Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back from the frozen tundra

It had to happen. At some point, I had to return to the real world and begin anew taking care of my kids and keeping house. (I know what you're thinking: "Becky? Keeping house?" Trust me, it happens on occasion.)

For the past week however, David and I have lived a life where we could do as we pleased without thought of babysitters and bedtimes. No being responsible for feeding someone or resolving a quarrel. No time-outs or disciplining. Yes, my parents had the kids for five days while David and I scoped out houses in Pennsylvania and were able to do anything we wanted.

Well, if there had been anything to do, that is.

The town we are moving to is, um, quaint. It's like a modern-day Mayberry, except I'm pretty sure in Mayberry a person could buy socks and that they didn't get excited over the heat wave that drove temps all the way into the high 30's.

I'll save that post for another day, though. This time I'm going to tell you about our trip.

We left with directions from both GoogleMaps and MapQuest, as well as the handwritten directions my neurotic brother couldn't help but provide for me. (He has a pathological need to plan things out whereas I prefer to head out the door and drive in the general direction of my destination, forget the atlas, and stop at a convenience store to spend $15 on yet another atlas to add to our ever-growing collection because I always forget them.) Of course, we also had my father-in-law's suggestions as to which route we should take.

David gave input from time to time, but given that he got lost on his way from the mall to Dick's Sporting Goods in Columbus, where we have lived for the past EIGHT YEARS, I gave his input only the brief consideration it was due. (ie, none)

The drive turned out not to be too bad. Altogether it took us about 17 hours, though I think if we had not made a foolish choice around midnight in Morgantown, WV, it probably would have taken us only 16.

Before we left we assured everyone that we had no intention of driving on icy, snow-covered, desolate roads late at night. When it got late and dark and was time to get off the interstate, we would stop for the night.

So the plan went, and as we got further and further into West Virginia, we weren't even sure we would make it to our goal of Morgantown so heavy was the snow coming down. Once we reached Morgantown, however, the snow had stopped, and we suddenly had a renewed sense of purpose and ambition and decided we would keep trekking on.

Bad idea.

It took only moments for us to realize that we should have listened to my father-in-law. (Do you have ANY idea how much I hate realizing I was wrong?) Ten minutes off of Interstate 79 and we found ourselves breaking pretty much every rule we'd set for ourselves:

1. It was almost midnight
2. We were on a desolate road with literally NO other cars whatsoever
3. It was snowing
4. It was 8 degrees
5. We had less than 1/2 a tank of gas
6. We were lost

Fortunately, we eventually reached what looked like civilization - a McDonald's wherein I found a nice elderly security guard who questioned why we were where we were given where we were trying to go and then kindly directed us to a local hotel where we could stop and resume our travels the next day.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, but there was one thing I found interesting during the drive through WV and PA. These signs:

This is the type of ramp to which the signs refer, but the signs show up about a mile or two before to let you know a ramp is coming. If you can just manage to control your runaway truck for another mile or two. (This is a picture I found on Google and not one of the actual ramps we saw (clue #1 - no snow). It's similar though not as steep):

I don't know why, but these amuse me. The signs let one know that up ahead is a steep gravel-covered ramp whereby runaway trucks can apparently save themselves from imminent disaster if they can only make it that far. Never mind that a.) the ramp is so steep that the truck would probably have been better off taking its chances on going through a guardrail, b.) the ramp is currently covered in snow and ice, and c.) the ramp is 1 mile ahead!
Would you want to head up that thing if you were in a runaway truck?!

Fortunately, we did not have to use any escape ramps. We are glad to be safe and sound and back to reality.

When a child cries tonight, it will be mine, and I can no longer ignore the sound and go back to sleep. When someone needs breakfast in the morning, I will have to fix it. Now that I'm back in a town where there are actual things to do, I, of course, will not be able to do them.

But, hey, lucky for you, I can always blog. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the pros and cons of moving to a minuscule town in the middle of snow-covered mountains. I'll leave you in suspense as to which list will be longer.

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