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This is a repost from 3 years ago… it’s the anniversary of when I got stuck in the snow. A horrible thing I never want to repeat.

Bad-Roads

Let me start this post by saying I like snow. I enjoy the prospect of a storm blowing in, and me all safe and snug at home, with enough bread, milk and wine. I even like to shovel, and am usually out clearing our driveway before the flakes have stopped wafting to the ground.

Wednesday I had to endure one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. Bad timing coupled with bad weather had me at the mercy of mother nature and perhaps even fate – it was 3+ hours of sheer torture.

I knew a bad storm was coming in, but it wasn’t supposed to start until the evening – 5 or 6 pm. I get out of work at 6, but there was no way I was staying that late with the forecast they were predicting. Usually you can waive a dismissive hand at our weather folk, but this was different. Even the weather channel was on board with the predictions, so I worked through lunch and left at 5.

By then the snow had just started in town. Hubby had called and said snow at home had started a half an hour earlier. I wasn’t worried…it’s only a 25 minute commute and I was confident that I could get home with no trouble. After all, the snow had just started!

There was some traffic getting out of town, which was to be expected, and before long I was on the long and winding way home. When I was around 3 miles from pulling into my driveway traffic came to a dead halt. I was right at the base of a long and fairly steep hill that I have to travel up in order to make it home. I turned on the radio and discovered that there was an accident about a mile up the road and both lanes were closed.

Now I had to make a decision…stay here and wait or turn around and find another way home. At this point reader, you need to understand something – there are only 2 or 3 ways to get to my development, buried deep in the sticks of central Virginia. Making the decision to turn around meant traveling 5-8 miles just to get to the closest cross road that I could turn onto.

But, I figured that if I waited where I was, the snow (which was getting heavier and sticking) might make getting my car up that steep hill impossible. Besides, I had no water and I knew I’d have to pee within the next hour or so. That being said, I turned my car around and made the slow drive back, all the while figuring which way I should take.

The first route I took was a huge waste of time. I didn’t get more than 1/4 mile down the road before I was told the road up ahead was closed and we all had to turn around. When I got back to the crossroads I skidded on the snow and almost crashed into another car. My heart was pounding,  my knees were shaking, and I just wanted to go home.

The next road I took taxed me to my very core. On a sunny day this road is a pain in the ass…windy as hell…the girls always get carsick on it unless I travel at 20 mph or so. But, this road is the quickest way to get to where I needed to go, so I took it.

I was only driving at around 6 mph down steep hills and twisty turns. At one point I had to drive up a fairly steep S-curve. Letting the car just roll, and barely giving it any gas, I fish-tailed my way up that hill very slowly the whole while chanting “help me God, help me God, help me God.” When I made it to the top without landing in a ditch or hitting another car, I breathed an audible sigh of relief. It was mostly down hill from here.

As I was heading down the next hill at a record speed of 4 mph, a car in the opposite direction came zipping up the road, went to make the turn and ran straight into a rather deep ditch. Although I’m sure the driver turned their wheels, the car just didn’t respond on the slick roads and just rolled right off the road. The car was now at a 30 degree angle, half of it on the road, half of it in the ditch. I thought to myself,  that person is totally fucked – and that could be me very easily if I’m not super careful.

As if just driving wasn’t tense enough, my windshield wipers decided to start icing up at this point. I had the defroster blasted so hot and hard that I was sweating bullets all bundled up in my coat, but it was no match for the weather outside. Rather than wiping the snow off my windshield, my wipers were just smearing the snow and ice – I had about a 2 inch field of semi-clear vision.

Finally I made it to the next crossroad, which thankfully had a gas station. I got out to go inside and my legs were actually wobbly. The past hour and half of driving in the snow in beyond shitty conditions had exhausted me. I went to the bathroom, bought a couple of waters, called hubby and got back in the car to make my 3rd attempt at getting home.

I began to get hopeful…If I took it slow, driving wasn’t really that bad along roads that were fairly straight. I made the turn that takes me to my development and about a mile down the road, more tail lights. Hells bells, not again. One call to hubby confirmed it. There was an accident at least 7 miles up the road – all these people were just sitting there – along 7 miles of road just waiting for it to be cleared. So, once again, I turned around.

