Archives for posts with tag: snow

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.”

Advertisements

This post is in response to today’s daily prompt; Sorry, I’m Busy telling about a time when you should have helped someone…but didn’t

angel in the snow.

A few years back we had a super bad snowstorm that came on hard and fast right at rush hour. After attempting to make it home for over 3 hours, but finding every route to my development blocked by accidents, I lucked into a hotel room about 20 minutes from my house.

The next morning I faced the task of digging out my car and attempting to drive home. While eating the free breakfast, I was talking with an older woman who had spent the night in the lobby. She was horribly worried about her dogs, which had not been walked or fed since the afternoon before.

She was hoping that her daughter would be able to come and get her, but she was having trouble digging out herself. Where I live in Virginia, a storm like this cripples the region because crews are not accustomed to dealing with feet of snow. Things can practically shut down with just a few inches.

This woman lived just outside my development, and I thought to offer her a ride home. I thought to offer.

But I didn’t.

Because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it home myself, let alone chauffeur a stranger to her house. I was taking a route home that I knew had few hills along roads that were widely travelled. But looking out into the parking lot and the hotel access road, I was skeptical if I would make it home at all.

The night before I had seen dozens of cars fly off the road – I was still worried about that happening to me. It would suck ten fold if I managed to do that with an old woman in the car. I’d feel like I was responsible for her safety.

So I wished her good luck and headed out to dig out my car. Getting out of the hotel lot was no picnic, but once I was on the main road, it was easy going.

It was easy. And I left that woman sitting there worrying about her dogs. It still bums me out that I didn’t help her.

960x540

Yesterday we woke up to 6 inches of snow here in Central Virginny. It was a long time coming…it had been a miserable winter with little to no snowfall.

Unlike a lot of people, I like snow. I don’t want Boston snow, but I like it. I get excited when a snow storm is predicted, and can become rather perturbed when the weather folks get the forecast wrong and I wake up to my normal landscape. Because a little snow can turn the world into a different place…a place a little prettier and a little more magical than it was just a few hours before.

So like I said, having woken up to 6 inches of good powdery snow, our family geared up to do what we always do on a snow day. We went sledding.

Our community has a golf course with a pretty decent hill, and it’s our favorite place to sled. When we showed up yesterday there was already a crowd, and the conditions looked fantastic. It was sunny and cold, but not so cold that you were uncomfortable. It was really a perfect day.

We have two sleds, both the plastic variety; a long blue two-seater and a regular-sized orange sled. Nobody ever likes the orange one because any time anyone in my family would ride it, they’d turn sideways halfway down the hill. Therefore, it was deemed defective.

Well, I have to tell you, that sled is not defective – but my family’s ability to sled apparently is. Cause let me tell you, I was flying on that thing.

That’s right, me. Fifty year old Typical Tracy plopped her ass down on that sled, not once. Not twice. I’m pretty sure I made at least 12-15 runs down that golf course hill. And you know what was weird? I was one of the only parents doing it.

Most of the parents just stood around at the top of the hill, gossiping and “supervising.” Between sips of K-Cup Coffee in insulated travel mugs they might scold little Carson for taking Hudson’s sled, or wipe the nose of little Marlowe, but other than that, they were having zero fun.

I used to just hang around at the top of the hill too, but for a different reason. I was too self-conscious to give it a try. I mean, it’s not easy to lower yourself into a sled gracefully…at least for me. Then there was the walk up that hill. But I’ve been walking a lot lately, and while I’d not venture to say I’m “in shape,” I’m hardly the physical basket case I was a year or so ago.

So, down I went. Over and over again.

It was so exhilarating to fly down that snow-packed hill. Occasionally I’d hit the little ramp of snow and catch some air. Other times I went so fast and so far, my sled would wind up in virgin snow beyond where any other sledder had landed. I rode double with my daughter, and once I even rode down with our camera running on video mode – which btw didn’t turn out that great.

And I never once did I cause that orange sled to turn. Because this 50 year old Slovak knows how to work it. Let those other moms drink their coffee at the top of the hill. Not be, baby. I’d rather be flying.

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.”

092210Power1

Winter storm Saturn came through my neighborhood Wednesday, and it sucked.

I’ve been wanting a good snow storm all winter long. The kids and I like walking in snow and sledding and even shoveling. I love sitting in my glass-front house watching the snow drift down. I love knowing that I’m stocked up on food and booze and have nothing to do but watch the snow and make cookies and hot chocolate.

