Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'll Be Home For Christmas‏

I had to work on Christmas Eve. Our company never closes except for Christmas Day. They do however let us off two hours early on Christmas Eve, which I suppose is better than nothing, but as I sit at my desk and think about my loved ones getting a jump start on the holiday I get a little bitter. ;-) And of course I didn't save any vacation days for the holidays. That would have made too much sense. So I arrived at 9 on Christmas Eve, but only had to work until 4. I already had most everything packed and in the car since I hadn't been home for a week due to dog-sitting. I just needed to run home, grab a few odds and ends, get my presents for the family, and Jax (Sylvest had already arrived in Decatur via Mom & Courtney on Sunday). The forecast for Thursday was snow. The weather forecast called for snow and said it would start in the afternoon/evening. It actually started snowing pretty early in the day and the flakes were big. At first it didn't look like it was sticking but the more it snowed the more it started to accumulate. I kept looking out our 4th floor window as the snow progressed (see pics below). It was fun to watch and was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

My family called early on in the day to say it was snowing there, an hour away. Around 1 they told me the roads were starting to get a bit slick and wondered if I could leave early. I think they were pretty worried I wouldn't make it home for Christmas. I popped off and told Courtney that Jax and I would make it even if it took us 5 hours. Little did I know that this would ring somewhat true. My supervisor and VP were off on Thursday so I went to our sister team's supervisor and asked if there was anyway I could take off early due to the weather. He told me the roads weren't bad (because they really weren't too bad in our area at the time) and said that he couldn't let me leave because we had so much work to be done. I didn't argue and just told my family I couldn't leave early and that I would call them when Jax and I left town. I jumped up and walked out at 4, gathered up stuff at my apt, and was on the road to Decatur at 4:38. The snow was piling up here but the roads didn't seem icy at all. I hopped on the tollway and drove a bit slower than normal, but it really wasn't too bad. I thought "Oh good, my family over-exaggerated, these roads are fine". I was making good progress. The snow was falling pretty heavy and the wind was whipping it across the road but other cars had made pretty good ruts and I was doing fine. My family continued to call me quite often as they had done all afternoon while at work. Something you must understand is that my father is a worry wart. He comes from a LONG line of worry warts. He's also a retired Highway Patrolman. He's seen all the bad stuff and it's pretty much never left his mind. So when one of his own is in a potentially dangerous situation he goes into worry overdrive. Mom said she didn't even have to worry because he was doing enough for the both of them. Anyway, the phone calls kept coming to check on my progress. I made it to Denton and the snow started to get thicker, it was getting dark, and the ruts were much harder to see, but I was still trucking along fine. Slow, but fine. Jax would NOT hush. He meowed the entire way. He'd been alone for 2 days since I was away dog-sitting and the minute I got home I grabbed him up and put him in a crate. He did not care for this. He's also not the best traveler and tends to meow a lot anyway. Let me tell ya, this did NOT help my nerves. Somewhere along the way I noticed that my windshield had cracked. As if I needed any more drama. I had a small knick in the windshield and with the combo of ice, snow, using my windshield wipers, and defroster it cracked. :( I was happy to be getting closer to Decatur. I was getting VERY tired (as I hadn't had a lot of sleep lately) and visibility was getting worse and worse. I just wanted to be done with this. Dad called to see where I was and I told him I was coming up on Imperial (a company on the outskirts of town). All of a sudden I topped a hill and all I could see was a stream of break lights. As far as the eye could see it was break lights. Dad & I figured someone must have had a wreak. We hung up and I sat there. I sat, and sat, and sat, and sat. It was awful. Dad called back to say he'd called the police dept. (of course he had) and they said it was very slick in that section of the road and people were jack-knifing. Crap! I'm already super stressed out, I have no clue how long this is going to take, and I have GOT to pee. I sat there for what seemed like forever and didn't move. The line of cars started to move forward finally but the Dodge pickup in front of me was having issues. His back wheels were just spinning on the snow/ice and he wasn't moving anywhere. I backed up to give him some room but no matter how much backing he did he couldn't get any traction. After a few cars started to go around him I joined in. I felt bad leaving him behind but there was nothing I could do for him. Of course we get around him and then sit forever again. We move just a little bit and then sit. A BMW was having lots of issues as well. The guy driving couldn't get any traction either and his back tires just kept spinning. A man up ahead got out of his truck to try to help him and the minute he stepped out he slipped and was face down on the road. He laid there for a few seconds and then tried getting up with the help of someone else. At this point the sand truck arrived. OUR HERO! The truck started dispersing sand along the road and specifically on the BMW, which was FINALLY able to go after all the sand. We slowly but surely inched along and made it into town.

I was dying. At one point I thought I might have to use the bathroom in my car so the minute I got to the Shell station I hopped out and went in. I didn't know how much longer it might take me to get to mom and dad's since I didn't know what was up ahead of me. I hopped back in my car and tried to take off but I couldn't get out of the parking lot. I had HAD it. This freakin' sucked! I called my parents and started to cry. I couldn't get out of the blasted parking lot and all I wanted to do was be home. My dad said he would jump in the car and come get me. I really didn't want him to have to do this. We didn't both need to be out in this mess. I tried to leave the parking lot in a different direction and this time I made it would, got onto the highway, flipped around and slowly headed to mom and dad's. I pulled in the driveway at 7:45. It had taken me over THREE hours to get there when it normally takes me one. It was awful. I was stressed to the max and in the worse mood. Everyone came out to help me unload. Mom & Dad's drive way was full on huge snow drifts and the yard was covered in deep snow. The official report is that Decatur got 5". The ground was still really covered when I left for work this morning and we are supposed to get more snow on Tuesday. I will not be doing any traveling then!

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