The holidays (with pictures)
I wrote this on my laptop while we were parked on I-24 in Kentucky:
12/23/2004 - 10:30AM
Traffic is at an utter standstill. In the last five hours we've moved maybe a hundred feet. Semis and cars are immobile, shoulder to shoulder, the lucky ones at least.
We've passed dozens of vehicles trapped in ditches and the snow-covered shoulders, including several jack-knifed semis. The radio says that I-24 is paralyzed for something like sixty miles, and they're not sure when it'll get cleared. The plows (they have plows?) are trapped along with the travelers and so the snow-clearing progress is effectively non-existent.
Kentuckians aren't so good with winter weather conditions. In Illinois, I would have expected a fleet of plows before now. Here, I've seen two. They've called National Guardsmen to assist. We've seen a few Humvees, including one off the road, and one broken down with a burst water line.
They're apparently taking stranded people out of their cars and relocating them to shelters, giving out fuel to people who have run out of gas, and helping to tow folks out of ditches.
This is so not good.
We started out last night at around 7:30PM in drizzling rain. I slept through the worst of it, but Matthew drove through sleet, snow, and slush. We stopped for gas at around 3AM and almost got stuck at the station.
There have been a few lighter moments. People are taking their dogs out of their cars so they can relieve themselves, and one pair of black dogs were absolutely delighted at the situation. They romped around in the snow, their tails wagging, happy as could be. It made me grin, seeing them so pleased with themselves.
But the grin was fleeting. Fortunately we've still got three-quarters of a tank of gas. We've called Matthew's folks on my cel and told them we're okay but trapped. Wonder how long we'll be here? We packed some food and sodas for the trip, but we're almost out of the food, and I don't want to drink anything because who knows when we'll be able to get to a restroom.
We made it to Matthew's folks ten hours after our initial ETA. But once there, it was great. As I've said before, I really adore my in-laws.
My mom-in-law, Marilyn
My dad-in-law, Bob
Brother-in-law, Mark, and Matthew playing Christmas elves. Seen here giving a prezzie to Janan, Mark's wife.
And, of course, there was a frenzy of package opening. One of Matthew's personal favorites is this lamp a la A Christmas Story:
It goes in the home theater room next to the Maltese Falcon statue.
Matthew's folks also recently got a new computer, switching from an iMac to a Compaq Windows machine. I'm really glad they switched to a PC. Not that I hate Macs, but when they had problems with their computer, neither Matthew nor I could help them since we're Mac-illiterate. But we spent quite a few hours over the weekend adjusting the settings on their new machine, showing them some PC basics, and downloading software--an anti-virus program and Open Office. It took six hours to download the Open Office software. Next step, convince them to subscribe to broadband.
Many, many prezzies!
Matthew got me a SanDisk Cruzer Titanium USB flash drive. 512MB of indestructible goodness! He said he was sold on this model when he read it could be driven over by a car and still work. My hubby knows me well. Hee. I'm not that brutal on my hardware . . . really.
Books and books and books: The first three Lemony Snicket books; Wolf Wing, Fatal Women, 34 (thanks again britzkrieg and rigel_kent) and Venus Preserved all by Tanith Lee; Faery Reel and Wolf at the Door anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow; and The Secrets of Jin-shei by Alma Alexander.
Jewelry: Many shiny spangles, including my favorite from my hubby, a pair of beaten-gold skunk earrings.
Socks: I'm a sock-a-holic, something that Santa appears to have figured out. I think I got something like ten pairs of socks all told including a wonderful pair with articulated toes whereupon each toe is a different toe-puppet animal.
Clothes: dress slacks, jammies, and a marvelous blouse which Janan gave me with stylized skunks ringing the neck. (Janan's an artist and can do wonderful and amazing things with a fabric pen.)
DVDs: Glah. Too many to even list.
Whimsy: dude_the gave me this adorable Giant microbe--Saccharomyces cerevisias, beer & bread yeast:
And Santa left this delicate winged skunk fairy in my stocking:
Now we're back home. Yesterday we went out for brunch at J. Christopher's, and then came home and celebrated Christmas with Hobkin. (Santahob brought a new, soft comforter for under the hutch, a tiny packet of Kleenex for ripping to shreds, and many treats for Hobkin) and watched Alien (I got Matthew the boxed Alien Quadrilogy DVD set).
Received a "Your entry did not place in the final selections" from WoTF. My last entry with them as I am now disqualified by my pro publications.
And re-read my Cricket letter with delight to savor the glowing words. Highlights from my editor (because I am bursting with the need to share them): "I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the wonderful submissions you've sent our way this year; we love your writing."