Creative Winter Problem Solving

Setting: On a Monday early in winter, not so long ago

On that day, I headed out the door to find my minivan coated with a thin layer of frozen winter wonderland.

I reached for the snow brush we keep in the minivan most of the year. It wasn’t there.
I started the defrosters and searched again behind the seats. No luck. So I attacked the windows with my gloved hands, hoping that perhaps I could borrow a brush or scraper from another teacher as the rest of the staff left.
No luck there, either. My friend the reading teacher set her car to defrost and came over to ask if she could borrow my — “Oh, I see you don’t have a snow brush or ice scraper either. Good thing we both wore gloves today!”
While the defrosters blew warm air at the windows, I dug under the seats one more time and found….an old plastic air freshener shaped like an orange.
The plastic was soft enough not to scratch, but strong enough to hold up under my assault on the elements. I used it to scrape enough frozen precipitation off the windshield that I could run the wipers and get the rest. My colleague took it next, and we were ready to hit the streets.

In our school building we are nothing if not compassionate professionals. We pulled in together the next day. I waved my new snow brush at her, picked up my coffee (both purchased at a convenience store on the way to school) and stepped out of the car. She said good morning and handed me — my air freshener.
I think I’ll put this little item back under the seat in my minivan. You never know when it might come in handy. At the least, it’ll be good for a laugh. Someday.

I teach in a different school now, but I still keep a snow brush and ice scraper in my current minivan. The odd orange air freshener didn’t survive the trade-in of the old one.

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