Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ice Ice Baby - Won't You Be My Neighbor

First... What a strange and exhausting day today has been. I think I'll vent about it!
Then... Videos below!

Today has been a strange and exhausting day! A major ice storm has plastered most of Iowa, and I had the "pleasure" of driving in it for several hours for my job. I knew I was in for it when the forecast had been calling for the ice advisory to last from 6am to 3pm, and my job goes from 7am to 3:30pm! The winter weather advisory actually lasts through tomorrow morning, but the ice/sleet/snow mixture was pretty much during the hours of my job.

The day didn't start out too bad. Yesterday evening, with perfectly dry roads, I did some planning and took care of some stuff so I wouldn't have to do it today. So I set out ahead of schedule, making my first stop in my own vehicle. I had called the hospital to make sure they didn't have anything I needed to bring to my first stop, and they told me there was nothing. I made that first stop and then went to the hospital to drop some things off. It's usually a 20 minute drive, but today it was more like 35 minutes, which I expected due to the weather. But then the trouble started. At the hospital, they proceeded to tell me that there was indeed something that needed to go to that first stop! One of the overnight people had missed it, so when I had called, no one knew about it.

So I went to the garage to get a van I usually use on the weekends. By this time it was "icing" pretty good, and I set off on the highway to go back to my first stop. Pretty soon I found my windshield becoming very iced-over, and I wondered why that was happening so quickly. Turns out the heater wasn't working in this van!


I had to drive all the way back to the garage to get another van, stopping a couple of times to scrape ice off the windshield. After starting out "ahead," I was now way behind and the forecast was calling for ice all day.

(Iowa has every sort of weather you can imagine. I really, really like having all the seasons, and even though the winters can make my job a little tough, I still really like it. However... days like this can be very irritating!)

So I got in another van that I don't normally drive, and I got the spare key out of the locker to keep in my pocket just in case. In fact, I put the 'regular' key (with buttons to automatically lock and unlock the doors) in my pocket so I could keep the van running all day and keep it locked while I stopped at my places for a few minutes at a time. Well, I stuck the regular key in the van and backed out of the garage. I put the van with the bad heater in the garage and I put my own car in the garage to keep it from getting ice build-up on it. I got back in the new van and started it, and it died right away. I started it again, and it died. And a third time.

MAN! What's UP today??? It was one of those, "GOD, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME!" moments. ;) Back in the day I would've thought He was perhaps punishing me for something. But today I know that sometimes stuff just happens! Well anyway, fortunately I remembered hearing someone a few years ago talk about how the spare key only serves to lock and unlock the vehicle but won't let you drive it. I didn't understand how I was able to back it out of the garage, but I decided to try the other key anyway. Vrooooom.

Ahhhh! At last I could get going. And this is where my 3 hour, 80 mile journey began. My first stop was about 40 miles from the hospital. It was very slow-going. Hey, maybe God's really trying to settle me in this "slow cook" thing. Haha! I arrived at this nursing home, and when I came out of the building, the sleet/ice was still coming down pretty good and someone shouted over to me... "Either they pay you really good money or you're CRAZY!" It's definitely not the first one, and I smiled and told the guy I'm just crazy I guess! And that's when I decided that I would call ahead and ask some of my people if they really needed me today, and I was able to "get out of" a lot of driving. Most Saturdays I drive anywhere from 150 to 200 miles.

Man, I tell ya, the ice did not let up for a minute today! And after it had accumulated a lot, and there had been sort of an ice/snow mixture in the early afternoon, the roads became slightly less slick, but yet the accumulated parts had hardened and you pretty much had to stay in the set of tire tracks that had formed in each lane. If you tried to switch lanes, you were quickly pulled back into your lane! It was very frustrating. On a certain four lane road, I tried to slow down to change lanes, but that wouldn't give me enough "power" to get over the rut. So I would speed up, but that greatly increased the risk of going off the road!

I have to say... yes I am sort of crazy because I do get somewhat of a rush out of this winter weather driving. But days like today can really take a toll on me mentally, with the various snafus as well as the constant decision making involved with navigating icy roads, as well as physically. I know my arms, back and legs will be feeling it in the morning. You just don't realize how many muscles you use when you drive, and how the strenuous driving really wears them out!

Even though I'm venting quite a bit here, I was able to keep a humorous mind about it all, as I usually do. I would walk in my places singing "Ice Ice Baby" or Mr. Rogers "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..." and I would give people reports of nice sunny weather and great driving conditions outside.

But all in all... I'm glad the day is over!

Time to chill and relax to Vanilla Ice...

Jim Carrey - 'White White Baby'

I used to have this record.
Mister Rogers!


  1. Joel--

    Glad you made it through the day safely. It's been nasty up here (in Wisconsin), too. All day we've been chilled by the sound of freezing rain hitting the windows, and even the walk to the mailbox is hazardous. Our kids wanted to go out and play in the fresh snow, and one fell, then the other two went down on him like dominoes. Glad they came up laughing!!!

