Limited Winter Parking Ordinance #11-3-45:
“It shall be unlawful for any person or owner of any vehicle to park a motor vehicle, travel trailer, horse trailer, utility trailer or other like vehicle on any street in this municipality between the 1st day of November of each year and the first day of April of the following year, for a period of time longer than three minutes when loading or unloading passengers and for a period of time longer than thirty minutes when loading, unloading or delivering property between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on the streets of ___________City. Violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by citation or impounding and removal of the vehicle.”
I know this is the law.
Tell it to my two offspring who moved home within the last month when one of the said children is only home between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. and the other said child is burrowed somewhere between the stacks of computer equipment and empty PowerAde bottles.
And they both park their cars on the street.
And their keys are buried in: A) a pile of PowerAde bottle rubble; or B) inside a large satchel that could hold the entire contents of my pantry after a trip to Costco.
And I’ve threatened them if they block me in the garage ONE more time.
This is the difficult situation I found myself in last Monday after a large snowstorm had dumped around 8 inches of snow on and around my house and the cars parked in front of it (not to be confused with the Blizzard of 2010 which blew approximately 1.79 centimeters of snow onto my driveway).
Officer Friendly’s not-so-amiable step-sister, Officer Standoffish, stopped by my house that afternoon. She asked, “Do you know who owns that car out there?” She pointed to a really big snow drift in front of my house—on the street—that turned out to be a Hyundai Accent.
I wondered how she could tell it was a car. Maybe her Taser was also a metal detector. I thought it was best not to find out.
I recollected out loud that my daughter-in-law owns a Hyundai Accent. She’s been in the Air Force since June. The military reference had no noticeable impact on Officer Standoffish. I thought her hand twitched towards her baton. She said, “It’s illegal to have a car parked overnight on the street between November 1st and April 1st. The mayor wants us to remind everyone that the snow plows have a hard time plowing when cars are parked on the street.”
Come again? I looked at the 8 inches of snow in my cul-de-sac. This is the very cul-de-sac that has never seen the likes of a snowplow. I had wondered if we were even on the city map.
I said. “Maybe you could remind the mayor that it would be nice to have our cul-de-sac plowed.”
Officer Standoffish became Officer Iceberg. “I’m not getting in the middle of that one.”
I gulped as I realized I’d opened my mouth and my brains had leaked out. I quickly apologized, “Sorry. I was kidding. I know snow removal isn’t your job. I’ll move the car.”
Officer Iceberg drove away in her four-wheel drive vehicle. I thought about moving the car—but man, that was a LOT of snow to clear away and there was probably ice under the snow. I went inside where it was warm.
A couple of hours later, I heard a vehicle pull into our cul-de-sac. I looked out my office window. IT WAS A SNOWPLOW! In our cul-de-sac!
“Crap!” I thought, “I should’ve moved the car!”
It was too late—the plow was gone.
Five minutes later, I heard another engine—THE SNOWPLOW CAME BACK FOR A SECOND PASS THROUGH THE CUL-DE-SAC!
I ran through the house like a madwoman trying to find the keys. Out the door, in my slippers, without a coat, leaping snow-covered hedges (okay, it was a snow-covered crack in the sidewalk), clawing my way through the layers of snow and ice to find the key hole so I could unlock the car.
I moved it into the driveway and waited. The snowplow never came back.
I shook the snow out of my slippers, wrung out my sopping wet shirt sleeve, and trudged back upstairs to work.
I went to run an errand later and as I backed my own car out of the garage, I realized I’d blocked myself in.
I’ve written myself a new ordinance to abide by:
“It shall be unwise to procrastinate, for a period of time longer than three minutes when telling an officer of the law that you will move a vehicle off a snow-covered street in front of your house It is also ill-advised to make a wisecrack to any officer of the law because you are mad at the mayor, because both the police and mayor know where you live and can create extreme paranoia within your small little mind. It is also prohibited to leave your locks unchanged when your adult children move away because they will come back and let themselves into your home and take up residence again. It is hereby advisable that you not only change the locks, but move as well, so the local police force, mayor, or adult offspring cannot track you down. Violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by having to live with the consequences of your actions and getting your perfectly good slippers wet. And then you will also run out of Diet Coke and find yourself blocked in your own garage by the original offending vehicle.”