Today was unnecessarily epic. And it's all my fault.
I just happened to mention yesterday that we appeared to be living in the only place in the country not to be experiencing snow. Two minutes later, large, fat, soggy flakes started falling outside the window. Not enough to toboggan in, not enough for snowballs or snowmen or anything fun. Just enough to partially melt then freeze into a lethal glassy coating over everything.
Walking down the ramp to the green bin was the first indication there might be a problem. I stepped out of the door and onto the ice, and watched the ramp get gradually closer and closer as my legs slowly (but sadly not gracefully) slid into the closest approximation of the splits I've done for years. Stopping a mere three inches from the ground, I crawled back up and searched for something to help with the grip. Having used most of our salt to deal with the slugs earlier this summer, the only substance in the house which looked anything like promising was the cat litter. Don't try this at home. The granular cat litter acted, not as grit, but as ballbearings, effectively greasing the ice to add an entirely new level of lethality. Consoling myself with the thought that if the neighbourhood cats decided to use the ramp as their own personal litter tray, at least that might dissolve the ice, I stepped off the ramp and landed with a bump on the driveway.
Safely back into the house, coffee, and a plan of action. The ramp ice softened by the remainder of our extremely nice rock salt (note to self: more salt on the shopping list), the girls and I skated our way around the corner of the house and took the long way around to where our van was parked. We loaded up, clamped up, warmed up, de-iced, and I threw the van into reverse. Where it swam around for a few hairy minutes, skittering dangerously close to the three foot drop to the footpath on one side, before getting rather too friendly with the car parked on the other side. I switched the engine off, and exited, looking around for inspiration.
The builder working on the flat opposite decided I was clearly a little woman in need of rescue, and offered to do the deed himself. I handed over the keys, and threw myself against the garage as he too took the van for a swimming lesson. He then stepped out of the van looking about as grey as his uniform tshirt, and passed the keys back to me,
New plan; forget everything we needed to do in town, swap Mog's chair for her buggy, nip back inside for Little Fish's charger (powerchair running dangeously low), and walk over to our friends' house. Realise one of the jobs we needed to do in town was collect the girls' incontinence supplies, not something we could afford to do without and definitely not something we could carry home ourselves (or fit into a taxi). Arrive, glowing, at our friends' house and throw ourselves on other friends' mercy to collect the pads.
Complicated arrangements for dropping various children off at respite, leaving a minimum of two adults with a maximum of eight children, and ensuring at least one of those two was able to suction where necessary. Not bad though really; it can't be very many places you can go where children who are cathed outnumber those who are not. We ate too much of friends' food, leaving them thankful they were off to other family members for Christmas Dinner and not reliant on the scraps we left them. And I'm sure the next couple of days will help them work up an appetite.
We did, briefly, manage to sit down as four friends (plus extras) and catch up on the past few weeks. Nice. Briefly abandoning all children, I hitched a lift to the surgery to collect the pads. Weaving my way through the in-the-process-of-being-redecorated health room I managed to leave our mark on the beautiful cream wall. It's a good job the paint was still in the room (and you'll be relieved to know I resisted the urge to retouch it myself). Home and back up the deathtrap ramp to fight with the front door. And to witness Grolly shoot out of it, skitter down the ramp and disappear into a neighbour's garden.
Bribing the other cats with succulent Felix tender chunks, I left my friend to finish emptying her van of our pads, and went in search of the feline fiend. Who deigned to turn up as soon as she realised the other two were eating and she was not.
A sunny afternoon, and a thankfully empty (apart from our van) carpark, so I tried to escape once again and this time was successful. Just time for coffee with friends before loading tired girls into the van and home via the second most urgent of our in-town jobs.
Tomorrow we get to brave the supermarket, the day before Christmas Eve. If you don't hear from me again, please know that I've loved knowing you.