Tuesday, November 23, 2010

six hours and forty minutes

That was the length of time it took us to get home yesterday, a commute of about 23 miles that even in bad evening commute traffic rarely takes more than 45-60 minutes. However, a winter storm hit around 2:30pm yesterday which rapidly iced the roads and snarled traffic, causing plenty of wrecks, road closures, and general mayhem. The city claims that the traffic meant they couldn't deploy their plows and sand/brine/salt trucks, but in our entire journey we never saw a single one.

Chris picked me up at 3:30pm, as we had carpooled in due to the snow making it inadvisable to ride our motorcycles. It took almost four hours to make it out to I-5, most of it sitting on Mercer Avenue as the traffic tried to merge onto the highway. We sat in unmoving traffic for so long that we took turns walking to the nearby grocery store to get dinner and use the restroom - and it's a good thing we did! Once we were on the highway it took another 2.5 hours to go four miles over the ship canal bridge and around a jackknifed semi near the 65th Street exit. We had plenty of adventure along the way, including pulling up alongside a vanpool of my coworkers and chatting, and having another beleaguered driver ask me to please call her daughter and tell her where she was. Once we cleared the wreck the road was simply snow and ice covered, as the photo above will attest, but was otherwise easy to travel, and it only took us another half-hour to go the remaining 15 miles of our trip.

With parts of I-5 closed this morning, many Metro bus routes shut down, tons of power outages (not us, thankfully), and all schools within a ~100 mile radius closed, we chose to stay put and work from home for the day. The temperature is dropping again tonight, after never having made it above freezing today, so the likelihood of going anywhere tomorrow is also rather slim. I never thought I would be thankful to be working on so many papers at work!

This evening I caught up on my Thanksgiving preparations, which had fallen behind due to yesterday's debacle. I've made the pumpkin pies and the chocolate pies, with the former using a new gluten-free crust that looks much better than ones I've used in the past. I've also hard-boiled the eggs that will be deviled tomorrow, and made up both sweet and savory brines for the two turkey breasts to marinate in until Thursday. The brine recipes were posted a while back, and I made a few modifications. The sweet brine has brown sugar added to it this year, and the savory brine has more garlic cloves (to use up the head), no toasted onions (due to a mishap last week with the rest of my jar), added mustard, and no peppercorns (because I forgot). I'll mix and flip the meat 2-3 times tomorrow and one last time on Thursday morning, before they get roasted for dinner.

Now, we are just hoping that our guests will be able to make it to our house safely! Otherwise, we've got a lot of turkey and pie to eat...

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