But this storm was different. It was heavy, wet snow that bent pine trees over, some of which snapped. Some of which landed on power lines. By 6:40 am on Wednesday, only a few hours into the storm, we lost power. I was naively hopeful that the lights would come back on before nightfall. We have no fireplace in our house, and the heat is electric, so it gets very cold very fast.

With nothing to do but sit and wait, we did what every other family does when the power is out. We lived like the Ingalls family – it was a day to pretend we were the Little House on the Prairie with no modern conveniences. We had to entertain ourselves the old fashioned way.

First we took a walk in the snow. We needed to take umbrellas though. Snow was falling in big clumps from tree branches and I was not in the mood to get a pile of wet snow down my neck. After hearing the crack of breaking branches a few times in the distance, I figured it was just not safe to be out at all and made the kids come in with me.

We played games – Uno (which I love) and Monopoly (which I hate) and finally I was able to play a game or two of Solitaire, which I love, but my kids hate because it doesn’t involve them. And I read, which was something I had not done in a long while. I meant to do some crocheting too, but I somehow never got around to that.

Cooking was a challenge. After we lost power for almost 3 days back in 2010 I made my husband buy us a grill with a side burner. I never used it even once before yesterday, but I’ll tell you that thing was a Godsend. I was able to make tea and hot chocolate which really helped keep us toasty. I made us soup for lunch, and for dinner I made burgers and dogs, and even managed to fry bacon on the side burner.

When the sun went down we used our portable DVD player, which I had wisely charged, to watch movies, but by 8:30 we were all bored and tired from trying to watch a 4 inch screen and decided to go to bed. We all crammed into one bed and drifted off to sleep. Every time I woke up I prayed that the power would snap back on – there had been times in the past it had been restored in the middle of the night – but sadly, by 6 am we were still sans power.

It was cold – 48 degrees inside our house – so I trudged out to the garage to start the grill and make some tea. After it was done I sat and read until the rest of the family woke up. I managed to cook bacon and eggs on the grill, and then washed the dishes by hand in very cold water.

I was miserable by now. I changed my clothes and tried to do something with my disgusting greasy hair. After trying to fluff my bangs I found they stood straight up – yes, they were that greasy. Ick. I made two neat braids, and washed my bangs in the sink. Afterward I felt better. At least I was making an attempt to look presentable.

I thought of another day without power, and it bummed me out. I noticed that hubby isn’t at his best without the modern conveniences – he seemed lost without the TV. I should’ve suggested sitting in the car listening to Howard on Sirius…even if he is on vacation this week. We were all getting very grumpy. I was seriously considering getting a hotel if the power was not back on by nightfall, even if it was just to take a hot shower.

I sat at the table shuffling cards for another round of Solitaire, the girls were rediscovering their love of Pokemon, and hubby was watching The Odd Couple on DVD when suddenly the garbage disposal began grinding loudly. We all jumped up and began screaming and dancing. I immediately turned on the computer and set the kettle to boil for a cup or 5 of tea. It was 11:05. We’d only been without power for a little over 28 hours, and it felt like a week.

I can only imagine what the folks who had to endure hurricane Sandy went through – going without power for WEEKS. Here it was just a tad over one day for me, and I was ready to throw in the towel. It made me realize something…I need the power. I really do. I am not a rustic gal who can make do, at least not with a family to take care of. If it were just me, maybe. But having to cook and entertain and keep peace between 4 people without the distractions of television or internet was more than I could handle for more than a day.

I’m no Mrs. Ingalls, that’s for sure.

I’d love to get a generator, but they are soooooo expensive. I’d be better off investing in some battery powered gadgets and some really good board games for the next time we lose power.

012413_lw_weathermen

All week long our local weathermen were forecasting snow for Friday with a 1-3 inch accumulation. Try to remember I live in Virginia – folks here fly into a total panic at the mention of snow. Our schools will close with an inch’s worth of accumulation, and along with it go any school related activity.

So let’s flashback to Friday morning. With a forecast of 1-3 inches of snow, many schools closed entirely. Our school wisely opted for the early release so buses didn’t have to drive kids home in the snow. However, that early dismissal came with a price.

My oldest daughter had a forensic speech competition the following day. It’s the last competition before regionals and she really wanted to get in some more practice. She  placed 5th & 3rd in her first two meets, and was looking forward to the chance of improving her scores. But with the early school closure, their trip to New Kent to compete flew right out the window. Apparently, the half day made them ineligible to make the trip – some stupid school rule.

While she was bummed, my youngest was super excited. With the predicted snowfall, she may get the chance to use her sled for the first time since last winter. Once off the school bus she settled in with a cup of hot chocolate and waited for the snow to start falling.

