Blizzard protocol was broken on Wednesday morning when we got up to start our day - the weather looked pretty miserable (lots of blowing snow, crazy winds, low visibility) and yet there was no warning or watch on Environment Canada's site. Hrmmm...this did not bode well for us.
We both made it to our respective places of work, but by 11 the weather was pure white outside. This was actually turning into a worse storm than the previous one a couple days before because all the fresh snow that had fallen was now being whipped around and making it impossible to see past the hood of the car. My office closed down, as did the schools and daycare and I was home a little before noon. Jeff said he was going to try to find a ride and would attempt to be home shortly after me, so I waited at the neighbours' house (where they fed me poutine for lunch...YUM!).
After waiting a few hours, Jeff wrapped up things at work and got the go-ahead to shut down and come home. Unfortunately, he got about 100 feet away from the airport door and turned back because the visibility was too blinding. We had learned our lesson from the beginning of the week and he had packed extra clothes, food and even a bit of entertainment with him - so at least he was somewhere that was sheltered, heated, with running water and a working internet connection. He was comfortable at least, and we just had to wait out the storm.
Around 7:30 the blizzard had died down and we heard that the roads were actually starting to be cleared, so I rounded up the neighbours and we set off on Operation: Retrieve Husband - Bringing Jeff Home. The truck that was sitting in our drive (we actually had the F250 that evening rather than our usual Expedition...which turned into an unfortunate detail later on) was surrounded by drifts of snow and had to be dug out. We got it to a point where we could do a 6-point turn out of the drive and onto the road, and we set off on our long, slow, nerve-wracking drive. (Maybe it was only nerve-wracking to me, because my neighbours seemed stress-free in the front of the truck.)
We made it off our street, onto the next road and connected to the main road that would lead us out of town...so far so good. We actually started to breathe a bit easier.....and then we hit a drift that looked like it was part of the road, and came to a complete halt. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backwards...all the while, more snow is blowing/falling around us. The boys got out and tried to shovel around the wheels to help, and the truck still wouldn't budge (they think it didn't help that the truck bed was super light from having no weight in it and the car wasn't able to reverse very well). They shoveled for a good 10 minutes before there were lights behind us...and a plow was coming down the road.
You have to imagine that these aren't your normal plows you see in Ontario. These are monsters that have wheels the size of our truck, and the plow head itself takes up nearly the entire road. They're taller than some buildings, so it looks like a huge monster with bright lights through the dark night and the snow.
The plow took pity on us and started plowing around the truck, trying to help us get out. This man had obviously done this on many occasions because he got so close to the truck he was within centimeters of the mirror...and didn't touch our truck once. After the plowing didn't work, they found a chain and the plow had to pull us out. After that, we were once again on our way and headed out to the furthest part of town: the airport.
The road to the airport doesn't have any lights and we were scared of getting stuck in another drift because no one was going up nor down that road like we were. So we drove extremely carefully and managed to make it to the airport parking lot and rescued Jeff! A normally 7 minute drive took over an hour and a half, but we made it and brought him home. The ride back was fortunately much smoother and far less adventurous, and it was a relief to walk through the front door together.
It is a nice feeling knowing that not only are these co-workers that live on the same street, but we're all becoming friends who can rely on each other. I was touched when I called/came knocking in the middle of a storm, fairly late at night, looking for help...and no one hesitated or batted an eye. Jackets and boots were thrown on and no questions were asked. It (still) makes me tear up to think that we really lucked out to be surrounded by really good people. We may be homesick and missing our friends and family at home, but we're making new friends and family...and that's something that we're so thankful we came here for.