Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow. You are on my list.

Saturday I made the 100 mile trek to the baby shower of a dear friend.  A blizzard was forecast for that day.  Originally it was to hit in the morning, so I had this theory that as I was driving toward the bad part of the storm, I would just turn around if it got too treacherous.  Well.  The storm pushed off to later in the day, and driving conditions were perfect.  On the way there.  When I left, it had begun to snow, and there was about an inch, maybe two on the ground.  Ok, I thought.  I hate this, but I'm from the midwest.  I should be able to take my time and get home no problem.


As I drove, the weather got more and more ridiculous.  I braked with more than enough distance in my totally not hardcore Toyota Corolla to make a turn on a (blessedly) deserted (by other cars and anything resembling a snow plow) country road, and completely spun out.  A little shaken, I turned s-l-o-w-l-y around, and inched my way white-knuckled another bunch of miles of country road thinking, well they'll certainly have plowed the interstate.  Salted even?  Sand?  Addressed it in any way, shape or form?

Wrong.  Seriously, middle of the state.  The weather guys were predicting this for, oh, a week?  I saw not a SINGLE truck paying any attention to the slice of hell that was the freeway.  Many people were taking it at a reasonable (snail's) pace, but other cars.....and semis.....were pretending it was some sort of drag race.  Everyone was far too close to me, lanes did not actually exist.  There were 1.5 sets of tire tracks, which I was dutifully following, but every time someone tried to pass the long line of cars in front of me, that meant we were sharing a tire track, resulting in me crying and holding my breath and fighting to keep my car on the road until the threat passed.  Amazingly I approached the one person going even slower than me about half a mile ahead, so I eased ever so slightly on my brakes to let the guy who was much too close to my already smashed rear bumper (thank you lady for hitting me a week ago while I was completely stopped on a perfectly dry freeway) know that we would be slowing down.  I watched in my rear view mirror as he took this to mean we're stopping NOW and he slammed on his brakes, veered left, veered right, and disappeared into a very steep ditch.

At this point, I'm in full on panic attack.  I've never actually had one, but I couldn't breathe, I was shaking, had tightness in my chest, sweaty palms, doing the ugly cry, and having visions of myself joining that guy in a ditch and dying there with visions of my home that I would never again reach in my head as I lay there getting buried in a never-ending snow.  Um, I decided that at the next sign of life, I was pulling off that godforsaken highway and getting a hotel.  I managed to get into a gas station with tears streaming down my face and called my husband with the probably not overreaction of my plan to get the hell off the road.  Blessedly, the only hotel for many miles was just on the other side of the freeway.  I got somewhat stuck but managed to get up the hill and out of the gas station, nearly got hit twice while driving 3 blocks, and checked into the crappiest hotel I've stayed at in many years.

Where I stayed for two nights.  The blizzard conditions stuck around for another full day, so my options were to stay Sunday, or get on the road right when it got dark.  I stayed.  Ate really bad food and watched a lot of Teen Mom and Holmes on Homes, and both Father of the Bride movies.

Monday morning I chipped my car out of a block of solid ice and snow, where I was permanently stuck.  Luckily, there was a police car at the gas station next door, so I walked over and asked for a push.  Seriously hotel, maybe some salt or something for your patrons?  Anyway, the nice officer pushed for a few minutes while I drove in reverse, and I finally got on the road.  The solid sheet of ice covering the road anyway.....yep, still not clear.  Ugh.  As I got farther south at speeds nowhere near approaching the speed limit (luckily by this point everyone else was going just as slowly) the ice did finally give way to pavement in one lane, and another 20 miles or so south, both lanes.  I was still having mini-panic attacks and got off the highway as soon as I could, to take my car into the shop to get that first incident taken care of.

When I finally made it home....I completely collapsed and vowed to never leave again.  Except I DO still have a job, so I did go in today....but I stayed off the highway.

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