She didn’t have long to wait. The snow began falling in tiny little flakes, that at times you could barely see. It kept up for about 2 hours and then stopped. I had heard in an earlier weather report that we would hit a dry spot for about an hour, and then start up again.

By 5 pm we had a generous dusting – perhaps an eighth of an inch – and the weatherman declared the storm over for our area.

Are you kidding me? Seriously? That’s it?

I was really mad. On the one hand I understand that weather is not an exact science, but come on. They couldn’t tell the storm was going to just brush by our area by that morning? Then I had the kids to deal with – both furious for different reasons.

So Mr. Weatherman, let me spell out why you suck. These are the reasons why you need to say “fuck it” to the ratings and actually give us an ACCURATE forecast.

  • People run to the store and buy stuff they may not need in case they can’t leave the house for a few days. You have wasted their money.
  • My husband, who works an hour away, needed to get a hotel room so he didn’t have to worry about a hideous commute the next morning. Anyone, including my daughter with her learner’s permit, could drive on these roads.
  • Think of all the concerts, meetings, plays and other activities that were canceled or postponed because YOU got it wrong.
  • Parents who to work had to adjust their schedules, and therefore lost hours of pay or vacation time because of the forecast YOU predicted.
  • I was forced to spend the night with two crabby kids because you are an utter failure at your job.

Chew on that the next time you see snow coming our way, you incompetent boob.

Each year we take our kids to the circus. Hubby works for a large arena, and can usually score us tickets to the family friendly events like Disney on Ice and the circus. He chose to take us Sunday because he didn’t have to work that day and could actually sit with us and enjoy the show. He also chose the 3 pm show over the 11 am show because that way he could sleep late.

What he wound up doing was timing our day perfectly so we would get caught in a fairly decent blizzard.

They had been calling for snow on Sunday for the past few days, and it was supposed to hit right when we were at the circus. Originally we were going to take my daughter’s boyfriend along, but with the forecast the way it was, his mom thought it best that he stay home rather than risk getting caught in a storm.

When we left, skies were overcast. Halfway to Richmond, the snow started, but it wasn’t sticking. It’s been so warm lately that the ground temps were too toasty to do anything but melt the snow on impact. That made me feel much better because I’ll tell you, the thought of an hour’s drive home in the snow didn’t appeal to me one little bit.

Dat's a Kitty

Secure in the knowledge that the ground was just wet rather than snow covered, I sat back and thoroughly enjoyed the circus. Our favorite part was the lion/tiger tamer. My least favorite was these broads who swung by their hair – two girls with severely pulled back black ponytails reinforced with God knows what kind of hardware. And watching the trapeze artists made me a tad sick to my stomach and weak in the knees. I hate heights so much that just watching someone up high makes me jittery.

Once the show was over we darted out to our car and began our journey home. It was still snowing, but the roads were still clear. I was so pleased that our trip home would be sans peril that I didn’t mind when hubby stopped for gas and managed to pick the one station that had disgusting outdoor restrooms.

The snow was really coming down, and when we were about 15 minutes from our exit off of the interstate, we began to see the accidents. We also began to see that only one lane was really being used as the passing lane was snow covered. Now traveling single file behind a large truck, we made our way to our exit at roughly 30 miles per hour – what usually took 4 minutes took us around 15. I didn’t mind though, especially after seeing cops and a tow truck trying to pull a car out of the woods.

Once off the highway we limped the remaining 15 miles home on the very snowy back roads. I gotta tell you, I was glad to get in my house all safe and sound. I was also glad that I wasn’t the one who had to do the driving.

Although the circus was fun, I was a little bummed that we had to go out at all. When the snows fall, there is nothing I love more than just snuggling in at home, watching it waft down and begin to cover the world. And with this freakishly warm winter we’ve been having, yesterday might have been my only chance this year to see that.

 

I think I may have jinxed all of Virginia by buying my daughter a sled for Christmas.

I thought it was a great idea. We had two sleds – one is a large blue plastic number that can ride two of us comfortably. The other was a tiny yellow plastic sled that had a crack in it, taped up by silver duct tape, that never, and I mean never glided straight. You would always spin around sideways or backwards after 5 yards of downhill movement. It was pretty useless.

That having been explained, while tooling around Target one pre-Christmas day I spotted the sleds and decided to buy a cute Wham-o Brand Polar Bear sled. The bottom is a shiny slick surface, and I imagined that puppy would fly on the snow.

Yes, this would have been the perfect gift but for one small, tiny detail. WE HAVE NO SNOW. We aren’t even close to having snow. On the few days where temps have dropped into the range where snow is a possibility, the skies have been clear and blue and sunny. It has been an oddly mild winter for us, and it’s a bummer.

