Wednesday, February 17, 2016

sNOw More!

On the heels of a bust of a lake effect snow storm last week, a new Winter Storm Warning popped up on my Weather Channel app the other day.  And this one came out of nowhere and was huge.  Totals were going to be over a foot, potentially.  While I wanted to believe this would be another bust, for some reason it seemed like it wasn't going to be that way this time.  And sure enough, it wasn't.  We already had a few inches of snow on the ground, probably four, and Monday night it started snowing a bit.  Apparently it didn't do much after that, but we probably had a new inch or two when I was up in the night.

When Carter woke up at 5:30, it was apparent it had snowed more.  We had at least a few fresh inches, and it was snowing again.  I guess it really got going a little after 6am, which meant the plows got a late start and it all led to a rough commute.  Okay, that's an understatement.  It was awful.  For example, by mid-afternoon the main route into and out of the city was closed in both directions for miles.  That never happens.

Regardless, we had a couple things to work out at home first that morning.  Carter still wasn't feeling great overnight, so we pretty much knew he wouldn't be going to daycare.  Craig had offered to stay home with him because I had a few things going on on Tuesday--my first blood donation, a department lunch, and an important meeting.  Craig went out to shovel after I showered, and it turned out that his office closed immediately that morning, so he was OK to be home anyway.  The other issue was Jacob.  He was giving us a LOT of pushback on going to the afterschool program's winter break program.  He was refusing to get dressed, and with the snow piling up outside and a long drive across town to drop him off (different location than his school), I was getting nervous.  Craig didn't want to send him at all because of the snow, but I was insisting we needed to force him unless we wanted to have the same pushback all week.  But the more I looked at the snow, the more I realized I wasn't sure how I was going to get him and his cast into the building.  I wasn't even sure how to unfold the wheelchair.  So...I caved...BUT I told him that he could not complain for the rest of the week if we let him stay home today and he agreed.  Of course he gave us trouble again this morning, but...

I headed out at 8:10.  I nearly got stuck when I pulled onto our street, which had not been plowed.  That's a rarity, by the way, so I should have known something was up.  I managed to get out of our neighborhood, and seconds after I got onto the next main road, it was completely backed up.  At first I thought it was a backup with someone pulling out or turning and getting stuck in the process, but eventually I realized it was backed up all the way to the main road, which is probably around a mile.  I sat in that traffic for a half hour or so, and then got onto the actual main road, which was equally backed up.  And that was even slower.  Unfortunately, there was nowhere to escape.  There were six inches of snow between lanes, so a U-turn was out of the question.  I had it in my head that I just needed to get past that road and the highway would be better.  But somewhere during that wait I decided I needed to turn around.  It just wasn't getting better and this was NOT worth it.  But when I finally got free of the traffic, anywhere I could have turned around was not plowed out and I definitely would have gotten stuck.  So I continued along, and eventually I hit some plowed roads on my way to the highway.  I saw a dozen stuck cars along the way, mostly those that stopped off for coffee and got stuck on the plow piles at the exit.

The highway wasn't too busy but it was moving.  There was way more snow than I was expecting there.  Usually even if there's snow there, there are defined lanes and you're fine as long as you don't change lanes.  But this time it was bad.  I carefully drove a couple exits up when my phone rang (and luckily my hands-free Bluetooth was set up after talking to Craig a few times during my wait) and it was my co-worker with the news that the office was closed.  I was probably 5-10 minutes from the office after more than an hour in the car, and now I had to turn around.  Sigh.

I got off at the next exit, drove by someone in a huge snowbank on the adjacent on-ramp, and prayed a lot as I hit yet another messy road.  I got back on the highway, and this time there were no lanes and no tracks...just snow piles and ruts.  It was awful.  I headed back north and decided to go up one extra exit to the busiest road in the county, just because I thought it had a better chance of being clear.  But when I approached the ramp, there was a cop on the shoulder.  At first I thought the ramp was closed, but he drove away so I exited...only to see a semi truck just sitting there.  It didn't have its hazards on, but it was just stopped.  There was no way to get around it.  I had no choice but to back up and get back on the highway to go another exit north.  At this point, all I could think was, "You've got to be kidding me!"  Thankfully there wasn't much traffic, but it was very stressful.  The next exit led to another major road, but that one was as messy as every other road.  I wondered where the plows were, because they weren't in our neighborhood and yet they weren't on the main roads either!

I white-knuckled it through a few horrible intersections and finally got back to our neighborhood.  And when I turned onto our road, three houses from home, that's when it happened.  I got stuck.  After my traction control bailed me out of dozens of crappy roads and awful intersections, I get stuck on my own street.  I tried going forward, then reverse, over and over.  I managed to get out of the intersection, at least, but could not get going.  I called Craig in a panic, and he had to leave the kids and walk down to me.  We shoveled me out, and after a while,  with a lot of pushing, I finally got moving.  And when I turned into the driveway, I got stuck again.  UGH.  Seriously?!  The problem was, if the plow came I wouldn't be able to get in the driveway anyway, so either way it would be impossible.  After more shoveling and pushing, I finally got in the garage.  Whew.

I shoveled for an hour to finish clearing out my whole side plus part of Craig's.  Eventually I was just too tired and came back in.  The plow finally came after 1pm.  Craig went back out before dinner, and after a while one of our neighbors came with their snowblower and finished up what he hadn't gotten to.  What a relief!  In the end we got over a foot of new snow.  The snow finally stopped in the evening, but not before giant plow piles showed up everywhere.  I guess winter just felt compelled to finally join us after a very mild couple months. 

This morning I came out to see that the sidewalk plow came through overnight and left lots of boulders in the middle of our driveway.  The gift that keeps on giving!  The roads were considerably better today, mostly perfect but with a few random slushy spots.  Such a difference in 24 hours!  The air was warmer today, too, which meant that as it went below freezing tonight, places like our daycare parking lot turned into a black ice rink.  I came home and shoveled out another round of plow junk and cleaned up the driveway a bit more.  Then I went back to shovel out our back door, which becomes impassable with heavy snow and frozen leaves.  At least I'm getting all of these bonus workouts!

My co-worker and I agreed that we were traumatized from the driving and shoveling.  I spent the day with a fatigued forearm from white-knuckle driving, shoveling, or both.  I was so tired today that not even caffeine worked!  Suffice it to say that spring can come anytime now!   

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