Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The Expedition to Just Get Home
As some of you may know, I live in the Puget Sound area and we've been having the Weird Weather the last few months. Normally we get a few inches of snow and it's gone later that day or the next day and that cycle occurs a few times each Winter. The local drivers and weather-guessers do get all worked up over it with reports of a Snow Event and dire warnings that don't amount to much.

(In no way am I going to neglect to point out that the slightest sight of snow - or rain - or sun - or anything different from what they saw within the last two hours and the drivers around here turn into dipshits. They start driving either like maniacs or blind old men and instantly lose fifty IQ points - that's 50 points they can't afford to lose.)

On November 27th we had a serious storm that hit while I was already on the way home. Lots of snow and hail and very very cold so things iced up almost instantly. It took me over an hour to get home from only about two miles away. Poor C took almost 4 hours to get home and had to stop and buy chains.

This time I really wasn't as apt to just ignore the storm warnings and when my friend Jo was IMing me with reports that it was starting to snow near my house, I decided to not take too many chances and left my office at 3:45pm. Thankfully there wasn't anything that required me to stay at work.

The mistake that would come back to haunt me was that when I got into the car, my mind was on the drive and I plopped my laptop and my purse into the trunk. My cell phone was in the purse. Ooops.

The first sign of the true ugliness occurred about 5 miles from the office. It started to snow the little light popcorn hail - about the size of lentils. Within a mile and a few minutes, this had turned to hail the size of sweet peas and the traffic came to a stop. The road was becoming coated as the hail stuck and it took literally 30 minutes to go only 2 blocks.

I did briefly debate getting out and fishing my phone from the trunk but I was both afraid of becoming stuck and really didn't want to drive and talk at the same time in this weather.

I was taking some back roads and listening to news radio so I knew all routes were equally awful and I decided to just stick this out. We slowly crept along the backroads for literally hours. The roads got slicker as the sun went down as well as the temperature and people started to get impatient. Some drivers turned around to try some other option. Some were driving erratically and out of their lane. Some were behaving well.

I had a small SUV thing behind me who decided to flash his brights every time he didn't like the speed I was going. Excuse me but I wanted to keep moving at whatever pace it took to have to stop the fewest times possible. Every time I had to stop then tried to get moving again it was harder and harder to do so without spinning tires. Apparently the driver following me would much rather I start and stop constantly instead. If I wasn't so afraid of getting stuck, I would have stopped my car, gotten out and walked back to him to see if he was in distress or something. Surely he would only be such an ass in the direst circumstances, right?

After two hours, I finally got into the town near mine where the roads weren't so bad and made a bit of time through there until I came out the other side and decided to take the local highway instead of the freeway (this was easy once I saw the traffic on the highway and heard about a jack-knifed semi up the highway a bit). Almost three hours later I arrived at M's daycare and C arrived there only about 5-7 minutes after I did.

I didn't try to go home first because our driveway is fairly steep and if this storm was like the last one, it would become quite tricky to get back down again without a dive into the ditch across the private road from the end of the driveway.

M was still at daycare and snuggling with his caretaker so I didn't waste the trip there.

We made it up the driveway (momentum is a wonderful thing) and I can tell it will be bad if it's as cold as they predict - there was a fair amount of slush and standing water that will be happy to turn into ice. Thankfully I can just call in if necessary and work from home.

I really am TIRED of storms....


  1. I don't blame you at all! I hope the weather starts behaving for you soon Maura :(

  2. OMG--I'm glad you're okay :)

    DC :)

  3. good morning, maura,

    i watched on the news last night as the traffic in your area came to a halt. i had hoped you'd be home before it got really bad, sorry to hear it didn't work out that way. right now i'm sitting here freezing. the temps have dropped like a ten ton brick and my heaters are working overtime trying to keep the house at least a little warm.

    the road in front of my house is a sheet of ice and according to the local news, they have only delayed school by two hours. i'll tell you what, unless that ice melts soon i don't think it will be possible to get james' car out to the main road where it might be possible to actually make it to school.

    stay safe, maura and like you i'm hoping for better weather soon.

  4. What she failed to tell you ladies is WHY having the cell in trunk was a mistake.

    BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO CALL HER.. I knew she had left before me, and when MY commute went to hell, I wanted to check with her to see how she was doing etc. I have a drive home saga similar to hers, including having to go around busses, and other cars, spunout or stuck in the middle of major freeways. All this in a little front wheel drive sportscar (MX-3 GSR) with street tires that are not Mud/Snow rated.. (yeah stupid me)..

    So I'm trying to call her and see if she is OK, and figure out which of us will be able to get the kid from his daycare, etc. and I'm trying Home (no answer) and her cell (no answer) and getting more and more worried as I couldn't get in touch with her..

    I don't have a problem with the snow (grew up in Minnesota).. Yeah I'm not in the best of vehicles for it, but I had chains if it got really ugly) But She's a 'so cal' bred & raised kinda girl, and this snow stuff pretty much terrifies her.

  5. Yep...took Samwise two and a half hours to get home and on a good day, it's a ten minute drive, during rush hour usually half an hour. Luckily *he* remembered to have his cell phone with him. He's remoting in today. (And yeah, weather wise, it's insane this year...I've been blogging about it to because man, it just impacts so many aspects of life here).


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