So tonight was probably the most "treacherous" night of driving in my life. You'd think it was because of the SEVEN inches of snow we received over the course of the day.
By the time I was on the roads, they were pretty much clear and dry. My troubles began when I started to lose air. But let's backtrack a few hours before that...
It started out just fine. At 3:00 I took Halle and her sweet little friend Lauren up to Layton to see the movie Enchanted , which I'd highly recommend for 5+. (That includes adults.)
It was a delightful movie and so fun to see with two six-year old girls! Afterwards, we hit Layton Hills Mall so I could pick up Christmas sweaters for the boys, then Toys 'R Us for no particular reason other than I'd promised my two young companions we'd go.
Hopping into my trusty Mom-Mobile, our Toyota Sienna--which I l-o-v-e--it was now 6:15 and we were heading South on I-15. I still don't know what I ran over. I never felt any sort of "bump". What I did notice was the sound of something hitting the windshield. I didn't see it, but I heard it. I thought to myself "Man, that had to have left a big chip in the windshield!". About a minute later the car felt different and I could hear a noise I've unfortunately heard before. Kind of a grinding sound. I knew then that I had a flat tire. I saw a sign indicating the next exit was Kaysville and it was one mile away. Knowing I couldn't make it that far, I pulled off the freeway as far as I could. I know I was pulled far enough to the right to be safe, but it was incredibly unnerving feeling traffic whiz by me at 70+ MPH, especially the big rigs. We have Toyota Roadside service, but I've used them in the past and they took an hour and half to get to me before. I wasn't willing to wait that long. So I called 9-1-1 and requested the assistance of Highway Patrol.
Fifteen minutes after I'd spoken to the emergency operator, I saw in my rearview mirror the godsent red and blue lights of a patrol car parking behind the van. I watched the young man in the neatly done necktie and brown polyester pants approach. From the get-go he was respectful, cheerful and reassuring. He had some trouble because of the angle on which the car was parked, so it took him a good half hour of kneeling in the snow loosening lug nuts and jacking up the van.
Before he sent me on my way, I asked him what his name was. It's pathetic because it was only three hours ago, but I'm already unsure if I've remembered his last name correctly. I believe it was McWilliams. Officer Sean McWilliams.
I wanted to blog about this because there has been so much speculation lately about a certain incident involving a UHP officer. I thought the services Officer McWilliams offered me and the girls tonight were nearly lifesaving. I don't know what I'd have done without his help. Waited anxiously next to freeway traffic, in the cold, for probably two hours for the Toyota Service, I guess. I know that the local newscasts have talked about how busy UHP was today with weather-related incidents. I'm grateful they made time for a young mother with a flat tire nervously parked on the side of the road! So a big shout out of Thanks to Officer McWilliams!
Now I'm happily heading down the road as slow as I feel I can safely go with traffic urging me onward. Before our tire "let us down" I was supposed to pick up pizza for dinner. Since that changed the plan somewhat, I decided I would go through a drive-through as close to the freeway as possible to eliminate any unnecessary driving on the spare. As I exited I-15 at 2600 South, a taxi cab turned, trying to ENTER the freeway on an OFF-ramp!
I blasted my horn at the yellow car, which slammed on its breaks and did what seemed a twenty-point turn around after realizing its mistake. I have to admit that after the whole tire-incident, it felt good to have an excuse to take out my aggression by making a little noise with the horn!
"Geez," I start to think. "What next???"
I visit Wendy's, collecting $7 worth of a nutritious dinner for the fam, and begin to head home.
As I pass through an intersection, a car too small for the mattress strapped onto its top decides it does not want to turn left after all, but instead go straight. What does he do? Speed up and cut me off by irresponsibly merging into my lane just before the upcoming median cuts him off! JERK! Again, thank you, Mr. Courteous, for another opportunity to "toot my own horn"!
Needless to say, I drove the rest of the way home highly on-guard, keeping a close eye out for any other road hazards sent my way. I was beginning to feel like I was in some sort of video game, required to dodge obstacles with lightning reflexes.
The girls, of course, were not disturbed by any of this. By the time we got home, all they could talk about was Giselle (the princess from the movie) and how bored they were waiting for the tire to be changed.
Be careful when you're on the road--it's a crazy world out there!
(My parents will hate reading this as they already despise the freeway!)