Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do-over, anyone?

It's crazy! How can merely an inch of snow wreak so much havoc on our day? It started out well enough, but went downhill fast. First of all, since this is what the post should have been about, happy eighteenth birthday to my baby girl!

I had the day all planned out; after sending the kids to school I had some clean up to do in the house, then a trip to the bakery to pick up Safa's favorite caramel cake. Then meet a dear friend for lunch at 11:30, before the kids came home. The couple of flurries predicted in the forecast were not going to interfere with my day! Well, it didn't actually turn out that way. I was leaving the house at 10 when Safa called to tell me her school was closing at 10:30 because of the weather. No worries, she could drive home, carefully. And when I got the call that Hamza was getting out at 10:45 I just asked her to detour to Birmingham and pick him up on the way home. Still no biggie. My twenty five minute drive down to the bakery was fine, so I figured hers would be good too. Then I got a call that Bilal's school was letting out at 11:30. And the bus would bring him home. Even if I wasn't back, Safa should be home by then. But the next call was from his school stating that the buses were grounded and we had to pick up the kids from school ourselves. So I picked up the cake and headed back. The drive back was not that straightforward. Instead of 65-70MPH, I came up the interstate about 20-25MPH, keeping at least a 6-7 car length distance between my car and the one ahead of me. Then the SUV in front of me skidded several times, and came to a stop at exactly 180 degrees. So I was pointing northbound and she was southbound, right in front of me, in my lane! So I put on my hazard lights and made sure she was OK. She was too scared to drive for a while, so I stayed parked there, blocking her car from other traffic, until she finally got the courage to reverse in the shoulder and drive off.

Then after observing several cars spun off the road, and getting stuck in traffic multiple times, I made it to Bilal's school about 2 hours later. The car was skidding as were they all, but fortunately I managed to maintain control. Got him and made the cautious drive back home. By then, Zakir had canceled clinic, left work, and was headed home. But his rear wheel drive did not fare so well. He got stuck multiple times, had to buy cat litter from a gas station for traction, moved a little, and got stuck again. Just as I was planning on going to get him, he managed to get out again. After multiple traffic jams and several detours, he finally made it home by a little after 4pm. After about 5 hours on the road! Unfortunately he will have to get a bent wheel looked at, but that is the worst of the damage.

Meanwhile, where were Safa and Hamza? Still stuck on the road! The car would not go up a hill, and had to be pushed, then they had to turn around and try a detour. They finally made it to our old house, along with a classmate that she was driving home. At least they were able to go inside (she still has the house key on her keychain), and turn up the heat. Her car basically wouldn't drive anywhere with the slightest incline. And the trip home is by no means level roads. There are a lot of hills! So I headed out to get her, and got stuck in horrible traffic, plus the car temporarily got stuck twice. Thankfully I was able to navigate it out, mostly because I had again wisely kept my distance from the car in front. We agreed that the kids would drive to the library and I would meet them there. But her car got stuck in the driveway! So they ended up walking to the library (which was incidentally closed due to the inclement weather). A nice lady, seeing that they weren't wearing gloves, and Safa didn't even have socks on, got them three brand new pairs of socks to wear on hands and feet. Thank God for kind people! I managed to pick them up from the street side, and drove through some very dangerous road conditions, to get them home by 4:15. Finally, all five of us, plus a friend, at home. Oh, and did I mention that on my way to picking them up, I stopped at the middle school and delivered a neighbor's son to his mom? A neighbor I hadn't even met before. But I would have wanted someone to do it for my kid if he were stranded at school!

While this was all going on, Safa's classmate's mom was on the road from Birmingham, trying to make it to our house, and then hers. She finally made it after dark, but the road to her home was blocked. So they are crashing at our house today, in hopes that things will be better by the morning. Hopefully there will be some sand on the roads by then. I feel blessed that God has given us the capacity to help out whenever possible.

My drive back from the bakery. It wasn't too bad then
Our snowy home
So now, everyone is tucked in for the night, and on a positive note, we had delicious homemade Philly cheesesteaks and birthday cake for dinner. A memorable eighteenth birthday for my baby!

And the forecast from this weekend? Sunny and sixty degrees!


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