Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! It’s been a few days since I have constructed a blog post, and to be honest, it’s not easy going today either, but I felt obligated. No reason, I’m just tired. It’s been a crazy few days.

On Thursday, during the blizzard, I headed up to Vermont to pick up my daughter because it was the start of her spring break. It probably would have made a world more sense to leave on Friday, after the storm had passed, but I knew doing a one day round trip would have wrecked me.
I did have my “Jesus take the wheel” moment while driving up. I was headed north on Route 287, a major three lane highway in New Jersey. I was in the middle lane, tootling along at 35 mph, in the two narrow tire strips of clean pavement, when I neared a truck from Alabama. It was throwing up so much slush and snow, I moved over into the fast lane so I would have an empty lane between us. Then the truck decides to move over into the middle lane. I can’t speed up because it’s not safe – I pushed it at 38 to no avail, but was not willing to go faster. I could not slow down because then I would be getting the full brunt of the slush flying off the truck. Basically, I was stuck, white-knuckled, and none too happy, just behind the cab of the truck.

That is when the rocket scientist of a truck drive decided he wanted to come into the fast lane. A) Trucks are NOT allowed in the fast lane in New Jersey, and B) The lane was OCCUPIED! He began to cross into my lane, and kicked up enough muck to completely cover my windshield, effectually blinding me. Instinctively, I began to swerve to the left, onto the unplowed left buffer, to avoid the truck, and flipped my wipers on high so I could see. The windshield cleared just in time for me to correct my trajectory and avoid hitting the cement median by inches. By the grace of God alone, I was able to maintain control of my vehicle on the icy snowy road.

The truck driver must have realized his error, because by the time I righted myself, he was several car lengths behind me, and moving over to the slow lane. Thankfully, the rest stop was only a few more miles away, and I would be able to pull over and compose myself.

Southerners, I love you, truly I do, but y’all should seriously reconsider crossing the Mason-Dixon line during the winter months. You are ill-equipped to handle the treacherous driving conditions.

It was very strange, the snow did not cross the state line. It was snowing like crazy in NJ, but when I crossed over into NY, nothing. WooHoo! Perhaps I would reach Vermont hail and whole after all.

As I was getting off the exit, I kept hearing this unusual scraping noise, and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to steer the car. I’m thinking – just what I need, car trouble, during a blizzard, and over two and a half hours away from home. Just ducky!

I maneuver my car into a spot, in the blessedly covered parking deck, and get out to have a look. I’m not mechanically inclined, however I was praying for it to be something obvious, and easily repairable. It was blatantly obvious what the problem was, and in hindsight, I wish I had snapped a picture before I corrected the problem. All four of my tires were completely encrusted with snow. It was packed solid into the wheel wells, and was scraping against the tires. I pulled a photo off the internet to show you what I mean, but my car was much worse than the photo.

For the next twenty minutes, I kicked at the bumpers and the running boards trying to displace the snow, and I managed to get about 80% of it off. There were sections under the running boards that were just solid ice, and no matter how much I kicked, it wasn’t budging, so I gave up.

When I pulled out of the Sloatsburg Rest Stop, my nerves had calmed, the car was driving well again, and the snow had stopped. Two hours later, I was cruising up Route 87, at a more road eating pace of 68mph, when a Jeep Cherokee from – you guessed it – Alabama, slams on his breaks right in front of me. I swerve into the left lane (there was very little traffic, and we were all traveling in the slow lane, so I knew there was no one on my left), and then I realize why the Cherokee driver hit his brakes – a NY state trooper, decided to swing a Uie at one of the breaks in the median. Now I’m thinking the trooper isn’t going to stop, and pull right into traffic, so I swerve back into the right lane.

Good grief! Unless you are traveling through Hazard County and Roscoe P. Coltrane is on duty, no state trooper is going to pull you over for going THREE miles over the speed limit. (My cruise control was set at exactly 68 and we had been traveling at that exact speed for over half an hour when the clown slammed on his brakes.)

I had my hand on my chest, trying to keep my heart from beating thorough my chest when the state trooper drove past me. He looked over, rolled his eyes and sped off shaking his head. I’d like to think he was referencing the guy hitting his brakes and not me, considering he didn’t pull me over.

By the time I got to Vermont – which was beautiful sunny blue skies and 17°, I had had enough. I picked up soup and sandwiches from Panara, Lys and I had an early dinner, and I was sound asleep by 9:30.

The next morning, I felt SO bad. I was exhausted, plus I have a little bit of a cold, and my daughter told me I kept her up because I was snoring. How embarrassing. I asked her why she didn’t throw something at me to make me wake up and stop. She said because she knew how tired I was. I felt terrible. She couldn’t sleep because of me, and she had two classes to go to before we could leave. It’s four days later and I still feel guilty about it.

Saturday, Lys spent twelve hours making her cousin’s birthday cake. Here’s a photo of her latest masterpiece. The child has a definite flair for cake decorating. Yesterday my maid of honor and her sister came over for brunch. We had a blast! Then yesterday afternoon we had my nephew Max’s and Lys’ combined birthday party over at my sister-in-law’s. Today, I’m whooped. Thank goodness I have nowhere I have to be, and nothing I have to do today, because honestly, I don’t have the energy.
Okay, I have rambled on long enough for one day. I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Use the following “Friends were things of the past, of his other life.” Bonus points if you either start or finish your challenge with the sentence.

Quote taken from Man Hunt by K. Edwin Fritz – available on Amazon.

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.