What a crazy day! As I left the gym this morning heading for the airport to pick my Disneyland going sister up, I got a voice-mail from my sick sick sick couldn’t get any sicker sister. Jessica has been battling Lord only knows what for several months now and because doctors are inept and can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, she’s been in massive pain and basically unable to function. She was calling to ask if I could come be with her today as her pain had reached a point that she needed to take a pill for it. She’s the toughest person I know…if she’s ready to take a pain pill, 99% of the population would be passed out from agony. But, she’s also a medication lightweight. Half a dose of her pain medication completely knocks her out – dead to the world – for at least 4 hours. Not so good with a three year old in the house. I made a couple quick calls to coordinate someone else to do the airport run, and headed out the 25 minutes north to Jessica’s house.
On my way, I noticed something. The snow that had been just light flakes and not sticking at my house was turning heavier and stickier the farther north I traveled. When I was halfway to Jessica’s place, the flurries had turned into a blizzard. Traffic had slowed to a crawl as there was (gasp!) snow and slush all over the roads. Since people in the greater Seattle area have no concept whatsoever of how to drive in the snow, it was getting a little dicey. By the time I reached Jessica’s, I was having trouble seeing out my car windows because of flakes the size of half dollars – and there was 4 inches blanketing everything, including the roads.
Now, I was totally not prepared for this. When I’d headed to the gym this morning I wore capri workout pants, a light t-shirt and an equally light jacket. I packed a diaper for each kid (but just one) and some snacks for Madison, but not enough to last hunkering down thru a blizzard. As I pulled up the snow covered drive, I made a decision. I was not staying up here to get snowed in – I was taking Jessica (and the kids – all of them) back to my place. I ran into the house (freezing in my capris and little jacket) and burst in the house saying “everyone get your shoes – we’re outta here!”. I verified with Jess that it was ok to call her older kids’ school and go get them and then packed up Jessica and the two little ones and headed back into the storm.
We slipped and slid the 10 minutes to the school, during which time Jessica turned to me and pale faced said “Ton, do you have a bag I can throw up into?”. Oh my good Lord. So, there I am, trying to stay on the road while frantically searching for some kind of bag my poor sister can upchuck into. I ripped my trash baggie out of it’s cubbie only to realize it had a huge hole in it. I finally found a Ziploc freezer bag (usually used for soiled clothing ) in my backpack and practically threw it at Jessica. Thankfully, she reigned in the impulse to vomit and I didn’t have to actually deal with that mess.
At the school I encountered the most retarded thing ever invented. School bus only entrances. What the @)(*#$? is the purpose of those? So, instead of getting to drive right up to the office and pick up the kids, I had to make a very sharp turn into the side parking lot, ended up going up the down and around a corner the wrong way – praying the whole time some other soccer mom didn’t come careening around simultaneously, make a full circle to try again and finally find a parking spot seemingly miles from the office. Then I had to trudge thru the snow (now about 6 inches) in my capri pants, freezing up to the office and back. Then I got to stand in the snow and assist two kids over the car seat in the front and to the back seat, where there was some confusion with the seat belt – and I had to climb over the car seat into the back seat to fix it. By the time we actually headed towards my house, I was drenched and frozen.
The highway between Jessica’s house and mine is one of the most dangerous roads in the state. It is only two lanes – with no shoulder. As I started driving, I realized how crazy bad this road was going to be in the current weather. Still dumping snow, almost zero visibility and idiot Seattle drivers either going too fast (because they’ve got SUVs) or getting stuck (because they’re in very fuel efficient tiny-mini cars). The backup heading the opposite direction went on for over 5 miles. At about mile three, cars started attempting u-turns in the middle of the road and getting stuck halfway into our lane. We passed several cars up against the guard rail. When we were almost to my house, and I thought we were close to home free (especially since the snow was much lighter), we got stuck behind car with “STUDENT DRIVER” emblazoned on the back. Super. I tried going around it – only to have the white-knuckling-oh-my-God-I’m-gonna-die girl behind the wheel almost sideswipe me as her car swerved all over the road. Later, I called someone stupid – they parked in the middle of a hill…in a lane, not off to the side – and heard Jessica’s youngest child gasp from the back seat. Apparently “stupid” is a bad word. Oops. Bad Auntie.
Finally we got home. Then began my <insert EXTREME sarcasm here> totally relaxing day watching after six kids ages 10 to 3 months. Might have been easier to just drive around in the snow all day.