My only option at this point was to get on the highway and head East. This would take me past my house, but bring me to a pretty major intersection where there was a hotel, a Walmart and a few fast food joints. The highway was pretty good if you went slow. I don’t think I broke the 25 mph mark, but folks in 4 wheel drive vehicles were zipping past me. I also saw at least 4 cars off the shoulder with their 4 ways blinking. Again, I thought to myself, slow and steady and super careful. I was determined not to be a VDOT statistic.

25 minutes later I made it to Zion Crossroads and  headed straight for the Best Western. In the lobby I called hubby and asked if I should just get a room. It’s stupid because I was only 15 minutes from home now (in good traveling weather) but it would probably take me at least another hour of driving to get  home and I just didn’t think I had the strength. I had left my office two and a half hours before, and had been driving in blinding snow ever since. I was done.

As luck would have it, she had one room left and I took it. But before I went up, I got back in my car and drove across the road to the Walmart where I picked up some food, a toothbrush and a night gown. By the time I got back and in my room (thanks to a ridiculously slow cashier) it was 8:30. I called my family who were relieved that I was safe for the night, but bummed that I was not home.

They weren’t the only ones. But before I went to bed that night, I took a moment to thank God for getting me somewhere safe and warm for the night. I could have easily been in my car in a ditch, spending the night rationing my water and peeing in a snow drift. I decided I was one lucky gal.

The next morning I awoke with a sense of dread. One look out the window made me realize my morning drive home wasn’t going to be fun. About a foot of snow had fallen, but on the bright side the roads I was taking home were primary roads, and had most likely been plowed. After breakfast I dug out the foot high snow drift from around my car, cleared off the ice with the side of a ball point pen, and began my drive home.

The road from the hotel to the main road was horrible, and filled me with a sense of dread. But once I reached the main road I saw blacktop and my spirits lifted. This might not be so bad.

And it wasn’t. It was slow going, that’s for sure, but the roads were drivable if you were careful. The one part of my drive I was dreading the most was getting into the gate of my development. The one closest to my house is up a pretty steep hill. There were abandoned cars piled up at the base of the gate – they obviously couldn’t get up the hill and opted to leave their cars and walk home.

I made it up the hill fine, but got stuck at the top in a huge pile of slushy snow that the plow failed to remove. Ugh. Here I was a  mile from home and I finally got stuck. But not for long. Two very nice fellas came to my rescue and helped push my car out of the slush. Hooray! I was almost home!

When I reached my house hubby was there and had shoveled out a nice spot for me at the base of the driveway. I was never so happy to pull into that narrow driveway – I’d finally made it home.

After many hugs, and a hot cup of tea I took a much needed shower, put on some sweatpants and just flopped on the couch. It had been a long night and a long morning. Even though it was only 9:30 in the morning, I felt like it should be noon.

Do you know I fell asleep before 8:00 that night? I guess my body needed the rest.

I’ve come to a conclusion…I’m never taking a chance when it comes to the weather again. If my boss doesn’t like me leaving early…fire me. I don’t ever want to go through that again. Ever. Especially since I have the capacity to work fully from home. The only task I can’t do remotely is answer the phone…but really, who’s going to be calling during a blizzard?

Nope… from now on if they’re calling for bad weather I’ll just tap my snow boots together three times and say, “There’s no place like home.”

1The weekend when “he who shall not be named” took the oath, my girls and I were in Richmond to see yet another performance of Disney on Ice. When Dad drives the Zamboni, and the tickets are free, you just go, despite the fact that you’ve seen it a hundred times. Plus, we get a free weekend at a hotel in Richmond!

The morning before the show, we decided to take a walk. The Capitol building was right down the street, so we headed over to poke around.

20170121_092142The Poe statue? It’s just okay. Not very dramatic.

2Steps looking up towards the George Washington Statue

3.jpgSteps leading up to the Capitol. The couple at the top were flying a drone. It was cool

4.jpgDaughter #2 mugging for the camera. I was a tad panicky because she was up so high.

