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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mr. Winter, Leave Me Alone!

I was watching the movie 1776 the other day. It is a musical that was filmed in the '70s about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. If you haven't seen it you should. It is actually pretty hilarious. 

There is one particular song that inspired the title for this blog. Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and someone else, are trying to decided who should write the declaration. John Adams shouldn't because he is obnoxious and disliked, and if he "were to do it, they'd run their quill pen through it."They go through each person, singing why that person shouldn't write it. They get to Thomas Jefferson, they all look at him. He looks directly at John Adams and blurts out in loud baritone song, "Mr. Adams, leave me aloooooone!" Seriously, see the movie, I'm sure it must be on Netflix somewhere. 

Last night I was coming home from Des Moines. Two very good friends of mine, Kathy and Mary, had lost their father, and I had gone to the visitation at the funeral home. While the circumstances were very sad, it was so nice to see these too wonderful ladies! They are both such strong, intelligent women with big hearts. Getting to catch up with them was wonderful. My heart goes out to both them and the rest of their family on the loss of their beloved father. 

While we were all chatting Kathy, knowing I had an hour and a half drive, said I should get going so I wouldn't have to drive in the dark. It had also been snowing on and off all afternoon. I, kind of arrogantly, poo pooed the idea. (This is an important plot point, remember it for later.) I actually love driving. I was a school bus driver for about ten years. I had driven a bus load of rowdy teenagers about 90 miles in an ice storm once and was just fine. Driving home in the dark.... no problem! I stayed, and then another friend, Kelley and I went out to supper. I drank three ice teas, at supper. The funeral home was very dry, I was very thirsty. We talked and laughed until 10:00 pm when the restaurant closed. 

As I was driving I kept seeing snow plows out.  I had no idea why. I was cruising along at the speed limit. The pavement wasn't even wet much less slick. I was singing along to the songs on my iPhone, loudly and I'm sure way off key. I was enjoying having the time to myself. 

As I got to Iowa  County, I noticed there was a little more snow on the side of the road. I decided to turn off the cruise control, and slow down just a bit. I put my foot on the gas pedal and hit the switch for the cruise. I let up on the gas pedal a little to slow down. 

That's when God decided to slap the arrogant right out of me. 

My car started to swerve. I checked my rear view mirror. No one was anywhere behind me. I looked side to side, and in front, no cars anywhere. I knew if I went off the road, no one would go with me. That set a calm into me. I thanked God, over and over,  as I was swerving from side to side, that there was no one to hit. At one point it looked like I was going to end up in the ditch. While, I had no real desire to end up in the ditch, at least if I ended up there, the worst that would happen would be a black eye from the airbag. I got myself turned away from the ditch on the right and head straight for the ditch on the left. Still thanking God there was no one near me. I finally got my car stopped. I was turned the wrong way on the interstate, but I was fine, the car was fine, there was still no one anywhere near me. Life was good.

I sat there a moment. "Well. That was interesting." I said out loud to no one but God. I started to turn my car around. Yeah, it wouldn't move. The tires were spinning on the ice. The ice that was a glare on the entire interstate. At this point, I could see cars heading toward me. Headlights in the distance were coming my way. I put the car in reverse and moved it an inch or two. That was enough to give me traction to be on my way. 

Facing the proper direction again,  I slowly started up the interstate. The taillights in front of me didn't seem to be moving. I slowed down... VERY CAREFULLY!  I soon caught up with the vehicles in front of me.  

We were creeping very slowly. The semi two cars up was trying to move. It's trailer fishtailing with ever inch. Then, nothing. No movement at all. The taillights in front of me, reflecting off of the ice coated pavement. I sat and waited. 

About ten minutes later I called Kelley. I had told her that I'd send her a text when I got home. I was only about ten miles from my exit, but I could tell it would a few minutes before we would be moving again. I didn't want her to worry when I didn't text her when she would expect it. 

"A few minutes." BA HA HA HAAAAAA! 

 A half hour later, I checked out the road condition app on my phone. Despite the fact that there was a glaring sheet of ice all over the road, the app said it was normal driving conditions. Hmmmm. I checked Facebook, I looked up our local news station. They had just posted that road conditions were partially covered to normal. I started to wonder if I had crossed into some parallel universe, and my phone was still picking up my home universe. I looked on Twitter. I tweeted a question to both my home area TV station and a Des Moines TV station. I just asked if they knew what was going on. 

A Ryan Westendorf from KCCI in Des Moines answered. He had looked up the road condition site, also,  and saw the same puzzling wrongness I had. He kept looking into it and got a hold of the DOT. Soon they were tweeting me and other people stuck with me on the interstate. 

Not so soon, two and a half hours later, yes that says two and a half HOURS! (Do you remember that I told you I had THREE ice teas?) I saw a sand truck. We started moving! Very slowly at first, but it was movement!

Well, until it wasn't.... We were stopped again. (THREE ICE TEAS!) The DOT tweeted and said that semis were having trouble getting up the hills. This time it was only another fifteen or twenty minutes. 

Then finally FREEDOM! I have to say thank you to the DOT workers that came out and rescued all of us. Thank you to Ryan Westendorf of KCCI, and the Iowa DOT for keeping so many of us informed through twitter. 

 Say what you will about social networks, sometimes it is wonderful! I finally got home around 2:00 am. Stupid snow greeting me. But I was home.

 I didn't want to run, I didn't have the proper shoes for it.

Buuuuuut, three! ice! teas!
Do you think winter will EVER end????

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