|Merry Christmas to me
||[Dec. 29th, 2006|10:11 am]
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Lovely seeing family and friends, good food, good conversation, great gifts, glad to I could be up there to help my mom & dad with the festivities since they were under the weather, sadly bookended by two miserable drives and coming home infected by whatever plague mom & dad were carrying. |
Absolute hysteria leaving, trying to pack traveling stuff, gifts for the gang, the dogs, dog supplies, cookie baking supplies since I never got around to making them, but have all of these damn ingredients and decided to be Danish about making cookies if it killed me, plus lasagna-making ingredients because I decided to be German and make my mother stop ordering those piece of crap gross lasagnas she orders from the local deli for Christmas Eve, and make them myself...refused to leave the house looking like a total disaster, in case I died on the road (if you were wondering when the German/Dane was going to let the WASP half out to play...) plus printing out pictures of Scary Perry and other events for family to see (why, with all of this software that makes things so easy, can't I find the place where I can just pick out pictures and tell it to print out 4x6 shots?)....hadn't gone to the bank, needed gas, had to drop off dry-cleaning, library books, key to the catsitter.
Needless to say, I was a little late getting on the road. Which fanned the agitation even more because now I knew I was doomed traffic-wise. Still, I maintained enough control to not get confrontational with the person in front of me at the traffic light -- with the "Remember the reason for the season: CHRISTmas" bumpersticker, which I could've ignored, but it had a lighted evergreen tree as the graphic. An evergreen tree with lights. Which has absolutely nothing to do with Christ and his damned birthday...but I stayed in my car and managed a behind rolled up windows impassioned rant which wound up with "why don't you get your freaking messiah off of MY damned holiday which predated YOURS. You can have your Christ, just leave my damned tree and lights alone." In retrospect, it was either more eloquent, or perhaps less, I can't trust my memory. It did involve more swearing and some spitting, of that I'm sure.
And traffic already sucked on the Beltway, and on 95 and I thought, okay, everyone's been telling me for years to go an alternate route, which involves heading up through Pennsylvania and heading for upper New Jersey, then through New York and to the West border of Connecticut. I've always suspected that that route was suggested by people who will drive a half hour out of their way to skip a $5 toll...but thought that really, I was probably mad to get onto the Jersey turnpike, the way things were going. So, what the hell?
And really, what a hell it was! Why not only did I get to sit through the Washington Beltway traffic, I also got to compare it to the traffic on the Baltimore Beltway. The York Beltway. The Allentown Beltway, The Harrisburg beltway. The Stroudsburg Beltway (no, wait, at that point, I had looked enough at the map, to realize that I could cut across more quickly, if I was willing to pay a toll, which I so was.
Escaped out of PA into New Jersey, and then into New York. Called my parents with the bad news that I would be there sometime, but not when they were expecting me. Then was surprised to hear the "bong, bong" of my low gas alarm. Usually I can make it up to Connecticut on a full tank of gas so I hadn't even been looking at the gauge -- as dangerously as I like to live, I do refill before I go below a quarter when I'm driving someplace I don't have memorized. So, I've got about 20 miles left in there. But I'm in a part of New York that doesn't have the helpful "what's on this exit" signs. Well, they do, but no one's bothered to fill them in. So I don't know whether there's nothing listed on the gas sign because there's nothing there, or because they just haven't gotten to it. So I pull off. (Did I mention that it's now dark and raining?) Nothing. Just a country road stretching in either direction, no sign of lights. Eh, next one. So I get back on the highway...and it's a long way between exits when you've only got 20, now 18 miles to fumes. But 8 more minutes of gut twisting and Aha! The next exit also has blank signs, but there is a sign for a train station and I can see a big strip mall -- Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, etc. Oh, but not a gas station. How can you not have a gas station here? Admittedly, it's a new strip mall...but no gas? So, now, sweating and wanting to throw up (why does our body think that's an appropriate reaction to stress?) and thinking, great, not only am I not going to get to CT in the near future, I'm going to have to make a phone call -- I'm somewhere in upstate New York and have run out of gas. So I pull back onto the highway (and you know it wasn't easy, involving idling at several lights and using up precious amounts of gas) and try one more exit, which blessedly, is close and get off to find...a dark country road that goes in two directions. Thank goodness a guy pulls off the exit behind me and responds to my spastic waving and directs me to the nearest gas station, which wasn't that far away, just hiding in the woods.
Full of gas the rest of the ride was easy...just long.
And arrived to be greeted by Full o'Snot and Hacking Cough, also known as Mom and Dad. At this point, I'm so glad to be off the road that I'm thinking well, a cold, at least it isn't bubonic plague...
And then, the aforementioned visiting, sad to miss some social visits at the end, since by the day after Christmas, I was nursing a snot fairy of my own...and a hellacious drive home -- this time I took the standard route, but it was just one thing after another, resulting in a 5 1/2 -6 hour drive taking more like 9 hours. Which might not have been so bad if I'd been feeling better, but I'd run out of goodwill toward men right about the time it took me an hour to get across the Delaware memorial bridge and my emergency reserves had been tapped by all of the f-wits who insist on hanging out in the far left hand lane, making me drive 10 miles over the speed limit in the far right hand lane -- which no one uses apparently anymore, except for the occasional old-lady, but I don't mind having to slam on the brakes or cut over into another lane to pass, since really, that's where old-lady drivers should be, NOT IN THE LEFTHAND LANE...sorry. Lucky for you, my head hurts too much to start that rant up.
But to be greeted at home by a lit tree and dinner that my sweetheart had gone out and fetched...that was good.