When I heard that the news reported Seattle has gotten an inch of snow, I thought "big deal...they freak out over a little snow which will probably be gone when I get home". It's hard to care about snow when you are enjoying sunshine.
When I travel, I really miss my dog. I've gotten over the anxiety involved with taking him to Paradise Pet Lodge, as he actually seems to enjoy it. But I miss my little baby all the same. Knowing that I would see my poochie soon made the three plane flights over as many days more bearable. Each one, brought me closer to Jonas and home. Well, that is true literally, but here I sit sans dog. I miss Jonas!
As my car service drove me away from the airport, soggy snow fell from the sky; big, ploppy, wet clumps of snow. It was hard to tell what traffic issues were caused by snow and which were caused by rush hour. We zipped past them in the carpool lane. But as we closed in on Redmond, it became clear that we had a problem. I think I have mentioned that I live on a hill; a steep one. We tried several routes and could not get up the hill. I literally got to within about a quarter mile of my house with no way of getting there. The snow and rain had frozen into slick ice and people were abandoning their cars on the side of the road. By the time the driver asked me why I bought a house at the top of a hill, I was considering measuring the circumference of his neck with my hands. I'm sure they could make it around if I just squeeze a little tighter. The driver was totally spooked by the conditions. Evidently, they have snow in Russia but not hills. Also, evidently, they don't know that if someone is making a panicky phone cal to their dad (hey, I'm not proud), you should not interrupt them every twenty seconds with "where do I go?". At some point I snapped at him "Are you telling me that you are going to leave me on the side of the road? Go wherever you can drive". Yeah. vacation is relaxing.
I ended up spending the night all of about 1.5 miles from my house at the Marriott at Redmond Town Center. I called to book one of the few remaining rooms and my heart sank when I heard the room rate was $299. There's a difference between paying that much when you are on vacation, but under these conditions? I later found out that I could ask for the "Microsoft rate" (we put many candidates at the Marriott) that would save me more than a hundred bucks (blue badge required) so that was a bit of a relief. I went up stairs, dropped off my copious bags and then headed downstairs for a bog glass of wine. I would never go to a bar by myself (I'm not much of a bar patron anyway), but I grabbed a magazine and my cell phone and ordered a glass of Merlot (Sideways be damned). I had dinner and drinks and met some nice CapGemini folks in town doing business with Microsoft (and you know that I can't not try to recruit people). Anyway, I actually ended up having fun, despite the fact that I had no idea whether I could get home the next day.
And why didn't I bring my laptop on vacation? I questioned that decision. The worst part of the scenario was that I found myself being an optimist about the whole thing. Seriously, I annoyed myself. I considered myself lucky to have luggage with me (though perhaps the big box with the candle sticks could have been sent through the mail). I was at Redmond Town Center so if I got stuck the next day, I could go to the movies. Heck, there was even a Microsoft office nearby if I wanted to hunker down with a PC in the lobby. Eddie Bauer was across the street so I could go buy gloves if I needed to. I had several restaurant options to choose from. I was a tourist in my own neighborhood and I had enough clean clothes to last me for a couple days. Granted, they weren't really winter clothes. Don't rain on my newfound optimism. It's a coping mechanism.
Next morning, after Paradise Pet Lodge called to let me know Jonas was ready for pick-up <sob>, I decided I was going to make some progress (which is hard with a couple of suit cases, by the way). I literally had to talk the town car driver into taking me home. Yeah, the car driver who was standing there with nothing to do...I pressured him into driving me, telling him I know a less steep route up the hill, explaining that the areas with sun shining on them were melting that my route home was mostly sunny. When we got close enough that I could conceivably drag my suitcases home, I was relieved. There were abandoned cars all over the place. That was yesterday.
Today, it's all still frozen. But it's almost 30 degrees at 9:30 AM and I'm hoping we get some meltage today. In the meantime, I'm conducting the post-vacation dumping of the suitcases in the living room that then results in the massive laundry frenzy. I may even do some cleaning tonight...the kind that is hard to do with a wet dog nose pressed into your arm. You know, the kind of cleaning that requires you to get on the floor and vacuum under something or requires that paws don't tromp through while the floor is still wet. That kind of cleaning. I'm distracting myself with constructive projects so I don't dwell on how eerie my house is without my little boo boo here. I miss that cold wet nose.
Before you start wondering why the heck some snow and ice is such a problem here in the Seattle area, consider that this is an extreme rarity. In the seven years I have been here, I think we had one other ice storm that caused problems and it cleared up the next day. Frankly, I wouldn't care so much if it weren't for the fact that I was trying to get home from vacation. I find it kind of cozy to be tucked away in my house with some comfort food and a fire in the fireplace. Seattle is just ill equipped for extreme weather. And like my car driver said "why did you buy a house on a hill?". "Because this never happens". I predict a ballot initiative to add new road clearing equipment after this storm. Buy it now. Dang ozone layer.
Anyway, given that it is such a novelty, the kids in the neighborhood are having a lot of fun. Schools are closed and there's plenty of snow for snow men. I'm not sure that we ever have enough ice for the kids here to know about skitching, but I don't recommend they do it. One of our stupider stunts in the midwest, if you ask me.
I'm lucky to live next door to people that have really great kids. I'm not a fan of screaming and sticky fingers, but I have to say that these kids are really just sweet, good natured, polite and cute. No there aren't children in my future, but it's not because I dislike kids. I love the ones with parents that take the time to teach them how to behave. The ones whining and demanding candy in the store make me want to poke myself in the arm with something sharp. That's just me.
Two of the neighbor kids came by last night to ask if they could use some of the snow in my front yard (cute!). I asked if they were going to build a snow man and the six year old girl told me that actually they wants to make snow balls to nail their dads car. Hee! You can't dust for snow...it didn't come from my yard. Anyway, they played in the snow in my yard and left me a snow angel in front of the window. I'm not sure if you can see it in this photo. So I'm not a photographer:
Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be making a trip down the hill today but still trying to focus on the fun of the snow. It's hard not to appreciate it when you see kids playing in it outside. My next car will have 4-wheel drive.