Today's post is brought to you from the comfort of my couch with a heating pad set to 'low' hopefully soothing the various and assorted aches and pains that I incurred while trying to get the car shoveled out this morning so that I could get Amanda down to the train station in New London so that she could start on her Christmas journey to Puerto Rico.
It was not a good start ...
As most people know, we here in New England and other parts of the Northeast got slammed with a pretty good snowstorm yesterday - Winter Storm Austin they named it as apparently storms all need names these days or they get jealous of the hurricanes or some such other reason. Anyhow, Austin managed to dump about 9 to 10 inches of snow on us here in the Norwich region and even though the snow was of the light & fluffy variety, it still needed to be shoveled out of the way - a task that was supposed to fall to the teenagers in the house.
You'll notice that said "was supposed to" ... yeah ... the one teenager who was supposed to be really concerned about being able to get the car out was spending most of her time whining about the fact that she "always has to shovel and why can't Jamie do it?" Well, gee, Amanda you always have to do it because you live here ... perhaps you'd like to move down to Florida with your father and then you wouldn't have to ever shovel snow again!! Besides, the only reason I was even attempting to get the car out at this point was so that I could haul her to the train station. Do you think that occurred to her, though? Do you think she had finished her packing yesterday when I squeaked at her twenty times to do it? I've had no voice for the past couple of days so squeaking is the best I can do but I'm pretty sure it was an audible squeak that she chose to ignore.
So, at any rate, to try to make a long rant short ... I put on my back brace, grabbed the shovel, and did my best to clear snow without throwing my back out after I told Amanda to finish her @*%#ing packing and then print out her Amtrak reservation so that we could just go to the kiosk in the station and get it that way rather than get it from the clerk. I figured it would save some time just in case we were running late - which we were.
Finally I got her into the car with her luggage and we started down the first hill at my house but before we got to the bottom she said "I forgot my cell phone!". Good grief ... I backed up the hill (a miracle unto itself as the road is in really bad condition) and she went back in to to get her phone. In the meantime, Jamie had layered on some clothes and found a pair of boots and was working on shoveling out the parking area in front of the house, etc. so that when I got back home there would be someplace for me to put the car other than in a snowdrift.
Once Amanda got back into the car, we headed back down the road, made it down the first hill okay, and then spun out 180 degrees on the second hill so that I was facing up the hill rather than down it like I was initially. Oh good Lord ... I hate driving in this stuff! I managed to get turned around and pointed back in the right direction without hitting anything or getting stuck only to get down to the main road to find out that despite it being a State-maintained road - it's total crap and it doesn't look like a plow has been by in a very long time. Sigh ...
Getting to the train station on time was beginning to look like even more of an impossibility as I got in a line of traffic behind some yutz in a red Neon who was crawling along at about 20 mph. There were about eight cars between myself and the leader of the parade and no place to even think about passing so there was nothing for it but to crawl along behind everyone else and curse under my breath with every passing moment. As the parade behind me grew longer and longer, the minutes continued to tick by on the clock closer and closer to the time of the train's departure. I should point out that at this point in time, my mood had reached subterraneanly low levels and I was not the best person to be around.
Finally we got to the train station and there was road construction all over the place (what the hell? are they digging up the entirety of downtown New London?) and there was barely a place to pull over to unload Amanda and her luggage. I told her to get into the station, get her ticket, hope the train is late, and that I'd be in as soon as I could find a place to park. Luckily I found a spot big enough to squeeze into next to a dumpster and then stepped out into a snow bank up to the tops of my boots. Swell ...
Meanwhile, in the train station, Amanda had not printed out the barcode for her reservation like I told her to and had to stand in line and wait for the world's s-l-o-w-e-s-t clerk to wait on the two people in front of her in order to get her ticket. That bad mood that I was in got worse ... much worse.
As Amanda stood there waiting and waiting and waiting the train that she was supposed to be on pulled into the station, loaded up its passengers, and pulled back out of the station without her on it because she was still standing in the $#&^ing line!! Of course, all I can think is that had she printed out the barcode like I told her to, she would have had her ticket and be on the train but oh no ... she couldn't do that, could she?!?
At long last, the world's slowest ticket clerk finally finished up with the guy in front of Amanda who simply wanted to go on a later train to New Haven and she gave him her train reservation number that she WROTE ON HER HAND!!! The next train out was only about 45 minutes later but because she missed her first train there was a price change and I had to shell out an extra $30 for the ticket. My temper at that point had reached the boiling-over point and I was ready to scream - except for the fact that I had no voice and could only squeak out how angry I was at Amanda. I'm pretty sure I haven't squeaked out that many expletives in a very long time.
Once she got her ticket, I left Amanda sitting in the lobby at the train station with instructions to get herself on the train when it came as I knew that if I stayed I would have done nothing but squeak at her and that wasn't going to help anything. It was best to remove myself from the situation and head home, provided I could get the car out of the snowbank I had pulled it into. I know that leaving her there on her own wasn't very motherly of me but I really thought it was best as I honestly cannot remember being that angry in a very long time. Angry at Amanda ... angry at the condition of the roads ... angry at random drivers who have no clue how to drive in snow and should stay off the roads ... angry at the ridiculously slow Amtrak clerk ... just angry in general.
As I started to drive out of New London it dawned on me that I had forgotten to give Amanda any money for food or drink on the train so even though I was mad at her, I turned around and went back to the train station where I called her on her cell phone and had her come out and get some money before I headed home again wondering whether I was going to be able to get back up the hills at my house or not. Oh, and just to add insult to injury, the jets for the windshield washer fluid in the car decided to act up and I could barely see through my filthy windshield on the way home! But of course!
Fortunately, the plow had come by in my absence and I was able to get back up the hills and to the house where Jamie had done a very good job of shoveling out the snow while I was gone. The only problem is, it's still coming down lightly and recoating everything and, like it or not, I have to venture back out again early tomorrow morning to go into work for my Sunday double and await the next storm that is supposed to come through leaving more snow in its wake. No doubt I'm going to have to try to do some more shoveling and my back already aches. Its times like this when I wonder why I moved back to Connecticut from California ...
Anyhow, after downing a cup of coffee and some toast, I am feeling marginally better. I sent Amanda a text apologizing for being so angry and she actually sent back that it was okay and she deserved it (wow!). I hope she has a great time in Puerto Rico while Jamie and I deal with some lousy New England weather and I'm sure that by the time she comes home in two weeks, I will have forgotten about today. At least that's the plan!
Whew! I hope that everyone else is having a better Saturday than I am!