Believe it or not, I am actually getting tired of telling people how stupid I am. But I can’t stop.
We woke up early and looked out our hotel window in Watertown South Dakota. We immediately knew we had a problem. It was white outside. Very white. Everywhere white. We listened to the television weather/travel station and went on line. The message was clear. This was not a good day for driving. There was a small snow belt across South Dakota and we were right in the middle of it. We could have driven out of it in about an hour or two, but it was wicked outside. I-29, was extremely slippery, visibility was near zero, and it was bitterly cold. Travel was not recommended. We decided to heed that advice. The wind chill was about -50 degrees Fahrenheit. We hunkered down for an exciting day in the Days Inn in Watertown. We had a large breakfast. Of course, any breakfast was better than what was being served in the ditches off I-29. We had good books, a warm room, excellent liquor and we were not in the ditch. Life was good. So we thought.
Road conditions were horrible. Even big rigs pulled in to our hotel lot. It was extremely slippery (that we already knew) almost zero visibility and extremely cold. So I smartly, decided to go and see if the doors to our care could be opened. As I feared they were iced shut. What to do? The hotel had no de-icer. I did not know who the truck drivers were in our hotel. Surely they would carry some. The clerk at the hotel suggested Walmart, not far away. That seemed like good advice. So I trudged over thanking my Peltz Metz (fur cap for the non-Germans) wishing Chris had not persuaded me to leave my parka at home. Bad Advice. It was expected to get cold tonight but it was already incredibly cold.
When I got to Wal-Mart I checked the auto department and found only windshield wiper fluid. I picked it up, thinking if all else failed this might work. Then I found a helpful employee and he found the lock de-icer. When I told him about the doors also being frozen shut with thick ice he suggested a spray on windshield de-icer. That would do the trick he thought. At least he had some optimism. He said I should have applied it last night to prevent icing. Now he tells me. Warily, I trudged back to the hotel facing the wind and froze again.
After a short stop in the hotel room I went back to the cold to see if my implements would work. I diligently applied the windshield spray de-icer to the car and it seemed to work. I could see the ice melting! Then I heard my wife shouting “Hans, Hans.” What now, I thought. Why should she bug me I was obviously busy? Well…she had good reason I must sadly report. She had a vision, what else can we call it, that for some reason I would be de-icing the wrong car and that is exactly what I was doing. I was busily de-icing the wrong car in the middle of a blizzard! Sheepishly I moved over to our car. Chris had saved the day. Very happily, the de-icer worked on my car too! After all that I got the car doors open and the car started. I also got the cord to plug in the car on account of extreme temperatures expected tonight. I wonder how long I would have worked on the wrong car had Chris not seen me and came to my rescue? I don’t want to think about that. I wondered what the owner of the car I had de-iced thought. Did he think an angel had done it?
I returned to the hotel room stupid, incredibly stupid, but incredibly happy too. So I spent 24 hours in Watertown South Dakota deliriously happy, but realizing again, how stupid I am.