Winter Driving In Iowa: I Need A Drink And A Clean Pair of Underwear

Is this the guy forecasting our weather?  SERIOUSLY!!!!!!

Is this the guy forecasting our weather? SERIOUSLY!!!!!!

Last year’s winter spoiled us.  I think it snowed twice, and one of the times it snowed it technically wasn’t winter yet.  Oh how I had forgotten how awful winter can be, especially when you have to drive in it.

The bad weather that they forecast last week?  We got some snow, but nowhere near the Snowmageddon that they were anticipating.  The other day we started out with a 30% chance of pm light snow and we got a major snowstorm.  I came to work expecting a little bit of snow by nightfall.  It started snowing a little a few minutes after I got there.  It didn’t stop.  It got heavier.  I shrugged it off.  Not gonna panic.  Nope.  I figured it would let up soon.

Then they let the schools out early.  My son was able to go to the sitter’s house, which was good because there was no way I was going to be able to get there on time to get him!  Even though this important detail was taken care of, I was starting to get somewhat nervous.  Somehow I manage to convince myself that just like last week it’s just a state of panic.  Yet I’m spending a good amount of time fixated on the white stuff that is getting heavier and heavier outside our classroom window.  Finally at 2:30 the out of town people, me being one of them, were dismissed and we headed out.  I figured it wasn’t too bad yet-I was wrong.

The following is the tale of my harrowing ride home:

Did I mention that I live close to a half hour away?  Part of this drive is highway, part of it is interstate, and a small portion of it is county road. The interstates are usually cleared and the best form of travel in this kind of weather.  However getting there is half the battle.  I have to drive on the world’s worst highway to get there.

I go 30 miles an hour down the highway that I usually drive at 65 miles per hour.  It’s very slippery and scary and I am very scared as I see cars in the ditches everywhere.  This is a sample of what I was saying as I was going driving and sliding around:

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!
Shitshitshitshitshit!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I finally give up and turn off the highway to cut through town.  I don’t think they own a snowplow.  Or salt.  Or sand.  They just let you slide around and fear for your life.  Intersections are anxiety provoking, especially when you have to drive into traffic that may or may not be able to stop for you.

Princess Defiant does not like this, “Where are we going?  Why did you get off the highway?”
Me:  “Because I don’t want to keep driving on this road.  I want to go through town to get on the safer exit.”  (Translation-I don’t want to die trying to get on the interstate.)

There could have been definite spewing on my little journey.  Less singing and more screaming too.

There could have been definite spewing on my little journey. Less singing and more screaming too.

I knew once I got on the interstate it would be better, but it didn’t make it any less scary getting there.

Once I was on the interstate, travel was definitely an improvement, but there were a few moments when I really thought I was going to die.

Nonononononononononononononononono.  This is what I uttered every time a semi drove past me doing 90, splattering my windshield with slushy stuff and almost forcing me off the road.

At one point we passed ambulances and state patrol cars on the opposite side of the road.  There was a car half in the ditch with nothing left of the front end.  If it wasn’t a compact before, it definitely was now.  I was really getting nervous.

That’s when I hear Princess Defiant sigh and then ask in a very loud annoyed voice:  “WHEN WILL BE HOME????”
Me:  “This is scary driving.  We need to take our time.  I don’t want to have an accident.”
Silence from the backseat for a moment, then she asks, “What do you mean have an accident ANYWAY????”
Oh.  She thinks accidents are when you pee or poop your pants, which I actually came pretty close to doing, so she really wasn’t far off in that thinking.
Time to be blunt.  “It means crash the car.”
“Oh” she says quietly, then I hear her whisper very loudly “I don’t think I want you to crash the car.”  That’s nice that you’re on the fence about that, dear.

Eventually the longest drive of my recent life ended.  It took us almost an hour to make a 23 minute drive.  We picked up my son and were able to drive the few blocks home from there with minimal sliding around.

I texted my husband when I got home to let him know that I got there safely and gave him an idea of how the roads were.  Apparently he thought I was mocking him.  He texted me back that he was planning on driving it after a few drinks.  Brat.

So I didn’t die.  I drove in Iowa winter weather and once again lived to tell the tale.  At least until next time.  We’re expecting snow next week…

Thankfully my drive didn't end in disaster like this one did...

Thankfully my drive didn’t end in disaster like this one did…

Wordless Wednesday: Snowman

Oh it is Wednesday, isn’t it?