5.jpgMy girls In front of the Governor’s Mansion. There was lots of sporting equipment in the yard. FYI.

6.jpgThe Washington Statue…what is that little door for?

Our stroll was really nice…Just me and my girls soaking the the architecture, the statuary, and history that is downtown Richmond.

drivein

As a child I can recall being dragged to countless movies with my father; movies that I had no interest in and, quite frankly, no business seeing. I don’t regard this in any way as a criticism of my father…just one of those odd, and quirky things that makes my memories of my childhood a bit more colorful.

The reason I was taken to these movies varies. Some were drive-in movies, and I guess it was just easier to take us along in the back of the station wagon than to get a sitter. We would play in the park in front of the movie screen until showtime, then eat popcorn and sodas. Who cared what was playing?

Other times I think dad wanted to see the movie, while mom was like, “I’ll pass.” This posed a dilemma to my dad, who hated doing anything alone. His solution? Take one of us along! The promise of popcorn and candy was enough to get us to tag along, and then dread our decision once the movie got underway.

So let’s take a look at some of the cinematic classics I saw as a child.

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-10-12-39-amA Man Called Horse (1970) – Seen at a drive-in
In 1825, an English aristocrat is captured by Native Americans. He lives with them and begins to understand their way of life.

Not exactly the movie I was looking for as a 5-year old. I was hoping it would be a bit more Flicka-esque. I remember nothing about this movie, only that I was bored stiff.

 

walkaboutposterWalkabout (1971) – Seen at a drive-in
A white, city-bred teenage schoolgirl and her much younger brother become stranded in the Australian wilderness after their father goes berserk.

I was only 6 1/2 when this came out. Half the time I had no clue what was going on. The only scene I remember is the kids being thirsty and being shown how to dig a hole and drink up dirty water through a reed. Then I went to sleep in the back of the car.

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-10-18-18-amThe Emigrants (1972 – USA Release) – Seen in the theaters
In the middle of the 19th century, Kristina and Karl-Oskar live in a small rural village in Smaaland (southern Sweden).

This movie was TWO HOURS AND 32 MINUTES LONG, and I was only 7. Do you see a problem here? I may be wrong, but I think the movie also had subtitles. WTF dad? The only thing I remember is a scene where one kid is so hungry, he/she eats a giant bowl of hot cereal before the grains are fully cooked. They swell in his/her stomach and death ensues.

BTW – I may have that totally wrong. I was only 7.

doctor-zhivago-movie-poster-1965-1010194504.jpgDr. Zhivago (1965) – Seen in the theaters
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist’s wife and experiences hardship during the First World War.

Okay, I obviously did not see this when it first ran. Even my father wouldn’t take an infant to the movies. It must have been some sort of revival, because I know he took my sisters and me to see this at the Park Lane theater in Palisades Park, NJ.

THREE HOURS AND 17 MINUTES LATER I was thankful to get the hell out of there. The only scene I remember is when he was marching in the cold and had icicles in his mustache.

deathwishinternationalonesheetDeath Wish (1974) – Seen in the theaters
A New York City architect becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.

I am 9 by this time, and there is a very violent rape scene in the beginning of this movie. Hey Joan, why not bring the kids? I was sitting next to my mom, who put her hands over my eyes throughout the scene. But my sister, who was 11, peeked through her fingers.

I’m fairly certain we were the only minors in the theater. I can only imagine what the ticket-taker thought of us.

To my father’s defense, at least all these movies were critically acclaimed. Well, maybe not Death Wish, but some of the others were nominated for a ton of awards.

As adults my sibs and I laugh about dad’s epic fails at the cinema. One movie I didn’t include, because it didn’t happen to me, was The Last House on the Left. My dad took my older brother and sister to see this movie, which was horrifying for them at the time because it involves the rape and murder of two young girls. Then the parents take revenge on the killers. One dude gets his genitals bit off by the mother.

Hey dad! Pass the popcorn!

vote

This past presidential election reminded me of the time I ran for class president in the fourth grade. I don’t remember what prompted me to run. Perhaps it was early enough in my school daze (where I hadn’t been pigeon-holed into the loser category) to where I actually thought I could win.

