I left the office to run some errands on my lunch break, noticed how slick the roads already had become, then returned and started making calls to cancel my evening Seed Saving class (I've rescheduled for two nights). By then, local schools had all announced that they would be sending kids home two hours ahead of the usual schedule, and parents all headed home so kids wouldn't be left in empty houses.
Just about that same time, county employees (of which I am one) were told that they could leave early if they needed to, but that they would have to use annual leave (vacation time!) to cover that absence. By 2 p.m., my office was down to three employees. I stayed until 4:15 p.m. (those vacation hours are precious), but I wanted to make at least part of the drive in daylight. It took an hour and a half to go the first mile. Some areas were covered up in cars that couldn't go anyplace, and navigating between them was a little bit hair-raising.
I saw an astounding number of pedestrians, which at first I thought was pretty cool, but then I figured out that most of those people were walking because they had abandoned their cars -- which were now blocking roads all over the place.
I am one of the lucky ones. My drive took a little less than five hours (it's a nine mile commute), and I only had trouble twice. The first time, the driver of a Marietta Schools bus helped me get my car moving over a slick patch. He had no passengers at that time, and based on all the reports I've heard of schools filled with stranded kids, I am sure he needed to be somewhere else.
The second time, I was stuck on a hill that provided about as much traction as greased glass, and other cars began to go around mine. I had about a quart of dirt in a container in the back of the car (I am a gardener, after all), and I tossed a little behind and in front of my front wheels, and that gave me enough of a boost to continue up the icy hill.
Of course, this was the first time in a very long time that I accidentally had left my cell phone in the dining room when I headed for work in the morning. Phone-less, I had no way to let Joe know where I was or how I was doing.
When I finally got home, I could see that I had been constantly on his mind. Not only did he run out in his socks to give me a long, hard hug, but he also had shoveled out tracks on the driveway so I would have an easy stop (rather than a slide into the garage doors) at the end of my journey. Those tracks were like a big, non-icy welcome mat! He said he had been less than 15 minutes from getting into the Jeep to come look for me.
|Two cleared tracks like a welcome mat, shoveled from our slippery driveway.|
Other people who work in my office ran into a lot more trouble on the road. One who lives just another mile or so beyond me had a seven hour drive home; two got home at five this morning; one still wasn't home when I heard last at 10 a.m.; a couple others got home after midnight.
One of Joe's coworkers drove for nine hours, then had to leave his car and walk the last mile and a half. Others didn't make it more than a mile from work and walked away from their stranded vehicles to the nearby home of a friend, where they all still are. My next door neighbor just got home about an hour ago, around 1:00 p.m.
I had a call this morning, early, from my boss, with the message that county offices would be opening at noon today. By 10 a.m., though, the county website announced that county offices would remain closed for the entire day (good call). I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, the website doesn't say yet, but at two in the afternoon the road in front of my house is still providing some excellent sledding. I'm thinking that's not a good sign for any of us who might be asked to report to work in the morning.
I hope that all of the rest of my gardening friends are safe, warm, well-fed, and able to enjoy at least part of the craziness!