It's about time the snow arrived. The weather gurus have been hyping up this storm for the past week-and-a-half. Greg sat glued every night during the weather forecast as predictions of the Portland-paralyzing "Deep Freeze" put a chill on whatever plans we had that particular evening. We cancelled the church Christmas party I was having at my house. We cancelled our small group get-togther because of severe weather warnings.
And we got a flake or two, a patch of ice here and there, but nothing a tough northwesterner couldn't handle. But still, the TV weatherfolk urged us to stock up, hunker down and prepare for the Queen Mother of all storms to strike. But just as I vowed not to make anymore emergency runs to the Safeway of the Apocalypse (as my friend Dave dubbed it), the snow began to fall.
That was last night, and it hasn't stopped falling. The east wind picked up this afternoon, whipping the snow across Portland in a blizzardy fashion. The storm didn't slow us down much today--this morning, we drove our CRV (4 wheel drive with studded snow tires) to Sandy to finish bottling my blackberry wine (it was a very good year). Then we braved the crowds and crazy weather to do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping in Portland this afternoon. Visibility was sketchy as we drove home in the dimming light--you could barely see the road beneath or cars in front of you because of the blowing white stuff.
I was very relieved to arrive home safe and sound--but then we got a call from Krispin saying that the mall where Danielle worked (in downtown Portland) refused to close before 10 and any shops that closed and let employees leave early would be fined! So of course Danielle's store told her she had to stay until 10.
Our white-knucked drive home occurred about 5 p.m. and I couldn't imagine what conditions would be like at 10. Krispin had heard rumors that the buses weren't even running, which meant he would have to drive downtown in the blizzard to get Yellie. His car, our old Camry, had snow tires, but the windshield wipers were broken, which made it virtually impossible to see in this weather.
"They can't do that!" I ranted into the phone. "Krispin, we should call the mall and tell them that's not acceptable! They can't put greed above the employess safety."
"You're right, we should call and complain," agreed my son-in-law wisely.
So after I hung up with Krispin, I did just that.
I called the mall office and asked for the manager.
"I hear you have a policy that any store that shuts down before the mall closes will be fined," I inquired calmly.
'That's true," the manager replied.
"Well, I just drove home from Portland," I informed him, "and the conditions were barely drivable an hour ago. The weather is only expected to worsen--how can you expect employees to get home safely five hours from now?
He mumbled something about mall policy, not realizing he was speaking to a mother grizzly who'd been separated from one of her cubs.
"Mister, if my daughter comes to any harm because of your mall policy," I informed him, "you will hear from my lawyer, pronto!"
I kid you not, in the blink of an eye, that store policy changed. The guy quickly assured me that the policy had been lifted and all employees were free to leave. I thanked him and hung up, only to find Greg grinning at me.
"Can you believe I said that?" I asked, kind of in shock at the word that had tumbled out of my mouth. "Like I even know a lawyer!"
"Yeah, hell hath no fury like a mother scorned," he agreed, mixing his metaphors, but making a good point.
So Danielle was home safe and sound and hour later and Pioneer Square Mall was spared a violent visit from the real Queen Mother of all Storms.
(and we all lived happily ever after until we woke up the next morning and found the six inches of snow covered with a thick layer of ice . . . get out the snowshoes, honey!)