Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I don't do snow.

Unless you live under a rock, you probably already know that it snowed a lot in Georgia.  Well, considering that it IS Georgia, it was a lot.  In our state we are not prepared to handle mass quantities of snow or ice.  We deal with winter storms this severe about once every 2-3 years, so it isn't a huge concern for most of us.  The government doesn't invest much money into winter storm prep or winter storm precautionary measures.  Most of the time you mention that 4 letter 's' word in Georgia and the whole state begins to panic, rush to the stores to buy groceries, head home immediately after that, and then we wait for the cancellations to roll in.  

I happened to be in a lunch meeting south of Atlanta when the snow really started coming down.  We finished up our meeting and headed home around 1 p.m. Tuesday.  The drive normally takes a solid hour.  I was planning to take the interstate all the way home because I figured it would be less congested.  I changed my mind and headed home my normal route.  The normal route included some back roads and those less traveled, but I was confident that I made the best decision.  Around 2 p.m. I realized I was stuck.  We had traveled most of the way home and only had minimal miles left to go.  Actually, I think my GPS (who I lovingly call Bonnie) said I had 19 miles to home from that spot where I was stuck.

I wasn't stuck because I couldn't move, but I was stuck because the people in front of me couldn't move and didn't know that momentum UP the hill covered in ice was critical.  So, nobody moving means stuck.  I am 7 months pregnant.  Thankfully I had a huge lunch and wasn't even hungry during the course of the whole adventure, but my baby was bladder dancing and that was NOT fun.  I spoke to my parents multiple times and assured them I was doing the best I could.  My children were safe.  My husband was safe.  My parents and siblings were safe, and I was stuck.  

Finally, my dad called one of his best friends who was about 10 minutes away from my location.  He quickly ran to my rescue in his 4 wheel drive truck.  I spent about 90 minutes sitting on the side of the road before their arrival.  Jim (dad's friend) and James (Jim's son) jumped out of the truck and quickly began helping.  Jim decided to move my car and I asked that James do all the driving.  At this point I was so grateful to see them that I was trying not to cry!  Just knowing that I was going to make it home before midnight and wouldn't be stranded was such a blessing to me.  

We waited behind a salt/sand truck for almost an hour and I snacked on sour gummy worms.  Jim follwoed behind as James drove my car to a nearby grocery store parking lot and I was finally able to use the restroom after almost 5 hours in the car.  We decided that my car wasn't safe to drive all the way home because it was spinning so badly on the ice.  We left my car there and I'm praying that it is still there, unharmed, tomorrow when I attempt to retrieve it.  I was a nervous wreck just riding home, so I was beyond grateful that I wasn't driving.  

We encountered multiple issues on the way home.  There were cars stranded on the side of the road and cars who still had people in them trying to drive forward or backward or any way just to get home.  At one point we saw a car that looked as though it was vertical and barely hanging onto the side of the road.  Not once did I feel unsafe.  Not once was I worried that I wasn't going to make it home.  We drove down and then back up two giant hills with cars lining both sides of the road just stuck.  The roads were in terrible shape and many vehicles were abandoned on the side of the road.  I suppose those people got picked up or managed to walk home.

Jim stopped to gas up about 3 miles from my house.  We had to drop off the student I was traveling with and then Jim made his final delivery of the night.  The stressed, crazed, hungry, and exhausted pregnant lady was finally home.  I managed not to cry throughout the entire day.  I will tell you that my two little ones running into my arms once I was finally home almost did me in.  I was able to swallow my lump and hold back the tears though!  I offered beverages and snacks to my rescue team and they politely declined.  I offered the restroom.... again declined.

I sent them home with directions back to a familiar road so they could make it home.  I will never EVER be able to explain how grateful I am for that drive home.  The men who came to get me and my student.  The time they took away from their family and the generosity they showed to me... it is something I will never forget.  The biggest 'favor' of my life during the most critical storm I can remember.  I can buy every restaurant gift card and say thank you 9000 times and it will never EVER be enough.

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