Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow Panic Part Deux

The only real irony here is that today, when one of my co-workers called and said that they didn't want to get caught in a freak snowstorm, I told the story about how this one day, in 1995, there was a snowstorm. The weathermen in Portland FREAKED OUT - they thought it was going to be the "BLIZZARD OF THE CENTURY" or "BLIZZARD WATCH 1995" as it were. They recommended that businesses close and send workers home, that schools and government agencies close and send everyone to the safety of their homes.

So, they did.

What ensued was the most ridiculous and sad, GIGANTIC traffic jam that lasted hours and hours. I was over on the Northeast side of Portland and it took me a little over 7 hours to get home that day. By the time I reached the Sunset Highway, there was NO SNOW. Wait. Let me say it again - NO SNOW. It had all melted. Driving was still tricky because, in addition to the massive traffic jam, we also had to dodge all the cars that had run out of gas on the freeway and were immediately abandoned in the middle of the freeway. When I heard that I decided I would not be one of those people. Before getting on the freeway that afternoon, I waited through 33 traffic signals to get the last gallon of gas at the last gas station out of town. I counted 99 cars on my way up the hill before traffic got moving enough that I didn't have time to count the cars anymore.

Why is this ironic, you ask?

Well, when it started snowing at 2:30 PM - completely unexpectedly (I thought the freak snowstorm was local to Wilsonville - a town south of here)- I started preparing to go home. I really, really, REALLY didn't want to stay at work overnight. I could have gotten a room at the Hilton across the street, but the last time I did that, it barely snowed and I had clothes with me. It took me until almost 4 PM to get out of there - just enough time to not know how bad it was or how bad it was going to be. AND I needed gas.

I should have stayed at work. I'm pretty sure I was in the car by around 4:15 or 4:30 PM. It took me an hour and a half to get from the office, across the bridge to the best exit (small hill) to get gas. I got gas and stopped at a restaurant for some food and read a little while before attempting to work my way through Portland on surface streets (the freeways were backed up SOLID).

I thought I would stop at Lloyd Center Barnes and Noble and kill time. The temperature was supposed to go up around 8 PM and all would be well. When I got there, they were ushering people out the door with a sign out front saying they were closing early(7:30pm). So, I slowly made my way downtown and decided to go to Powell's. I got there by 8:30pm. They were closing at 9:00pm. So, I got back in my car and decided it was probably clear enough to get on the freeway - even if the road was icy, they would be free of traffic, right?

Well, folks, I arrived home at 10:30 PM tonight. I will be putting some clothes and toiletries in my car tomorrow - for just such emergencies. Next time, I'm going to go on, get a room at the Hilton and watch cable TV instead.  I hope someone will remind me of this in the future, so that I never do this again. It is ridiculous and frustrating and pointless.

So, here are photos of the snow at my house. I would have taken some earlier except that I didn't have my camera with me. Or my iPod. Or my Kindle. Or ANYTHING. It was a long day.

Snow in the yard, the back yard, on the cars and on the garbage and recycling cans (to show depth).  I felt like I had to memorialize the day in some way.


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