Thursday, December 25, 2008

christmas weather timeline

December 23 7:00 pm: Snow. Megan's boyfriend shoveled the driveway.

9:00 pm: More snow. N came over to see Emily and shoveled again.

December 24, 7:00 am: Judging from what I see out the window, at least 30 cm (12 inches) of snow fell last night. You can't tell that anyone shoveled.

7:30 am: It's raining.

7:45 am: The snowplow drives down our street and dumps a ton of snow at the end of my driveway.

7:50 am: I leave for work and discover said snow. Heavy and wet, and at least 2 feet of snow to shovel out. Good thing I gave myself an hour to get there.

7:52 am: I realize I am about to do serious injury to my back.

7:53 am: Enter neighbour with shovel. Hallelujah!

8:45 am: I arrive at work to discover that the only kids there belong to the child care workers. Everyone else stayed home.

12:45 pm: A small shot (very small because I'm driving) of home made Bailey's. mmmmmmm....

1:30 pm: Home again. Roads are wet and flooding, as the huge snowbanks melt and more rain falls.

3:45 pm: I begin the drive to St. Marys. Rain and wet roads.

9:45 pm: Time to leave my parents' house. N drives the Focus and I drive my parents' vehicle, some kind of SUV, but dad assures me it has good winter tires.

9:46 pm: Gee, it's windy. Good thing the snow is wet and heavy. There are a few flurries.

9:52 pm: I hit highway 7. Snow is scudding across the road. The puddles on the edge are still wet, no ice. The flurries are coming down faster, but there's not enough accumulation to worry about. The wind rocks the car. Emily is looking for Santa out the window. She thinks she can see him.

9:58 pm: I can drive through Stratford, which is about a 15 minute time delay, or Ican take a back road to Kitchener, which runs through Tavistock. I never drive that way in bad weather, and it's a bit windy. If I take highway 7 through Stratford I run the risk of hitting unsalted ice and heavier traffic. I turn right.

10:00 pm: Cool. Lightning.

10:02 pm; Okay, it's snowing now. These are not flurries. And it's windy. I can see about 20 feet in front of me. I slow down. The wind batters the car. Swirling whiteness. Emily wants me to help her look for Santa and I tell her that I'm too busy trying to stay on the road.

10:10 pm: Good thing I know this road like the back of my hand. I know where the bad spots are. Where there are open areas, it is very difficult to see.

10:15 pm: "Emily, sweetie, can you sit very quietly for a few minutes? Mommy needs to concentrate on the road."

10:20 pm. Tavistock. Streetlights. Visibility. Sometimes on the other side of Tavistock the weather can take a dramatic turn for the better. My fingers are crossed.

10:25 pm: Leaving Tavistock. I hit my first whiteout about 1 km out of town. Seriously. I can't see in front of me at all. I can't find the yellow line. I am driving blind.

10:26 pm: Hazards on. I suspect that N is right behind me, but I'm not sure. At least the vehicle I'm driving has some height, which makes visibility easier. He's a good driver. he keeps his distance. There is no one in front of me - if I could see tail lights ahead, I would feel better somehow.

10:35 pm: I'm driving at about 20 km/hour (less than 10 mph). I am ready to pull over, but if I do, someone from behind might hit me. When I see oncoming traffic I simultaneously panic and rejoice. I'm still on the road, but oncoming headlights make it difficult to see. I really don't remember driving through conditions this bad before, and I've been driving back roads through snowstorms since I was 16. I'm talking out loud constantly at this point, trying to keep myself calm.

10:38 pm: I must be somewhere near Punkeydoodle's Corners. Dangerous, blind curve, and five point intersection. I can't see a thing. There have been a lot of fatal accidents at this location, and I don't want to be part of those stats. I call on whatever divine help I can muster. Gods, goddesses, angels....please help me get through this curve and home safely.

10:39 pm: The snow stops. Completely.

10:42 pm: I navigate the curve and make it to Highway 7.

10:43 pm: Icy and slow going, but I can see. Lots of Christmas Eve travelers who don't know how to drive in winter.

11:15 pm: My driveway. Sweet relief. My legs are like jelly, and my hands are still shaking. N has followed me all the way home, and gives me a thumbs-up as he carries on to his place. Emily is still awake, has been sitting like an angel for the last hour, and now wants to put her cookies and milk out for Santa.

It's Christmas, and I'm home safe. What more can I ask for? I feel blessed just to be alive and safe today, and I'm blessed with family, friends and people that aren't in my life yet, who I am about to meet...

ETA: One of my favourite writers, Jane Urquhart, once spoke about how writing was shaped by our landscape. For me, the landscape is not so much the cold as the snow that drifts across the road, the snow that sculpts itself into curves and crescents over the banks left by the plow. It's the whiteness, the swirling unknown that I walk or drive into. It's the wind above my head as it sighs through the trees. It's the solitude of a snowy walk through an uncharted cemetery near my house. And it's the warmth of home as I gaze out at the cold....and although I didn't mention it in my post, my Christmas Eve with my family was frenetic, wonderful, busy. I am driving back for more of the same this afternoon.


Sweet Melissa said...

I just drove in that weather last night. Not fun. I don't miss the tension a bit. I can't wait to get back to GA & my grrl. Glad you made it home safely. Merry Christmas!

Avril Fleur said...

I too call upon the angels to keep me safe while driving, especially in unsafe conditions. It's worked well thus far. I also do the same for my friends and loved ones. Mostly for my own peace of mind. Glad you made it safely.

BTW, my sister announced at our family Christmas today that she is expecting again in August. But I'm not allowed to post it on Facebook yet! lol! ;)

Merry Christmas!

Maria said...

This is why I detest snow. I hate driving in this stuff and it is not pretty. Call me scrooge, but reading your post was...painful. And yet, I couldn't stop because I needed to make sure you made it home all right and weren't posting from a hospital bed.

Camlin said...

Maria, that's exactly how it felt to drive home alone that night. Painful. But as unpleasant as the driving is, I still love snow. Call me crazy, but it would take a lot for me to live in a place where there's no snow at all. I would miss it too much.