Remember the other day? When I complained about driving the kids around so much? I should have waited until today to complain because today was the worst.
I thought I was going to get off easy today. Dean took Clare to school at 7 this morning. All I’d have to do was take Andrew at 10 and pick Clare up at 12. Andrew said he’d get the bus home. Easy day.
I drove Andrew to school as planned, then did some work in my attic office. Then it began to snow. It was light at first – I sat here looking out the window thinking how pretty it was and how much I was going to enjoy the drive to school to get Clare if big fat flakes were falling. I continued to work and occasionally looked out the window to marvel at what a little snow does to the landscape.
At 11:30 I decided to head out and brush the two inches of white powdery snow off my car. The road was covered in snow, and slippery under my daughter’s cast-off faux Uggs. I wondered, briefly, if I should take the SUV instead, but thought that my car would be fine, and when I headed up the street (a very slight incline) I was confident all would be well.
All was well until I turned off Bradley and onto a side street. This street is somewhat steep, narrow and curvy. Not like that street in San Francisco, but not like the Ohio Turnpike either. If I’d had the road to myself I may have swerved and gone straight to a less hilly street up the road, but I was in the turn when I saw the 4 stuck cars on Rayburn. This included a pick-up truck that was facing the wrong way in the right hand lane (and partially on someone’s yard). So, I called forth all of my driving in northern Illinois winters memories, held fast to the steering wheel and drove up the hill, avoiding the pick-up by a few inches.
There were cars behind me and cars facing me in the other lane, but no one in front of me so I didn’t have to worry about rear-ending anyone. I drove very slowly, but kept my foot on the gas and I made progress. Slowly. I was lucky that I never had to stop, because I might not have started again. I made it to the top of the hill and then waited for the slow progression of cars to pass me on Wilson. Turning right on Wilson was fine, I figured I’d been through the worst part, but as I inched up to the top of a slight hill approaching Whittier, I saw I’d been mistaken. Cars were off the road and those that were moving were slipping and sliding sideways and backwards. I slipped sideways twice and once had to hold the steering wheel very tightly as I skidded forward a number of feet.
Once I turned onto Whittier it was better, more crowded, but flatter. As expected, the road in front of Whitman was a madhouse. Pretty much a parking lot while parents sat in their cars calling their students on their cell phones or waited in the right turn lane to turn into the parking lot. I’d already decided to park the car outside Whittier Woods and call Clare to come to me.
So I called and got her idiotic answer message of some puppets saying Snape, Snape, Severus Snape over and over again. I tried again. No answer. So I texted her that I was outside Wittier Woods. Then I sat and watched as the big fat flakes I’d been looking forward to driving in covered the car windows. A few minutes later Clare called and said that she was hanging out with friends and didn’t need a ride home.
Here I’d like to say I was understanding and wonderfully motherly, but I’d be lying. I told her how angry I was that I risked my life driving in the snow and couldn’t she have told me that earlier? She said she did and I said, you said you were going to hang out with your friends on Thursday. She said, Mom, it is Thursday. I said, oops. Sorry.
So I made my slow way back home, this time wisely avoiding
Lombard East Rayburn.
I headed up to the attic and began working and admiring the pretty snow that now had covered the trees so that the whole world looked like a black and white photograph with some sort of blur effect.
Then the phone rang. It was Andrew. Wrestling practice was canceled and he needed me to pick him up.
I took the SUV this time.