IMG_1663

Theme Thursday: Wintertime Where The Sleddin is Easy (If You Have Hills)

snowman-2012

I didn’t build it, but I think he’s very cute!

You know what really grinds my gears?  WINTER.  No not really, I just wanted to put that in there.

I like snow.  I like it to fall and be all pretty for Christmas, and then I just want it to please, please just go away.  So I’m really not a huge fan of winter itself, though I will say that I had a hard time when I lived in Florida-it was difficult not really having that change in seasons.  Last winter was a fairly warm one here in Iowa, and we really only had two snows, one which wasn’t even during actual winter (in November, actually!)

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a nice little trailer that we owned.  Winter meant frozen pipes about once a year.  I remember losing more than one hair dryer to the undercarriage of the trailer.  Eventually my husband bought a space heater and just left it under the trailer by the evil pipes.  It was all ready to plug in for the inevitable.  I do remember it always seemed to happen at the most inopportune times.  The year I was 39 weeks pregnant, for example, was not a cool time for that to happen on Christmas Eve.

winter

I do remember having all kinds of fun in the snow as a child.  I spent a good amount of time outside.  It may have had something to do with the fact that “The Empire Strikes Back” came out around the time I was in kindergarten.  All that time pretending to be on the ice planet Hoth.  We built forts and snowmen and snow tunnels and all kinds of really cool stuff.  Come inside?  It was more fun OUTSIDE!!

Now we have two children who really like the “idea” of snow, but aren’t so keen on the snow itself.  They get all fired up to go out the first time it snows, and will play outside for awhile and then come in.  The next time, they aren’t as enthused, and by maybe the fifth time I ask them to go out they will suddenly invent other things that they have to do inside. They have been wanting to build a snowman, but lack the motivation and knowledge to do so.  My son actually came in and asked for directions.  I really think he wanted me to pull out a laminated instruction book!

You don't need instructions, you just need an imagination.  A warped one is even better.

You don’t need instructions, you just need an imagination. A warped one is even better.

I’m not sure if I should be trying harder to get them to toughen up or write them up some plans on what to do while they are out there.  Today for example, I actually got them to go out.  We have a fenced in backyard, so I can let them out and just keep an ear to the door while they are out there.  Within five minutes I hear ear piercing screaming.  I went outside and investigated.  Princess Difficult was sitting in a sled, shrieking, and her brother was standing next to her, bopping her on the head with one of those balls you sit on and bounce around on.  He wasn’t hurting her, but apparently she really didn’t like it.  I should have taken a picture.  What do these kids think they are supposed to do in the snow?  I’m thinking we’re going to have to go find a big hill-that might make things a bit more interesting.  We live in the flattest town in Iowa.  There are really no hills! In order to go sledding we have to drive somewhere to do it.

This was when the snow first fell.  You can tell this because she looks like she is actually having fun.

This was when the snow first fell. You can tell this because she looks like she is actually having fun.

He too looks quite happy, but it makes me wonder about what?

He too looks quite happy, but it makes me wonder about what?

We have investigated the array of snow enjoyment materials they have at Target and Walmart.  Of course they had sleds, which only really helps if you have hills. They did have snowshoes for kids-these looked very tempting to me but were a little pricey for a kids item (I think they were $10 each).  I really think I might go to Goodwill and buy tennis rackets to make my own for them.  Other things I saw included some sort of snowball launcher (which made me think of the scene from Elf).  My husband made a lot of fun of that one.  There were these little tubes of colored stuff that you could use to “write” in the snow.  Couldn’t you do that with paint, or with your pee (come on boys, you’ve ALL done it!)  We HAVE all the good stuff:  shovels, buckets, snow brick mold.  If only we could convince our kids to use them!

How long will we have this weather?  It’s only January.  Since we live in Iowa the length of the season can go either way-it can be warm and end early in March (unlikely, unless you count last year) or it can be freezing cold and snowy and last clear into June (that has seemed to happen more than once).  I vote for a winter with some snow to throw my children out into and ending right around the last week of March.  That would be just peachy.

In the meantime, we’ll get out a little every day when we can, make sure we have plenty of warm blankets and warm drinks so we are toasty warm and happy all winter long. Then we’ll move into a season I can really get behind-good old SPRING!

It will all be over soon.  In the meantime...

It will all be over soon. In the meantime…

If you didn’t find this blog through Theme Thursday, come on over to Something Clever 2.0 and read other people’s takes on “Winter”!  If you did-HEY, go back and read some MORE!  😉