Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow. My. God.

So, counting the physical time in the car, the dinner, the evening spent working at the friends' house, the sleeping at the friends' house, and the omelets in the morning, it took me just over 19 hours to get home yesterday.

No, I'm not talking about commuting from the East Coast. I'm talking about a normally thirty- to forty-minute commute from Bellevue (where my company is based) to Grubb Street (which in near Panther Lake on the East Hill of Kent - the key word here is "hill").

Yes, it is the start of the snow season here in Seattle, where madness rules on the streets and we all tip towards anarchy.

I thought I was smart. I had packed a travel bag on Monday morning and took it with me to work. I left the office early, at 4, before the sun went down. Little did I dream that it was already far too late and that I was doomed.

Doomed, I say! Already thick flakes were coming down, adding to a snowpack that had been accumulating all morning. An inch, maybe, and mere sundry in Pittsburgh terms, but in this land of insufficient plows and sparce sanding, enough to completely shut down the city. Already the roads were slick, and made worse by the fact that there were people who had no clue how to drive in snow (I'm looking at you, little miss "5 miles an hour with your flashers on" - thanks for completely snarling the traffic behind you for miles with your sociopathic rejection of standard commuter mores).

Still, only a half hour to reach Renton itself, at the base of the hill I needed to climb. Still daylight. But then everything fell apart. My first choice route up the hill was solidly blocked. OK, we go to the second. A half-hour later I am still not moving on my second choice. Another half-hour not moving at my third choice. Apparently there were accidents on I-5, and they were channeling the traffic onto the surface streets. At in the meantime the snow beneath my tires had become ice and things had a hard time moving even on level. There was no way I was going to get up the hill and home.

A call the Lovely Bride who called friends in the Kent Valley, a level shot from where I was currently stranded. They were more than willing to help, and I did bring my own luggage. So I spent a very nice dinner and evening working (I had also brought hard copy to work on), and crashed on the spare bed in one of the offices.

And in the morning, the roads still glistened with now-compacted ice. I made a valiant attempt at omelets (better than I normally do, but still too brown) and made another attempt at the now-mostly-empty hill leading up to Grubb Street. With the direct sun and the passing traffic, it was mostly easy, but once getting on the roads on top of the hill the ice returned.

Now I am home safely. The Lovely Bride is making a fire and the Houseguest is working on her files. And I get to change into some dry socks, which I did NOT pack into the go bag.

Ah well, I learn as I go forward.

More later,