Catching up – where I’ve been, and where I’m not going.
This time last week we were packing in a hurry, trying to get down from our mountain a few hours ahead of a windy storm of ice and snow – and a day ahead of our flight to Washington, D.C., where my sister lives.
Two days earlier, at home on the last weekend in January, I let the back door stand open all day and followed the thermometer needle all the way to the 70-degree mark. In town, people were lunching on restaurant patios. One day, the early green of the first snowdrops appeared; they froze and folded over the next. Then came the local run on groceries, the power outage warnings, the snow days announced by dinnertime.
So last Tuesday, with the trees and power lines heavy with ice but the roads not yet frozen, we drove south to find a hotel. Waiting all day for the room to be ready, we camped out in highway-side chain restaurants and a public library, all empty but for us, and watched the stuff on the roads evolve from deep slush to thick, bumpy glass.
But we got out. We were in the airport at 5:something the next morning, when miraculously, our route through Memphis was about the only way to get around the 2,000-mile swath of snow and ice. We made it to D.C. for a fun, fast three-and-a-half day visit (mostly work for Don, whose trip we hijacked) with family, friends, and the Smithsonian. I spent most of it with my sister and her fiance, museum-hopping to Jack’s specifications (space shuttles, airplanes, robots, fire trucks, Julia Child’s kitchen.) He even got to watch an SUV get towed in front of the Department of Labor, eat spectacular steak and learn about Chuck Norris from my sister’s friends. Bonus.
It was such a good trip that I barely remember the not-so-good bits, like Jack’s first accident in a freezing Metro station, and the temporary loss of feeling in my arms (a symptom of thinking it’s a good idea to travel to a major city in the winter with a toddler and without a stroller).
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Today I’m supposed to be flying to Savannah, where I had big plans to meet my BFF for her birthday.
She lives in Chicago, and we thought we’d outsmart mid-February by convening in the mild South. It was a highly anticipated reunion – we haven’t seen each other in two years – so naturally, it snowed on our parade. (Did I say “I love snow days” one too many times? Is there weather karma?) Our part of Arkansas got an unheard of amount of snow, from a foot to 30 inches. The airport closed, and tomorrow doesn’t look much better, so instead of shrieks and hugs in a Georgia airport, tonight we’re exchanging pity parties and hoping to try again in May, when snow is like a flying pig.