This was definitely one of those situations where timing was everything. It’s just that the stars didn’t line up in our favour.
Given the number of homeowners everywhere who actively took to home renovation projects during the pandemic, the competition for building materials was fierce. When the supply chain couldn’t keep up with overall demand, the scheduled delivery dates for our building materials were extended, which staggered the completion of the project. This factor, in itself, did not cause us too much concern. We just chalked it up to our current reality.
But it was the coincidental timing of the completion of the garage with the emergence of spring that became problematic.
The rapidly melting snow (as one typically experiences in March around here) turned the freshly displaced soil and clay around the former construction site into a mud puddle.
We’re not talking a little mud in a few spots, we’re talking an unavoidably massive mud puddle consisting of the gooey, sticky stuff you see in movies that creates that suction effect when you step into it. And if you’re footwear isn’t securely fastened to your foot, it will stay securely fastened to the mud itself.
In theory, this shouldn’t be a big deal given that we are still working from home and only going out for the essentials. But on that first venture out for grocery night, it was an adventure in itself, navigating in and around the mud puddle.
The first challenge was just getting to the garage to get the car. I hadn’t realized just how soft the mud was until I tried walking through it. There’s nothing like sinking a couple of inches with every step to give those leg muscles a good workout.
It didn’t matter if I went left or right, a little like doing the “Time Warp” in my own front yard, my foot would sink in the mud every time. With no way to avoid it, I concluded that the only way was right through it as I grimaced at the grossness of every step.
Once I got in the garage, with my boots fully coated in mud, I succeeded in tracking the mess into the garage and then the car. (Mental note: add to the to-do list “check out local car detailing establishments”)
Then came the tricky part of backing the car out of the garage. No sooner than the two rear tires hit the ground with a visible splash in my rear view mirror that an “oh-oh” sensation come over me as I had visions of my car staying in that exact spot for the next few months. Fortunately the car kept moving.
As I continued backing up and my two front tires hit the ground, the descent into soft mud felt like a deeper drop than I thought. I reminded myself that my auto club card was indeed close at hand, just in case. I kept backing up and grimacing. A quick turn of the steering wheel and I was finally on my way.
Only then did I realize that I had held my breath through the whole backing up process as I finally exhaled.
I succeeded in making it down the slightly less muddy driveway and headed to the main highway.
At the grocery store, a sense of embarrassment came over me as I could swear that I left a trail of mud throughout the freshly mopped store. Meanwhile a pit was forming in my stomach at the prospect of going through the routine all over again to get the groceries out of the car, into the house and the car back into the garage.
When I got home, I decided to leave the car as close to the house as possible to bring the groceries in, trying to balance myself on the remaining snowbanks with shopping bags in each hand, trying to avoid falling into mud at all costs. Is this how Olympic gymnasts get their start?
When I finally got the groceries safely in the house, the next question was whether I could get the car back into the garage. From a distance, I could see the mess I had made on my way out, with footprints and tire tracks still embedded in the mud. But I gave it a try with the same tenacity of Wile E. Coyote trying to capture the Road Runner.
What I could not believe was that driving up the little hill into the garage was simply not going to happen.
I soon found out that getting the car in the garage would take nothing short of a miracle. Where was Moses when you needed him, to part the red mud puddle?
I tried approaching from different angles, but given the sloppy texture of the mud, I just couldn’t get enough traction to make it up the little hill. And even if I did, would I be able to get the car up onto the concrete pad without damaging or losing car parts along the way.
After three unsuccessful attempts, I decided that leaving the car in the driveway was the only solution.
Once I had settled into my La-Z-Boy with a glass of Baco Noir (I don’t usually drink after doing groceries, but this was a worthy exception) I checked the weather forecast and noticed that temperatures were to drop below freezing again in the coming days. This might be my window of opportunity to get the car back into the garage. It worked. The ground was sufficiently frozen to get the car safely into its shelter.
But as grocery night approached during the following week and temperatures started climbing again, I had to time it carefully to rescue the car from the garage early one frosty morning and leave it in the driveway again, strategically located and positioned to minimize my exposure to the growing mud puddle.
Then came the new choreography of wearing “mud boots” to the car, then taking them off at my destination, switching into street shoes, and once back in the car to return home, switch back to the mud boots.
The bright side is that we know that this is a temporary situation. We assume that once the snow has melted, this should no longer be an issue.
Plus, given our sneak preview of the mud situation through last fall’s rains, it was already on our to-do list to get the driveway fixed up, but the massive mud puddle just moved it up the list a little faster than expected.
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