Monday, December 7, 2009

How much more can I take?

For 25 years I've been enduring treacherous roads on my way back and fourth to work in the winter. I live approximately 25 miles from St. Joe where most of my employment has been during our married life and most of that 25 miles is interstate driving. Maybe some of you are thinking "25 miles isn't so bad, and what's so bad about driving on the interstate?". I will be the first to tell you that I am a wimp when it comes to driving in the winter and Craig will be the second one to speak up and tell you the same thing! It absolutely terrifies me.

Now let me tell you about my drive this morning..... I walk out of the house about 7:00 this morning. As I walking out to the garage I noticed what looked like a light dusting of snow. Not too bad I was thinking and surely the highway must be fine, it wasn't too much below freezing and the salt trucks must have been out by now. I get in my car and drive about 2 miles and take the entrance ramp to West I-94. Merging into traffic I'm cautious and anxious to see if the road is slippery. I get up to about 50 mph and the back end of my car does this little fish tail thing making my blood pressure rise and my fingers tighten around the steering wheel. Immediately I lower my speed and set in for who knows what is ahead of me for the next 20 miles. It's an all too familiar feeling.

Driving a few more miles I see 2 cars in the ditch and it looks like they have hit each other. The cops are not even on the scene yet. A few more miles I see flashing red lights. By this time the traffic is down to 30 mph. As I'm approaching the flashing lights I can now see it's another car in the ditch. I slowly change lanes to be in the opposite lane as the police car (this is a law in Michigan). Trying to change lanes on a sheet of ice makes me very nervous (as if I'm not nervous enough!) but I manage to do it.

Ok, now I am past the cop car and traffic is still going about 30 miles per hour. I have no desire to go any faster but the SUV behind me thought I was going too slow and decided to pass me. When he or she was directly beside me they completely lost control. Next thing I know their headlights are shinning directly at my door. At this point I am praying "Please Lord SAVE me and don't let this SUV cram into me. Oh please, oh please oh please!". By the grace of God somehow they missed me and flew in behind my car doing about 2 complete circles.

Shortly thereafter I exit the highway. By this time I am totally stressed and I want to cry. And all these thoughts are going through my head..... How much more of this winter driving can I take? I'm too old for this s***! I've been doing this for 25 years!!!! I'm lucky to be alive. Craig only drives 5 miles to work and drives a truck! I'm quitting my job, I refuse to do this any longer! I wonder how many years all this has taken off my life?.....

When I get to the hospital and safely park in the parking garage I call Craig on my cell, who I might add is in sunny Orlando this week! When he answers I tell him I need some sympathy and he listens to my story, the same one he has heard over and over. He tells me he understands and he's sorry, but somehow I don't think he understands at all. I feel a little better being able to rant for a few minutes. It takes me well into our first surgery of the day before I'm feeling normal again.

You might think that this story is not the norm but it is! OK, maybe I don't always have headlights shinning directly at me every day but normal winter driving is seeing multiple cars in the ditch, accidents, driving 30 mph, dealing with white out conditions. Of course some winters are worse than others. Last winter was an unusually bad winter for driving to work and I haven't forgotten it yet. After this morning I'm wondering what kind of winter driving I have to look forward to for the rest of this winter... it's only Dec. 7th! Oh, and as I type this we are under a winter storm advisory this very moment. What will tomorrow morning be like when I wake up?

You very rarely hear me talk about disliking snow or winter. In fact I LOVE winter. I think it's one of the most beautiful seasons we have. Our whole family loves to play in the snow (snowmobile). I love being home on the snowiest of days all nestled in my warm safe house. I just really DISLIKE driving in it!

Sorry to be using my blog to vent.....

7 comments:

Shelley said...

Jessica - you have my sympathy and empathy!! I feel so bad for you having to drive in that today! I'm like you - hate driving in bad weather. People in Michigan seem to lose their heads and drive too fast in bad snow making it all the more stressful for those of us that are being cautious.

Ben said...

I know the feeling - driving 28 miles each way - although you probably get that lovely Lake Michigan effect, don't you? I am lucky that I can take a laptop and cell phone and work at home on the really bad days, but you can't do that with surgery! Your job is (obviously) super important - which doesn't make that drive any easier!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I totally understand your feelings.As a school bus driver there have been many times when I questioned my sanity,by being on the road in some terrible conditions.I too love winter and all it's beauty.We will make it through.
Blessings,Ruth

Margaret said...

I don't like driving in it either. Here in Maryland it is common knowledge that drivers have no idea how to drive in the stuff. They speed, they slam brakes, they are really bad at it. One good thing- they close the schools even if there are flurries.

Diane Fay (littlealma) said...

Phew - glad you made it safely to work! I remember driving from St. Joseph to Berrien General, well really SWMC, for ten years, and just dreaded that Dean's Hill Road!!! But the worst was when I was riding in the car with a friend, carpooling, and the car started spinning while going over the bridge in BSk yikes! I am SO GLAD I work about a mile and a half from home now! I will be thinking of you this winter!!!

Diane

Mary said...

You deserve to vent after that hair raising drive! I'm so sorry you have to drive in bad weather that far to work. I'm glad you made it safely and pray that you continue to be safe on your drives. Hang in there! I'm a wimp on bad roads and winter weather too and basically don't go out. We don't get a lot of bad snow here and that is fine with me!

Jen said...

My arms use to ache for days after a driving to and from work in that; I was in death grip mode on the steering wheel.
Be careful out there!