My opponent was the son of our town’s Mayor…smart, likable, and a boy I had had a crush on just the year before. I can remember our class sitting on the carpet in a circle, listening to our campaign speeches. My speech was something like Summer Wheatley’s speech in Napoleon Dynamite. I was promising longer recess, and monthly class trips.

That was when my opponent raised his hand and asked, “And how are you going to make that happen?” And I didn’t have an answer. And I felt really, really stupid, and ashamed for having not thought this through.

Unlike Trump, I have a conscience. I have a moral compass. I have integrity. And I don’t like to flat out lie. I lost that election.

Now, had I been born a narcissist and a bully, like Trump, rather than have my conscience take over, I would have called my opponent a scrawny geek, and spent the remainder of my speech pointing out all of his flaws, made up or real, just to deflect from the fact that it had been pointed out that my platform had no basis in reality.

Sort of like what’s going on now, right? Trump promised a wall. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. When asked how he was going to make this happen we heard about Hillary’s emails, or Obama’s failed policy, but never an actual answer.

Now we are building a wall and WE, the taxpayers, will pay for it. Trump assures us that the Mexicans will reimburse us, and his idiotic followers swallow this notion hook, line & sinker. Because all those dimwits have to hear is that THE WALL IS BEING BUILT. That’s all they care about. The fact that WE are going to pay for it makes no difference. That’s way down the line. As long as them dirty Mexicans are kept out, who cares who pays?

I am absolutely nauseated at what is happening since Trump took office. It’s as if he is checking off every box that the far, far right wants. Repeal the ACA. Throw out pre-existing conditions. Gag Twitter accounts. Close our borders.

And the scared, narrow-minded people who voted for him? They love it! Yay! Keep them bastards out! Shut them bastards up! Our way is the only way! I was just watching a video of the Governor of Washington chastising Trump for his recent immigration ban, and the comments section is blood-curdling. So much hate. So much denial. And frankly, so much blind stupidity.

And let’s not forget the lies. The lies about his crowd size at the inauguration. The lies about losing the popular vote. The lies about voter fraud.

So here we go. It should be an interesting couple of months – stuff our country, as we know it, has never experienced. Because there is a lunatic at the controls.

Here this now. I will never call him President. I will never refer to his post as a presidency. I just won’t. Because I know as a 4th grader, I showed more integrity than he has now.

Trump is liar and a con man, but I don’t think his followers will ever recognize that. As long as he keeps checking off all those alt right boxes, they will love him.

 

My reply to the prompt Unseen

dorothy-2

There was a time back when I was first married that my sister and I played in a volleyball league together. We played every Wednesday night, and many times went out for beers afterwards.

We were in the league for a year or two when I became pregnant with my first child. I continued to play as long as I could, but by the 5th or 6th month, I had to stop. My belly would get in the way more times than not, and it was hard to curb the instinct to dive for the ball.

At the end of the season, everyone got together for drinks and food at a local bar. My sister asked me to come along, and even though I couldn’t really drink, it would be nice to see all my league-mates again and catch up.

At the end of the evening, they gave out silly awards. I clapped and laughed as each person was called up to get a certificate of merit for their particular talent (or lack thereof). With each new award, I thought, “is this me?” Nope. Next award, “is this me?” Nope.

And then the awards ended. I had been totally ignored. Nobody even thought to include me, just because I had missed a month or two of playing. Hell, my award would’ve been easy to come up with…”best setter with baby on board” or “best baby bump.”

But I got nothing, and it really hurt my feelings. l was forgotten. I was unseen.

The rest of the evening I forced smiles and laughs when all I really wanted to do was cry. I thought these people liked me. It felt like high school volleyball all over again; surround by team mates who in reality didn’t want to play with you at all.

I stopped playing with them. I might have gone back few times after I had the baby, but it just wasn’t as fun anymore. I didn’t feel at all like I was a part of this group. It was as if when I showed up to play, they were thinking, “oh, she’s here?”

