The Yankee gub'mint let us go a couple of hours early yesterday because of the winter storm warning, but it wasn't enough time. Mrs. Paco picked me up at the Vienna Metro station, and what is ordinarily a 20-minute rush-hour trip home over a distance of 3 1/2 miles took 4 1/2 hours.
I have never seen such chaos in my life. The snow was coming down heavily and vehicles were getting stuck all over the place. People would get out of their cars to shove somebody out of the way, and then get stuck themselves. Trees down. Absolute gridlock. Idiots creating bottlenecks at intersections. An ambulance trying to get through traffic with a small snow-plow in front. The county snow-plows immobilized because the streets and highways were parking lots.
Mrs. Paco, after studying a map, proposed a bold new course through previously untraveled territory. We ran into another traffic jam, but finally got through it, then drove through some unfamiliar neighborhoods, where all the street signs were unreadable because they were plastered with snow. Suddenly, we came out exactly where the missus had said we would, and we were able to cross Arlington Blvd. and proceed into our neighborhood.
Our house is on a dogleg cul-de-sac, up a steep hill, and I got half way up, when my tires started spinning. I backed down the hill and was planning another attack, but got stuck good and proper in the snow. We walked up to the house, and the power went out just as we got to the front yard. It came back on around 5 am, but cable, telephone and internet were out until just a couple of hours ago.
We were among the lucky ones. It took a couple of our neighbors more than 8 hours to get home. And I suspect a great many people wound up sleeping in their cars. I was so grateful to get home, I genuflected and crossed myself, like Columbus when he made landfall in the New World.
When I retire, it's going to be Florida or Arizona, for sure.