    Hope you're able to get some extra, recuperative rest tomorrow.

    Kathy J

  2. Hi Joel,

    Sounds like a really rough day for you. The little glitches in my day here in South Carolina don't sound so terrible after all.

    I love what you shared about knowing that it wasn't God punishing you but that stuff sometimes just happens. I'm also glad to hear that you weren't out there rebuking the devil for coming against you.

    Having migrated from New Jersey many, many years ago I remember those horrible drives. I'm glad you're safe and sound and I hope the current forecast in Iowa is for nicer weather. Sounds like you need a break.


  3. Great story! I would have liked to been apart of that! lol...I love RIDING around in winter weather. I'm not so sure about driving hehe.

    I love your resiliency in keeping a good attitude in the midst of irritating things like that.

  4. I'm's been so long since we have had snow down here that I have forgotten what it looks like. I don't much like driving on icy roads, but then you don't really have to when it snows down here...everything just shuts down.

  5. LOL Gary. Ain't it the truth.

    We have maybe one snow plow for our whole city? If that.

  6. Sorry to hear about your day bro.

    Good to hear Vanilla Ice again

    Just for your info, this is the weather in Durban S.A. today.
    Forecast: Monday, 3 December 2007

    Min: 21°C
    Max: 27°C
    Discomfort Index: 36°C

    Weather: Partly cloudy to cloudy. scattered showers and storms (60%)

    Wind: moderate SW
    UVB: Dangerous
    Sunrise: 04:47
    Sunset: 18:44
    Moonphase: Waning
    Moonrise: 00:53
    Moonset: 13:22

    See, God does have a sense of humour.

  7. Thanks, everyone, for your care and concern. :) It looks like just one of you who commented can relate currently to my situation (Kathy). I've also talked with someone in the Chicago area who dealt with a quarter inch of ice. That's not nearly as much ice as we had here, but even a small amount makes for hazardous travel.

    And I've heard about you wimps in the south who go into hibernation if you see even a tiny snowflake!

    Gregg... don't even talk to me. ;)

    (For my American friends, I believe the conversion is approximately:
    Min: 70º F
    Max: 80º F
    Heat Index: 97º F)

    It's currently 11º F at 9am here, with an expected high of 28º F today. It's not expected to even reach the freezing point this week, so the ice remains on the roads (except well-traveled roads), and they're expected to have school delays all week. The trucks have been able to put salt and sand on the roads, but that only helps a bit. Normally ice storms don't last as long as the one did on Saturday, so we're just stuck with ice, ice, baby, yeaaahh...

  8. LOL. That is true, Joel. Our schools will let out early even if we're only suppose to get an inch or so.

    It's the humidity that causes me to hibernate. I love the winter. But then again, we have mild winters until January and March.

  9. Joel, Joel, Joel,

    I prefer to think that it's because we have our priorities straight. :) We would rather stay home and play in the snow with our kids than fight the elements to be someplace we would rather not be.

  10. Joel, your comment about those of us in the south who hibernate if we see one snowflake reminds me of my first winter in S. C. after we moved from N. J. I took my daughter to a friend's house to wait for the school bus and the mother said school had been cancelled because of snow. I asked her, "What snow?"

    It seems there was a light powder of snow on the ground and school was cancelled because of the school busses. After that, if I saw one snowflake I knew to check the school closings before waking my children.


  11. Joel--

    As much as some good-natured "us vs. them---north vs. south" banter can be fun, I have to admit, I wish we were a little wimpier when it comes to snow.

    I am still childlike (childish?) enough to be as (more?) excited than my kids when we get a snow day. Especially in December, when we can bake cookies and watch Christmas movies. But few things irritate me more than when a big storm is forecast to begin midday, and they have school anyway, only to send the kids home by lunchtime, in the midst of the storm. Thankfully, we live in town and my kids walk. But I feel for the bus drivers and bus riders.

    Ahhh...Winter weather... one of God's sanctifying tools.

    Hope you're thawing soon--
    Kathy J

  12. Matt,

    Having lived in the midwest most of my life, I have no clue what "mild winter" means. :)


    Ok, so you wimps have your priorities straight... hehe!

    Aida... lol... yeah I have the school cancellations website bookmarked, but I generally only go to it if there's 3 or 4 inches of snow (or if there's any amount of ice), and usually it's a 2-hour delay (to give the buses extra time) rather than a school closing. However, we do get between 2-4 school closings per winter.

    Kathy... I HATE when that happens. :) I work in the afternoons (my wife works all day), so when I send the kids off to school, it's extra hard when things turn around and I have to find a replacement so I can be home with the kids. The schools are pretty good about calling for late starts, but they're terrible when it comes to predicting early dismissals.

    Ah, but I'm definitely like you when it comes to being able to be home with the kids on a winter day, sipping hot chocolate, playing games and watching Rudolph.