My sister stuck with it. Where it had started as our league, it finished as her league. Sometimes I’d ask, “What are you doing this weekend?” and she’d mention a party someone in “the league” was having, and I’d feel a twinge of sadness, shame, and anger.

Hell, I spent most of my life outside the in-crowd, and at the age of 30 I was surprised at how much it still hurt to be an outsider.

walking

Yesterday I booked my passage on the Island Home ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. We are going as a family over the July 4th weekend to spread my father’s ashes. While the reason for the trip may be somber, we are going to celebrate the place that, thanks to my father, was our summer vacation spot.

July.

6 1/2 months away and yet I feel like it’s right around the corner. I’ve got just that long to shed some of the lbs. I packed on last year. I’ll admit, compared to 2015, I was really inactive over much of 2016. The time to turn that around is now.

I made a goal of walking at least 30 miles in January, and shy of contracting the flu, I plan on shattering that number by the 31st. It feels good to have set a goal and even better to be sticking to it. I sort of gave up on my walking regime towards the end of last year. It was super hot during the summer, and then I just got lazy once the cooler temps came.

Sticking to a plan, even if it is just walking more, is quite motivational. I’m making other small changes each week that passes, and with any luck, it will raise the gung-ho spirit I need to really put my rear into overdrive.

Cause July really is just around the corner.

angry_twitter_by_roweig-d5jv8f2

For years and years I was not a fan of Twitter. I just didn’t get it…throwing a thought out there for nobody to see. Me? I’m more of a Facebook gal…friends and comments and likes and sharing. I love the interactiveness of it. I had a Twitter account, I just rarely used it.

Until the election.

I quickly realized that posting my feelings about then candidate Donald Trump turned my Facebook page into a battlefield of opinions. I didn’t like that. I also didn’t like seeing other people’s crap about Hillary, so I stopped posting political things. And, after unfollowing the majority of my über vocal and misinformed Republican friends on FB, things got a lot better.

But I needed to vent somewhere.

So, I turned back to Twitter. There I could pretty much say whatever I wanted to. I only had 40 or so followers…who was there to offend? I voiced my outrage against Trump and my love of Hillary on a daily basis during the election.

I spent all three Presidential debates at the computer, Tweeting good points and bad, and reading what others had to say. It was very enlightening – maybe there WAS something to Twitter that I had previously overlooked.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-3-42-25-pm

And then, numb, afraid and pissed off on November 9, I began my new relationship with Twitter. I began to follow like-minded Americans who refuse to swallow the Orange Kool-Aid. I am hash tagging and retweeting to anyone who will listen to my outrage against Trump’s lies and contradictions.

Twitter is my platform where I can stand up and scream, “THIS IS WRONG!” And I love it.

I’ll still post a few things here and there regarding our liar-elect on Facebook, but I mostly reserve those things for Twitter. Now I just need to get more than 46 followers….

In response to the daily prompt word, which was Float

girl_floating-ocean-1

Around 10 years ago, we were on our yearly family vacation in Palm Coast, Florida visiting my dad. Our beach of choice while we are down there is Flagler Beach, a) because it’s right down the road from his house, and b) because it’s just an awesome beach.

My girls were young, and were playing in the surf under the watchful eye of their dad, and I decided to swim out a little.

A little.

I was treading water and decided it was time to head back in. I start kicking and paddling, and realize I’m not really getting anywhere. Every time I point a toe down to feel the sandy bottom of the ocean floor, all I feel is ocean.

I looked at a dude on his surf board, who was only a few yards away. I thought to myself, “should I ask him for help?” At this point I was very jealous of his floatation device. He could sit there cool as a cucumber, while I was beginning to feel the warm seed of panic growing in my lower belly.

Was I caught in a riptide?

rip-current

And then I remembered my father, who always said if you can’t get back to shore, swim parallel to the beach and eventually you’ll be able to make you way in.

For the next 5-10 minutes I floated and swam, floated and swam parallel to the shore, but moving slightly toward the beach with each kick and stroke. And finally, I could touch bottom. I lumbered my way through the surf and onto the beach where I heaved an audible sigh of relief.

