For women going places

The Christmas Snowstorm of 2010


I’m still recuperating – well kind of. Now, it only takes three steps when I get out of bed in the morning before the back/leg pains subside and I’m not limping or walking on tip toes. A week ago all I wanted to do was stay in bed and take Advil to reduce the aches – stretching helps to a point – maybe it’ll be better tomorrow.

Let me digress. We (my husband and I) head to NYC and then New Haven, CT each year for Christmas. By December 1st, we each have collected enough air miles to keep our elevated status - a record 15+ years and counting – not sure if that is a level to be proud of. The last thing we want to do is get on another plane, this time bringing gifts, winter clothing – you know the drill.

It’s a 14-hour drive from Chicago to New York City. This year we made it in 13. I drove the entire way and thought nothing of it – after all our kids and grandson was the prize at the end of the trip. Who wouldn’t drive fast to see them! I woke up at 4am the next morning with my hands, legs and arms cramping up. Other than the lake effect snow in Indiana it was clear sailing. Guess I was gripping the steering wheel tighter than I realized. 24 hours later I was good to go and the only memory of the trip out was the left-over napkins from the rest area.

By the 26th the NY City region was under a winter storm warning. The snow started falling at 11am and we left New Haven, CT at 2pm heading into NYC and right into the snow storm. Traffic on I-95 was bumper to bumper at times but we were moving. Heading off I-95 onto the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) we were met with snow covered roads and very light traffic. Hadn’t anyone heard of plows in NY? I live in Chicago where our mayors don’t get re-elected if they aren’t on top of the snow. Mayor Bloomberg needed to take a page out of Mayor Daley’s playbook.

I kept assessing the situation: On the one hand, there weren’t many cars on the road. On the other hand, I had no clue how my car would handle itself with a foot of snow already on the ground and night having fallen. Since STOPPING wasn’t an option I did what any road warrior would do when faced with a dilemma - I made my own lane on the freeway and plowed ahead. By the time we pulled into the Brooklyn Marriot we had been in the car for 4 hours (it’s usually a 1 ½ or 2 hr trip), visibility was down to 10 feet, ice had built up on the windshield (did I mention the 30 mph winds?), the roads were covered with snow and the streets were deserted. It felt great to get out of the car and know we were in for the night. OK, not quite.

Have you ever been out on deserted streets in a blizzard with 30 mph winds? It’s GREAT. We had so much fun – walking in the middle of the street, snow falling all around us, light twinkling off the icicles that formed on the trees and knowing we were virtually alone. The few people we ran into on the street smiled and there was a mutual respect and acknowledgement that being outdoors was not for the faint of heart.

21 ½ inches of snow were recorded in Central Park on the morning of the 27th. The city was waking up from a Christmas hangover only to be greeted with unplowed streets, closed airports, stranded people, delayed public transportation and deflated holiday spirit. We forged our way out into the streets of Brooklyn on Monday and although it was pretty it was just not the same as when the first snow blanketed the ground and we were out virtually alone.

We headed back to Chicago on the 28th of December. We had picked up another passenger in the car. Our son was to fly back to Chicago on the 26th only to have numerous flights cancelled. Needing to get back to work, he hitched a ride. It was nice having an extra driver for the return trip.

Getting out of NYC and onto I-80 for the trek home wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated. For the most part the roads were plowed (except for NJ) and once we hit the Pocono’s in PA there was no snow on the ground. I don’t know if it was the drive or sitting in the back seat (the car was packed with extra luggage), maneuvering over the city snow banks or my body finally relaxing after we got home but the muscles flared up the day after our return. Or maybe it’s just a pleasant reminder of the Christmas Snow Storm of 2010.

See you on the road!

Kathy Ameche


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