Monday, December 21, 2009

Stuck in Northern VA

Most of you probably have heard about the huge snow storm that hit this area. Don't think less of me because of this, but I hate snow! I love watching it fall and don't mind playing in it, but when it interferes with my plans and causes so many problems I just get so irritated...

I was supposed to leave Saturday morning for GA to spend Christmas with my folks, but due to the snow I was stuck...we had 11 inches by about 9 am after only about 12 hours of the storm about 12 more to go...

I was feeling desolate and upset about the whole thing. I had spent about 30 minutes on the phone with my folks about 6 am on Saturday morning, honestly trying not to cry I was so upset, but having experience driving in the snow I was not foolish enough to try to leave. Northern VA isn't equipped to deal with that amount of snow ever, let alone when it all falls within 12 hours. But thank goodness for great roommates and good friends. We laughed, watched movies, made cookies, s'mores, ate pizza and played in the snow and played games. It turned out to be a great day. Full of fun and troubles forgotten.

(Note: I pirated these pictures from my roommates since my camera died and I didn't have extra batteries...)

Michelle showed up at our house unexpectedly about 10 or so. She decided that she wanted to go for a walk in the snow and figured we lived close. We watched Muppet Christmas Carole and drank hot chocolate and measured the snow (very scientifically of course :P)

Michelle left about noon and shortly there after we saw a poor guy trying to get his car out of the snow. We dressed warmly and headed over to try to help. we were able to get it to the side of the road out of harms way, but not much farther. On the way home we made some snow angels, following Emma's example.

Up until about 2 Emma's was scheduled to work at the mall at 3, but after trying to help the guy move his car we told her (for about the 100th time) that her going to work was suicide...if we could even get her car out of the driveway. She called her manager again and thankfully she was told that they were closing their store early and they would take the fine that Tysons Corner mall would give them for not being open, but it wasn't worth it to endanger the lives of their employees...That's when the real party began!

I felt so much better that Emma didn't have to work. I was thinking about going with her to work if she had had to go so she wouldn't have to try to drive alone, but gratefully she didn't have to work.

The Onley boys started pelting our house with snow balls about 2:30 or 3. They were trying to hide behind our snow covered cars but we knew it was them and we invited them in. Andrew stopped by too...We made hot chocolate, cookies, bread and finished watching White Christmas.

After the cookies were made we decided to go deliver them to Michelle and to Steve, Dan, Brad and Ryan's house. We bundled up again and headed out...we took our time. Everyone kept ending up in the snow bank...odd I know...
We collected Michelle and headed over to Steve and roommates' house. at some point it was decided that we could go to the Onley house to make s'mores, pizza and play games by the fireplace. We convinced Michelle to come with us, even though the other boys weren't interested. We stopped by Safeway (which was open, but didn't have ANY milk or eggs) to get s'more makings. John and Scott had headed off earlier to start the pizza and fire. The rest of us showed up about an hour or so later.

Stomping through sometimes knee high snow is tiring about 9:30 we were about ready to fall asleep on the couches and decided we should head home. We took a 'short cut' through the park and ended up in more knee high snow and Emma ended up chest high at one point...

In the end we ended up with about 20 inches of snow. Beautiful, but dangerous. Sunday morning my folks called about 7:30 am to see if I was going to try to leave...I looked online and the VA department of transportation still showed not just the secondary, but even the primary roads (such as 495 and 95) in sever conditions. I told them no at first, that I would wait, but the more I thought about it and the more I looked at the traffic cameras and saw the freeways moving that I decided that IF I could get my car out of the snow and make it to 495 I would head down to GA only a day later then planned.

My car Friday night at the beginning of the storm
My car Saturday night....I swear it's there :) somewhere....

I was shoveling my car out when my roommate's brother showed up to see if he could borrow our shovel (which we borrowed from the Onley House). I basically told him that I was trying to get my car out and if I could get it out he could have the shovel. We had a well devised plan (remember...I have snow experience and so does he, unlike some of those people we were pushing out of the snow banks on Saturday) It only took us about another 20 minutes or so to dig my car out and I parked it (probably illegally) in a wide spot on the road so I didn't get stuck and headed back to the house. I showered, finished packing and called Reed (who's flight had be canceled and rescheduled for Christmas Eve he thought, but couldn't get a hold of anyone from the airline to confirm it) to see if he was going to come with me to Atlanta and try to find a flight from there...he still wasn't sure what was going on so he decided to stay in DC and tough it out (good news! I just heard from Reed...he made it home :)).

I left about 11 when all was said and done. Driving on 495 was a harrowing experience at times. Just because I know how to drive in snow doesn't mean others do...I saw 5 or so accidents/disabled cars between when I got on to 495 at 66 until I exited to of them on 95 right were those from 495 were trying to merge onto was a MESS! At times we were forced by snowplows or disable vehicles to move more into the unploughed areas and lets do the math; 20 inches of snow compared to the height of the bottom of a Chevy Malibu...hmmm lets think about that one...I was a little worried I was going to get stuck, but thankfully I didn't. Someone was looking out for me and I think my roommates, parents and my prayers were being answered.

After about Stafford, VA things started clearing out. The roads were even almost dry. After that it was basically smooth sailing. I turned off of I-20 West onto GA-441 about 8:30pm (about an hour from my folks house) and met my folks there and my mom drove me the rest of the way through the dark twisted roads of rural GA and my dad followed in their van. I'm SO happy to be in a place with no snow :) and to have made it 'home' for Christmas only a day late thrills me to no end.


Our Virginia Winter Wonderland