I was safe, and I did it on my own. I didn’t need to be rescued by either surfer dude or the lifeguard. I walked back to where we were sitting…I was a good 75 yards down the beach…and plopped into my chair, out of breath. I told my sister and nieces what had happened, but seeing that I was back safe & sound, they didn’t make much of it.

But it had frightened me. I doubt either of my girls would have been able to keep cool and figure their way out of it. Now, I repeatedly tell them the same advice my father gave me every single time we are at the beach, and I encourage them to bring a boogie board with them in the water just in case.

And I watch them very closely…from the beach.

fired

This morning I fired a pesky freelance client, and it feels so good to be rid of him.

For the past year I’ve been designing a brand new magazine that deals mainly new age ideology – lots of fung shui and astrology and shamanism…stuff I know zilch about. However, that didn’t stop me from creating a pretty page.

At first.

My client was a guy who decided to start a magazine with no techno experience, no publishing experience, and no design experience. I was not aware of this when I started with him, but as the weeks dragged on, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

He knew nothing. Didn’t know how to use dropbox. Didn’t know how to use Facebook. Didn’t know how to scan something on his printer so he could send me a pdf. The man didn’t even know how to search for images on Google.

And all this would be fine, except he’s a control freak. I would send him a finished layout, and he would say “Wow! Beautiful!” and then the fussies would start. Lower the point size of the caption. Increase the size of the caption rule. Make this photo bigger and that one smaller.

And many of his changes would really effect the layout to where it looked sophomoric and unprofessional. Arguing with him got you no where…he wanted it how he wanted it. Which is fine.

By the 3rd issue I changed my title in the masthead from “Creative Director” to “Editorial Designer.”

By this last issue he was practically giving me design instructions with each story – bad instructions. And that’s when I said to myself, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

When I started with him, I was only working part time and was hoping this magazine could turn into something down the road. But now I have a full time job that I really love, and his magazine was just a chore I had to do at the end of the day and on weekends.

And I feel bad because he has nobody else to design for him. I also found out as months went by, that lots of other people; artists, writers, and social media people, had started and quit with him after a short time. I mean he pays on time, so it’s not that.

I think it’s a personality thing. He’s just really annoying and a control freak. But he’s nice at the same time. Does that make any sense???

In any case as Elmer Fudd said, “good widdance to bad wubbish.”

via Daily Prompt: Mope

bad-2016

With the exception of two events, 2016 really sucked.

The two events? My daughter’s graduation from VCU and getting the best job of my life. Those are the only saving graces from 2016.

I spent a lot of 2016 moping. I remember long days at my desk at the real estate office, with little to do and less motivation to do what little work I had. I hated my job. I hated that it was only part time. I hated that I was chained to my desk, that getting time off required the approval of several people (in an office that only had 35 employees). I hated that I had no health or dental insurance, sans what little Obamacare offered me.

While I hated my job, I was grateful to have it, which was also mope-worthy. There had to be more to life than just working at a job you hated going to in order to pay the bills.

I had also stopped walking as much as I did. After pounding the pavement to the tune of 900 miles in 2015, and losing almost no weight in the process, I was discouraged. This year I only squeaked out 251 miles. The end result? I feel like shit as 2016 comes to a close.

The election? Let’s not even start. I am so disappointed in our country, who let a lying, racist, p*ssy grabbing con man get control of our lives. Fuck moping – I want to scream almost every day. I think my main goal in 2017 will be ignoring the fact that we have a president. I’ll just float down that river we call DaNile for a little while.

And my dad. Losing my dad sucked. Thinking back on all the vacations my family took to Dad’s house in Florida…all those days at Flagler Beach, playing volleyball in the pool, shots of slivovice with my sisters, and long dinners followed by story telling and reminiscing with dad. All gone.

That coupled with the election of Trumpsy Dumpsy really let wind out of my sails. I didn’t care about Christmas, I really didn’t care about anything.

But a new year is coming – it’s just days away and I can look forward to making improvements in my life. I’ve got this great job, with great benefits…I’ve got everything to live for, so it’s time to start taking better care of myself. Time to ignore the giant pumpkin in the white house and look at the joy in my own house.

Here’s to 2017.