“How can anyone who is wrong 75% of the time still have a job?” That's the joke going around about Colorado weather forecasters. Coloradans, at least the well-seasoned ones, know that you need to be ready for rapid, unusual changes in weather.
I'm not talking about the mostly predictable summer afternoon thunderstorm, or the to be expected snow at very high altitudes. I'm talking about a normal day when you think you've got it covered because you're just running for take-out and you'll be fine.
My boys learned the hard way that maybe mom's “crazy” Colorado Winter Emergency Kit in the back of her station wagon isn't so crazy after all.
I do understand a bit about how it might not seem legit. It's not organized. I did leave it there all summer out of laziness. But it does contain:
extra winter coats
extra gloves, scarves, hats
unopened water bottles
boots (though with the way the boys feet grew, I need to replace those)
small tool kit
car phone charger
puke container (from a hospital, totally legit)
a pee bucket.
Why the pee bucket? I mean, if you're stranded, go pee in the woods, or between the open doors to your car. You don't need a pee bucket. Yes, you do, and I speak from experience.
I got stuck in a snowstorm on I-25 (THE main highway in CO, it runs N-S through the whole state and beyond) in 1992. This was before I had a cell phone. The how and why isn't part of this story (but may be another blog post, cuz well, the Indians took care of me and all, that's pretty postable). I kept thinking, “Surely they know we're all stuck here and will send plows and tow-trucks and fix this awful mess.” Nope. The hours went by. I really, really had to pee. It was dark, and at that point, I didn't really care who saw me.
Had I left my car though, I would immediately have become soaked and I didn't have a coat (because I never wear one, I'm too hot). So then I'd get back into my car and have to somehow dry off. Or shiver all night. I did NOT have an emergency kit at that time. But you can see how most of the items in my list come from what happened that night and what I wished I'd had.
Which brings me back to the beginning. My boys set out to get take-out, and as they're going out the door, I say, “OYT, don't you want to change out of your shorts? And take a coat?”
“No, I'll be fine. I'm just riding in the car. It's not like I need your stupid emergency kit.” Famous last words.
The Engineer and I are starting to get worried because the boys are so late. And won't answer their phones. About an hour later, they stagger in the door. Human popsicles. No winter coats, OYT in his shorts. It's about 20 out.
Come to find out, The Transporter's throttle control sensor had finally called it quits, and they'd walked about ¾ of a mile home.
“Mom, I kinda wish we'd had your stuff with us.”