Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No Good Very Bad (Snow) Day

I don't ever want to see snow again. Unless we go up North for a ski vacation, in which snow is necessary.

Tuesday morning I was watching the news with Colin eating breakfast. I told him we might get snow! He asked is he could build a snow man and I told him it wouldn't be enough for that, but he could play in whatever amount we got. They were only calling for a dusting. This was around 7:30. I was going to drop off Colin at school and then Charlie and I were headed to the Y. He was going to go to childcare for the first time and I was going to my first spin class since he was born. So I hadn't washed my hair or shaved my legs. I should say I hadn't washed my hair 4 days. So I looked rough but perfect for a spin class followed by a shower.

My spin class ended at 10:15. I looked out the window and it was pouring snow. I don't know if it can pour snow but that is what it looked like. I sat on the couch and fed Charlie one of the two bottles I had while we watched the news. I called Colin's school to see if I should come get him even though they hadn't called early dismissal yet. I decided to go ahead and get him to I didn't have to go home then turn around and drive back to Hoover and hour later. Andrew called to tell me he was on his way home, so I asked him to get Colin for me so I could just go straight home with Charlie.

The fastest way for me to have gotten home would have been to turn left out of the Y parking lot. But traffic was already backed up both ways and I knew it would take an eternity to get out that way. So I turned right knowing I could get home that way too. But the traffic moved slowly that way also.

I eventually got to my turn and did my best to avoid slipping on the already forming ice. I was behind many trucks that couldn't make it, so I followed the lead of other cars and went around them, only to find that I wouldn't be able to make it up the little incline ahead. A man came and helped me turn around, even getting behind my Jeep to push me as I pressed on the gas. That was the first time I got stuck.

I headed back the other direction only to be stuck behind a semi-trailer that couldn't go up the small hill any further. He came back and talked to me and suggested I try going through the parking lot to the left of us to get to the main road. But again, there was an incline and my Jeep couldn't make it. Those wheels just spun on ice. Even he helped by trying to push my Jeep while I pushed on the gas. He helped direct me backwards and I parked it at the gas station right there. Where I sat for 3 hours.

I know this sounds dramatic, but I was honest to God terrified that Charlie would starve. I have never been afraid for my child's well being before. I mean, yes, I don't like to see them get hurt but I know they will be fine. I for sure thought he might starve and I would end up freezing to death. I told you, dramatic. But I was so scared that my hands were shaking and my legs were shaking. I tried to call 6 different people...who couldn't help me but I needed someone to know where I was...and no one answered. Everyone was at work or busy or had lost their phone. I lost it and went into the gas station crying.

The woman working there was so nice. She had diapers I could buy but no formula. I panicked again. I tried going both directions on this road and got no where. I knew I was stuck. She phoned the police station for me, which happened to be right behind the gas station. I felt a little silly calling them, but I really didn't know what to do.

(I feel like I need to add that when I realized it was getting bad, I was trying to find a CVS, Walgreens, or a Wal-Mart so I could buy some formula, water, and diapers. I really was trying. I just never made it to one.)

They were very kind and I explained the situation. They told me that it might be a while, but they would help me the best they could. I told them I had one bottle left and he wouldn't eat again for another hour or so. They took my number and I sat there, on a stool, by the cigars and bongs, watching people buy food, cigarettes, and alcohol and texting Hallie, my mom, and Andrew for a few hours. I bought lunch (peanut butter crackers and a banana) but only ate half of them because I was so sick to my stomach. I even offered to sweep the store or do something to help the woman since she was letting me camp out there. I felt so damn helpless.

I ended up sending my neighbor a text to see how the roads in our neighborhood were. This is when I was saved! She was leaving work to pick up her step-daughter at Pelhem High School and was going back to work. She passed the gas station I was stranded at and saw my Jeep. She asked if I wanted her to pick me up as she had plenty of formula and diapers at work (she is a labor and delivery nurse at Shelby Baptist). THANK GOD! I never have been so happy to see someone. All my anxiety left as I got into her mini-van (which handled the icy roads brilliantly).

Charlie and I spent the night at the hospital. They gave me a place to sleep, a shower (which was nice because as previously mentioned...I had taken a spin class that morning), clean scrubs and even mesh panties to wear (ha!). The hospital gave everyone dinner that night so I had a hot meal. Charlie even had his own little plastic crib like the newborns. Pretty sure at least one person thought he was a newborn...a large newborn.

I didn't sleep much that night and was up around 3am for the day on Wednesday. I skipped going to the cafeteria that morning because one of the nurses said they were running out of food. I hit the vending machine and grabbed a couple things because I felt bad eating food intended for patients and staff. The nurses brought me back a plate anyway and I ended up eating some bacon and grits.

Through the rest of the day the nurses passed around Charlie and loved on him and a nurse's husband came to pick us up and take us home.

I made it home around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Also, Pelham police called me back as I was on my way to the hospital to make sure I had found food for Charlie. Bless them.

Andrew had a different adventure from me. I sent him to get Colin from school. He hung around there for a while but decided to try and come get me when I started freaking out. He and Colin didn't make it very far. He knew he would be in the car for a while so he stopped to buy Colin a snack (a family sized bag of Lay's...which he ate every last one...) and to make him use the bathroom. They were getting nowhere and never came close to our neighborhood on Tuesday. He ended up ditching the car at a Pizza Hut and they both walked down the road to YMCA where they had a warming station. Colin had a ball playing in the soft-play room, watching movies, and running in the gym. He had no idea what was going on.

They ended up sleeping at the Y, on yoga mats. Hoover City brought food and water so they ate breakfast and tried to get home again Wednesday morning. They got as close as the little country gas station down the road from us. The major road leading to our neighborhood was barricaded as it was just too dangerous for cars to try and travel down. There were gators and ATVs shuttling people from that barricade to their homes, which is how they finally arrived home (around 1 maybe?).

Andrew was going to walk the couple miles to his car but a neighbor gave him a ride to it on Thursday. Then we drove across town to get my Jeep.

This was the most insane experience. We both felt like we were homeless people. We had to ask for places to stay and I felt like I was begging for food for my son. It was, by far, one of the worst days of my life, as I am sure it was for a lot of people. Colin's friends next door slept at their school Tuesday night because no one could get to them. They had fun, thanks to amazing teachers, but I can't get over how crippled this area became. I had one friend that walked 8 miles from where she was stranded to get to her in-laws house.

This town is so friendly though. People where out in their 4-wheel drive cars trying to help others and I know some people even let strangers sleep in their house.

I never want to go through that again. I am working on a list for an emergency car kit. It may end up being a ridiculous list...but I know what I would need now.


  1. oh.my.gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Leah that is SO awful; I can't even imagine!!! :( glad you wrote this all out & recorded it....maybe (?) one day you can look back on it and laugh? or maybe not. but still....I love that Colin had no clue that y'all were going thru all this. and I'm sure little Charlie was just happy to be with his mama.

    ps I saw that part about the mini-van handling the ice well.....maybe you should join the mini-van club!??!? :)

    1. Colin asked me this weekend if he could sleep over at the Y again...

      Um, never. Never ever ever

    2. Oh, and this weekend (just 5 days after the freezing weather) colin got a Popsicle from the ice cream truck at the park. Wth? Is this typical Alabama weather? I thought TN was unpredictable!

      And no van for me. Maybe a 4 wheel drive SUV??

      And now I have the overwhelming need to pack everything I Kay ever need for short trips. Even to target...where I could buy everything I'd be packing. This has given me some driving/travel anxiety.