Monday, June 26, 2006

The Lord Told Noah There's Going to be a Floody Floody

Like everyone else in the DC area all I can talk about right now is the weather. In case you are one of the readers on this site not *enjoying* our 40 days and 40 nights, and/or are not yet tired of the weather stories, here's mine.

I spent my Sunday afternoon at my parents house in Fredericsburg. I left Fredericksburg at 9:34 p.m. (As noted by the time I started making phone calls on my blackberry.) Thinking that the rain would probably cause some slow traffic, I was prepared with a list of phone calls to make, in cross country time zone order, just in case. It is 54.5 miles from my parents' house to my apartment, and usually takes me about 1 hr 10 mins to make the trip. I do it most Sundays. No big deal, right?

I was in my fourth phone call of the night (having made it to the "pacific time zone calls") when I was starting to realize that I was *still* driving, and yet, not that close to home. I wasn't even to the Beltway yet, and I had been driving over an hour. And traffic had come to a complete standstill. Hmm... So I just kept on talking on the phone, again, just not thinking about the traffic. It was when the little boy in the car in front of me got out and peed on the jersey wall that it occurred to me I had been sitting in the car for a really long time. So I checked the time. It was after midnight. (And it was a really little kid that had peed on the jersey wall. Poor kid must have been dying!) It had been 2.5 hours and I still wasn't quite to the beltway yet. Moments later traffic broke and I got to move a whole whopping half mile. I was soooo excited.

I got to the infamous Mixing Bowl of DC Traffic (aka intersection of 495/95/395 and multiple small roads) where I should take the 395 exit. But all 6 lanes were at a dead stop, and chances of me getting across all 6 lanes were nil. Didn't matter anyway, the 395 exit was closed. All cars were forced to take 495/95 northbound. Except that we weren't really moving and just sitting there, so I don't know that you can call it "forced" to do anything. Maybe we were just all staging a rebellion and not taking 395? (highly doubtful) It wasn't all that painful, as I was still just talking on the phone. I hadn't mentioned what was going on to my phone friend yet, but when the little guy watered the jersey wall, I laughed and explained my surroundings. So my friend in the PTZ got online and checked the Weather Channel for me, informing me that "more red bands" were on their way. This cracked me up several times, since he would tell me about the red, usually as I was sitting in the middle of all hell breaking loose from the sky and falling on my car.

Eventually I got off the skyway and actually on to 495/95. The cars really were not moving at this point. All bazillion lanes of traffic were stopped. Cars were being turned off, and more than just the little boys were getting out to water the jersey walls. Finally they announced on the radio that there were mudslides on the beltway between the next two exits. They shut down both directions of traffic. So finally they diverted ALL traffic off onto Van Dorn St. This is the opposite direction of where I needed to be going, but at least I was finally moving. It was at exactly this moment that my cellphone battery died. 1:46 a.m.

So I get off at Van Dorn and try to work my way over to 395, praying that that highway is now open and passable. I'm not very good with Alexandria geography, so that was a feat unto itself! But I got there without too much trouble (just 3 u-turns) and onto the free and fast moving 395. Hallelujah! 3 miles till home, right?!

Yeah right.

With maybe only 5 other cars visible on 395 I got to my exit in record time. Of course, 3 of those other cars had been abandoned in 3 feet of water. I just drove around them. But then I get to my exit- Washington Blvd. Blocked. Can't enter. Fantastic. So I exit into the Pentagon and attempt to bypass their parking lots (I'd really rather not have my car searched in the pouring rain in the middle of the night b/c I took a wrong turn), and get on Columbia Pike, thinking I'll just get on Wash. Blvd the other way.

Yeah right.

No matter which way I took to get there Washington Blvd- the main road in front of my neighborhood- is blocked. No can go. At this point I'm tired, I'm cranky, and I've been driving for nearly 3 hours. Who would have thought I'd still have to drive for another 47 minutes just to get the last 2 miles home?! I tried everything. Rt 50, Columbia Pike, Walter Reed, etc. Nothing. There's just no way to get to my complex. I'm yelling in my car for no apparent reason. The radio stations are useless to me. (curse you WTOP! you failed me!) All they can talk about are the mudslides, which were rather noteworthy. But no one is mentioning the other closed roads! ARGH!!!!

Finally I worked my way around and around Arlington until I found passage into my own complex. Not the easiest thing to do. At one point I even considered driving into Ft Myer and across (anyone who thinks a military base is a short cut is sorely mistaken), but even their gates were shut. AAAGH! What was wrong with the Arlington Police Department last night? Why couldn't they be more helpful? Put up directional signs? Or at least warn you that all the roads were blocked? They kept sending me in circles, never once offering any useful help!

But I made it. I got home a little before 2 a.m. (as several friends can testify as I had written them emails while stuck in traffic but couldn't send them due to low battery on the blackberry). Plugged the phone in, set the alarm clock, and woke up a short 4 hours later. My commute to work this morning took nearly 2 hours. Needless to say I was cranky and short with just about everyone.

And it still hasn't stopped raining. I did my laundry at my mother's house, and brought home a few hang dry items on hangers in the car with me. They are still wet! It is so humid that they won't dry! It's just crazy!

But for all my whining and crankiness, at least I don't have it as rough as the sister missionaries. I took them out for dinner tonight, and they showed up soaking wet. The poor sisters are on bikes in this Noah's weather! I felt terrible for them and treated them to Cheesecake Factory and told them to indulge. Hot chocolate, pasta, and cheesecake later, they looked a little less worn when they left!

In the end I'm grateful for a few things. 1- a friend who stayed on the phone with me for nearly three hours. 2- my new car and the a/c and defogger. 3- i'm not a sister missionary. 4- not one person questioned my crankiness today. 5- a holiday weekend to look forward to!

I think I'll go buy myself an Ark!


  1. It is stories like this one that make my weekend of laying in bed not so bad.

  2. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. It's posts like these that make me glad I'm in Indiana. (Did I just say that again?)


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