The last 24 hours have been quite interesting.  They had been calling for snow yesterday for about a week.  At first it was 1-2 inches, then it was 3-4 inches and then they had 2 computer models and both were saying different things.

It was then, I figured we were in trouble.  Lately, they have been pretty good at determining whether or not a "snow event" is going to happen although sometimes they are pretty far off with their accumulation predictions.  They said it would start yesterday about 2pm.  The schools were smart enough to close a few hours early before it even started.  A bunch of people around here really give the school systems heck for doing stuff like that, but if they'd experienced what I did yesterday, they might cut them some slack.

2:00 came and went with nary a flake.  Schools were out and I was contemplating whether the snow would really come before rush hour.  For the readers that don't know, I live about 35 miles south of the city, so the commute on a good day with no traffic (what's that?!) is about 40 minutes.  On a heavy traffic day (which is EVERY day thanks to construction) it can take me 90 minutes to get home.  Average afternoon commute is an hour.  Anwyay, I digress.

About 3:00, it started snowing.  And in about 5 minutes, the roof outside my window at work looked like this:
Literally.  5 minutes.  And you can't tell it in the picture, but it was really coming down.  Unfortunately, my boss was in the next building, so there was no one to tell me when (or if) we could go ahead and leave.  At about 3:15, my boss comes blowing in saying it was getting really bad and "Let's go".  By the time I got my stuff packed up, dropped her at her car and got on the road, it was about 3:30.  And this was my view from the car:

So yes, in 30 minutes, the roads were covered and the traffic was bumper to bumper both ways.  See the cars coming the other direction?  They were stopped just like we were.  After sitting in traffic every day for an hour or more in the afternoon, I was in no mood to do it again.  And with the snow coming down and the roads covering so quick, I knew the commute would be bad.

I had no idea just how bad it would be.

By 5:30pm, I had gone exactly .48 miles (a 1 minute drive according to Mapquest).  I had only gone about a block.  It was gridlock.  I was so frustrated and upset and just wanted to be home.  But after 2 hours, I quickly realized that I was going nowhere (literally) and it would be better for me to turn around and go back to the office.  I managed to get down the next side street and make the block around without sliding into another car (though I did slide right down the street).  When I rounded the corner to go back onto the street to the office, there was about 85 cars in two lanes trying to get out onto the main road. 

It was then that I almost lost it.  I couldn't get in touch with Steve because the lines were jammed and I was starting to get freaked out because I couldn't get ANYWHERE.  I finally made my way around the block again and parked in an underground garage at the hospital located near our offices.  Lucky for me, I had tennis shoes in the car that I'd put there at the beginning of the winter season "just in case".  I donned my tennis shoes (with my work clothes) and started hoofing it.  Yes, my friends, I began to WALK back to my office.  Here I am walking...with my purse and my laptop.  I had no hat, no gloves, only my coat and tennis shoes!

If you look closely, you can see the cars behind me.  The traffic was unbelievable!

It wasn't far...probably 1/2 mile at best and less than that when I cut through the other building parking lots.  But the traffic was that of which I have never in my life seen. And as I was crossing the park to get to the office, people started honking and I thought "Holy cow, they're going nuts".
Finally, I got back to the office.  And lo and behold, I was in good company.  Probably 15 people from my department alone were at the office, one co-worker had walked probably 6 blocks to get back after her car couldn't make it up a hill nearby.  And we weren't the only ones.  After about 30 minutes, our SVP came by and said they were about to re-open the cafeteria for anyone left so they could eat dinner.  Imagine my surprise when I got down there to find almost 150 people hanging out for dinner including most of our senior executives...who incidentally served us all dinner from the deli line.
And the best part?  The company paid for it!  We hung out at the office until about 8:30 when the traffic finally cleared out.  Then people started filing out.  A co-worker of mine lives about 15 miles from where I do so he was kind enough to get me that far and then Steve and Jenna met me there and we trekked the rest of the way home.  I think I arrived about 10pm.  I've never been so happy to sleep in my own bed.  I honestly thought I was going to have to sleep on my office floor.  My boss and I had looked for hotels in the area, but they were all sold out. 

It was truly something I wish NEVER to experience again.  And there were hundreds and hundreds of people across the city stranded everywhere from their workplace to the interstates.  It was crazy.

The roads were still pretty icy this morning, but the office opened about 10am, so at least the interstates had
cleared off by then.  The temps weren't above freezing, but the sun was out today, so the roads were practically dry when I came home (which was early because I was in no mood to sit in traffic for more than 10 seconds today).

So that is the saga of getting stranded in the snow. 

And for the record, I'm officially OVER the snow.  I'm now ready for spring.  I knew it would come sooner or later. 

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