Monday, December 5, 2011

The McDonald's Drive Thru Window - Would you like a Laci with that?

I have a huge, heart stopping, lock myself in the house, phobia of winter weather.  Snow and Ice.  I know this sounds ridiculous from someone that grew up in Chicago.  It snows there.  It snows a lot.  We didn't have 2 hour delays.  We didn't have school closings.  We drove in the snow.  Sometimes to calm my fears, I think back to the day my junior year where it snowed 6" while we were at school.  We all cleared our cars off together, almost having a little party.  We all got home safe.  

I live further south now.  I learned that means one thing - ICE!  The temperatures here hover too close to 30 - 32 degrees.  ICELAND!  I have had two scary days driving that haunt me.  One is when Laci was 15 months old.  It was the day before Christmas eve.  It started to ice while I was at work.  The drive home was one of the scariest days I have ever had.  We live in a neighborhood that is just outside of town.  It is a lot of county roads.  I took a county road thinking it would be more cleared off than the neighborhoods.  I was wrong.  That is before I learned about drifting snow and open roads.  It was a sheet of ice.  It was terrifying.  But we made it home.  We cancelled our usual Christmas Eve Eve dinner at a local pizza place for Papa John delivery that night.  To class it up for Christmas, we ate on our good china with candles.  

Scary day two - the scariest day ever.   Three days later, Dec. 26.  We were driving from my in-laws to my sister's to celebrate Christmas.  It is only an hour drive.  My sister has a son Laci's age so I didn't need snacks, toys, etc.  The weather was 32 and misty that morning but the high was to be 40 that day.  We started off and skidded after a few miles.  But it was supposed to warm up so we continued on.  That was a mistake.  We got on the highway and it continued to get worse and worse.  We were barely idling at this point.  Charlie didn't want to pull over because he was afraid we would be a sitting duck for other people to slide into.  Every half mile we passed someone in the ditch.  I was terrified.  Finally they closed the highway.  We were stuck.  We sat on the highway for 2 hours.  I was stuck in a car with a 15 month old, no snacks, no toys and no idea how long we would be there.  She slept for a little bit.  I started pulling out Christmas gifts to entertain her.  Finally they opened the highway.  We went two miles and got off at the next exit and stopped by McDonald's to eat and breathe.  But our adventure wasn't over yet.  The parking lot was a sheet of glass, too!  I scooted my way to the door and used the building to balance.  Charlie had Laci and couldn't get to the building to hold on.  I suddenly saw Laci go into the Drive Thru Window!  I ran inside to see her sitting at the counter.  The drive thru attendant had offered to bring her in safely.  I waited for Charlie because I wanted them to hand her off to him because that is who gave them to.  It was crazy there but the place had a community feel.  Everyone was sharing stories about their horrid trip - where they were going, where they came from, how long they waited on the highway.  Those last 25 miles took another hour.

I have since learned the "good" roads to drive on bad weather.  I know the county roads that have trees near them to block the blowing snow.  I have learned that neighborhoods are better for me to drive through because you can drive slower and people have carved out a path.  But my fears are not relived.  I feel ridiculous because some people love the winter weather so much.  We drove to Delaware at New Years a few years ago and we struggled driving through the mountains in a little snow.  Cars were flying by us and we were terrified!  Right now, with the exception of work, I do NOT go anywhere when there is weather.  I used to not be like this and I remember driving in many snow storms and survived.  The one car accident I have ever had was on an icy day on the highway.  Right now I have a count down of days left until April 1, my safety day.  I am glued to the radar when there is any chance of snow.  I am a ball of knots going to sleep not knowing what I will wake up to.  I am going to have to learn to get past this.  Someday the kids are going to have places to go.  I can't have them say to their coaches "Sorry I missed practice last night.  My mom is crazy and locks herself in the house when it snows." 

Speaking of McDonald's, Laci and I had a "girl's date" Saturday to get their $1 hot chocolates and to celebrate setting up the Christmas Tree.  While she was waiting for hers to cool, she asked if she could go by herself to get apples because we still had some coupons from Halloween.  Of course, I followed along because I don't completely let her do things herself.  I only let her think she is by herself.  I snapped this picture because she looked cute, tiny and grown up at the same time.  If you notice, she is wearing another Christmas jumper, with a white long sleeve shirt.  This is what she picked out to wear when I said we were going grocery shopping that morning.  I always think it is funny when I am running errands in jeans and a t-shirt while my daughter is all dressed up.

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