During my lunch hour I normally go home, let the dog out and have a bite to eat while watching the news. Today was different, I postponed my midday routine in order to pick up Snow White from school. It being winter and white fluffy particles falling from the sky meant school was closing early.
I could have let her go to daycare but after thinking things through it was best to take her home. The snow was accumulating in the parking lot at work and I had no idea what the roads were like. Driving from the school to our house was half the distance of driving from the daycare center. This is my first winter with our van which means I do not know exactly how it will maneuver in these conditions. The path to the daycare center would require me to drive up one very steep hill on the way there and another on the way to our house. Sliding down the front or back of either hill would land us in a stream. Gambling with my child’s safety is not an option.
Snow White was THRILLED when the teacher announced she would be a car rider today. She was not thrilled with the idea of spending a whole afternoon at the noisy daycare center. “Mom, you cannot understand how loud that place gets with SO MANY kids in one place. They do not understand how to keep their voices level. I get a headache just about every other day from all of their noise.” Structured play time with rowdy children or free time with her big brother? She will always pick free time with ManSon.
The roads were clear but wet when I returned to work. My mind was not on the roads as I drove back to office. Yes, I went back to work since no one else is trained or capable of doing my work. Ok, part of it is that I cannot stand the thought of someone else working on my projects. That would mean my over active imagination will stress me into believing I will have to work twice as hard to fix all that they mucked up. In reality I think the work would just sit until I returned to work. Sure, some people left early but come on it was only four inches of snow and the roads were fine…at 2 pm.
I could not stop myself from taking a picture when I saw a field of Christmas Trees on my way back to work. (will load pictures in a bit)
This is the view from my office today. An old weather beaten barn across the field which held a vast amount of corn this past summer. That is not a haze or fog you see, that is the snow coming down.
On my way home at 5 pm, what was wet at 2 pm was now frozen. I do not live far from my office but the drive was not what I was expecting. It was only FOUR inches of snow for goodness sakes! Where were all the other rush hour drivers I am so accustomed to seeing on my way home? Why were they not out in droves pushing the snow and ice off the road little by little? FOUR inches people! Did everyone cowardly rush home at the sight of a few flakes?
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” As thoughts of people being cowardly about the meager bit of snow fall passed through my brain…my van began to fishtail (back end swerving side to side). I was only going 20 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. Maybe it was God’s way of telling me to not be so hard on others.
I regained control of my vehicle without incident. It was too late to back track and go another rout. A steep hill ahead was coming into view. I saw a large sedan making its way up and purposely gave them room ahead of me just incase they slid back down. When they made it up to the top a huge sigh of relief escaped from my lips forming that oh so familiar cloud from warm air making a presence in the outdoor cold.
Now it was my turn. I made sure not to go too fast or too slow. I was reaching the underpass, saw the stop sign at the top of the hill and I started to smile. THEN THE VAN STARTED TO SLIDE BACKWARDS!! As I looked into the rear view mirror I could see where I was headed. Straight for the cement walls of the underpass and feeling of despair washed over me. My children are at home. They wont know what happened to me. In a few hours or maybe in a day or so a policeman, a stranger, will knock on my door and tell them he is sorry.
Great sadness filled my soul for a flicker of a second. Then, my Mommy side kicked in and said “NOT TODAY! No Way! I kept my foot off the break and pumped the gas peddle. Eventually my tires made contact with the road and I was on my way back up the steep hill. When I reached the stop sign at the level top I turned off the engine and cried for a few minutes.
When I started the engine again I thanked God for getting me to the top of that hill. I told myself there are no more hills on the way and I have all night to carefully make my way home.
Did I make it home? Of course I did silly! Otherwise I would not have been able to write this tonight. I hope everyone made it home safe and sound tonight. During the winter months please remember to give everyone on the road all the space they need for the unexpected. Another lesson I learned, do not be quick to judge those who decide to head home early from work, a holiday party or a nice visit with you. My usual, very simple, 7 minute drive from work was not what I expected it to be.