though, so…. Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas!
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