I like snow. I look forward to it. I love sitting in my cozy house watching the snow fall. I love the sound outside when I’m out in the snowstorm – It’s like a whisper as the snow gently falls. Hell, I even like shoveling! As long as I have power, it can snow all it wants. And as soon as it stops and the driveway is shoveled, we head out to sled.

Sledding on the golf course

The golf course in our community will allow sledding on one of it’s better hills when there is enough snow to not damage the grass – but I’m sure it takes a beating anyway. It’s loads of fun and I’m really glad my kids get the opportunity to do this great winter activity. I mean, we’re not skiers and snow tubing at the ski resorts is pricey, so we have to wait for Mother Nature to provide us with any sort of snow fun.

And while heavy snow storms are rare in Central Virginia, we still get at least 2 decent snowfalls per year. Oh, and “decent” here in the commonwealth means 3 inches – where the towns shut down and you can’t buy milk, bread or hot chocolate at the store.

So far this year we haven’t had enough snow to make a mouse-sized snowball. With about 6 weeks to go before things start officially warming up, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for one day spent in a winter wonderland.

NEXT DAY ADDENDUM: It snowed. Just a dusting, but it snowed nonetheless. Perhaps my writing this post has unjinxed the jinx.

I do believe it might rain like a mother f@cker

Ok, everybody and his brother knows that Hurricane Irene is barreling up the east coast. After Katrina, Floyd, Andrew and Camille, I realize hurricanes are nothing to joke about or take lightly. However, most hurricanes that hit the east coast are pretty tame. Strong winds, heavy rain, a few rattling stop signs…as long as you have batteries, food, water and shelter it’s nothing more than a day where you watch the rain, play board games and clean up your yard the following day. Like earthquakes in California, the chance of hurricanes comes with the territory of life on the coastal eastern states.

I have to admit, I am sort of excited about the arrival of Irene. See, I like weather. When a good thunder storm or snow storm rolls in to our area, I get fairly energized…I check the weather channel and the conditions out my window; I make sure we are all battened down and buttoned up, and I hunker down and wait for the show to start.

When a big rainstorm hits in the summer, my girls and I will kick off our shoes, open the umbrellas and run out in the storm – provided there is no lighting, of course. If there is lightning, we may head out to the garage, open the doors and watch the downpour. If it’s winter, we sit in our front room and stare at the bending trees from our glass front house. Yes, bending trees plus  a glass front house would turn most people into first class nervous Nellies, but my attitude is, I can’t do anything about it, so I may as well watch mother nature’s display.

When it snows, especially if the storm is supposed to hit over night, I am almost giddy with anticipation when I wake up. If there is no snow on the ground, I am severely bummed out…almost as much as my kids. If there is snow on the ground, I pull up the shades in every room so I can see the snow from every corner of my snug little house. As soon as the kids are up we dress up and head out to grab the sleds from the garage rafters. They are satisfied with my pulling them around the yard until we can drag daddy out of bed and head to the golf course for some serious sledding.

Even shoveling is enjoyable for me. I will often go out and shovel before the snow has stopped falling – I just like being a part of the storm. My husband thinks I am nuts for this, but my kids love me for it. Many times they come out and join me.

It’s not only bad weather that brings me pleasure. On Tuesday, the day the earthquake hit, I took a walk at noon and was in absolute awe of the weather. The sky was a really deep blue, and the clouds which dotted the sky were a fluffy, pure white. The sky almost looked manufactured it was so stunningly beautiful.

I also love when the weather begins to change. After a long, hot summer, there is nothing like that first September/October day that dawns crisp, clear and cool – the type of day where you realize you might not have too many more days in which you can wear your sandals and capris. Equal to that is the first day where while crocuses and daffodils are beginning to bud, the sun burns warm and steady, and you throw off your jacket and get out in the garden.

As I sit here watching the ever changing track of Irene, I keep hoping her path will veer slightly westward so that my region gets just a little more than a rainy day. Do I sound utterly stupid? Perhaps from the perspective of one who has lived through a storm that was truly life-threatening. Maybe I’m got a bit of the heart of a storm chaser in me. It’s possible that if I lived in a state where tornadoes did occur, I’d be out there in my sable wagon with my video camera  at my side trying to find a twister on tape.

Could be that because I live in an area that isn’t struck by harsh weather on a regular basis, that I am foolishly fearless. And I wonder if when one of those swaying trees actually does crash through my glass front house I will be singing a different tune when it comes to stormy weather.