Listen

This past weekend found me in Omaha for one more (for now) yoga training, this one my final installment of prenatal training. In a beautifully (and symbolically appropriate) way, this closing module brought me such a sense of peace plus knowledge, which is great because the very first one stirred up a lot shtuff for me, and now that I’ve done the work and put in the time, energy, and tears that always seem to accompany my yoga trainings, I feel prepared and ecstatic to begin teaching my prenatal class this coming Sunday. It is going to be awesome! What turned out to be less than awesome, however, was my journey home from my Ommmazaing weekend in Ommmmaha.

As all of you in and around Nebraska know, this past weekend brought with it something we haven’t seen much of this year, known in local circles as “Winter.” Because we have had such little snow and within the last week, days of 60* temps, I don’t know that any of us were quite ready for this so-called Winter (nor was it properly predicted which made the whole appearance of 6-8 inches of snow plus wind plus freezing-arse cold even worse). At least, I was not. When I left for Omaha on Friday afternoon, I actually had to come back in the house to get my winter coat, “just in case” and oh my, come Sunday when I was digging out my car in my friend’s driveway (bless her heart and another friend’s for digging out said driveway so I could leave), was I ever glad to have that coat (and hat, gloves, boots, and Smartwools!).

After going slow and taking twice as long as normal to get across town to the studio for our final of final days (and rewarding myself with Starbucks upon doing so), I attended a great birthing workshop lead by two doulas from Omaha (on Baby 4 and still learning amazing things about birth and labor and natural birth!), had a tasty late/working lunch with all my yoginis, and celebrated our group with a heartfelt closing ceremony that cracked my heart wide open, once again, in all the best ways.

At that point, it was time to finally decide what I would be doing with the rest of my day, which included calling and texting both my hubs and couple friends to see what they thought of travel. Since one of my dearest friends was in Lincoln with her family for the day, Ben thought it would work well if I left Omaha, met up with them as they were leaving Lincoln and we caravanned home. I agreed because, man, I wanted to get home so badly, even though I knew there had been some pretty serious accidents along I-80 throughout the day and that it would be slow going. Part of me hesitated though because I did not want to put myself at risk and was hemming and hawing for a fair chunk of time before I finally took the plunge and headed out into the frozen tundra.

Two indicators that I should have stayed overnight? The first was that I left my rings at my friend’s house Sunday morning in my flurry to dig out my car, throw everything in it, and head for the studio. I don’t know how I did that (or why I even had them since I normally don’t wear them to yoga other than the fact that I wanted to feel connected to Ben and my family while I was away), but I knew I wasn’t going to drive the opposite direction from home to get them unless I was staying again. The second was that when I was going back and forth on “Should I stay or should I go now??” I thought about calling my dad and then didn’t because I knew he would tell me to stay put and apparently that wasn’t what I wanted to hear so I didn’t ask. Sorry, Dad; you were so right, even though you didn’t say a darn word. So yes, the lesson learned is that when the Universe gives you a sign (leaving your wedding ring and great-grandma’s mother’s ring) at your friend’s house and you want to be as stubborn as a toddler and ignore the good advice you know you’ll get from you parents, LISTEN TO THOSE VOICES. Sheesh.

As it was, the first hour of my trip went really well, so I thought I had made a great choice. I made sure I had a full tank of gas and was driving cautiously, and I made it from Omaha to Lincoln much faster (but not actually fast, mind you!) than anticipated. I even manifested Katy Perry coming on the radio to inspire my inner-Durga (that’s not going to make much sense to those who were not with me over the weekend at training, sorry) and all was well. Except that my phone started beeping “Low Battery” just as I went around Lincoln and I thought about pulling over to chill somewhere for 20 minutes and charge it, but then decided to just keep going because the roads were clear(ish) and there was still daylight. My friend and her hubs were not ready to leave Lincoln yet, so we chatted briefly on the phone, and decided maybe we’d meet up along the way home, maybe not. All was well. Until it was not.

While getting around Lincoln was no trouble, the roads started to get more snow-packed and slick as I got closer to the Crete exit. Traffic slowed down but kept moving and I thought, OK. This is still OK. After passing the Milford exit and shortly thereafter, the Seward exit, traffic slowed all the way to a stop. I bet I wasn’t a 1/4 mile past the Seward exchange at that point but there was clearly no going back since, hi, that’s not legal, and cars and trucks were packed in tight in both lanes. That was at 6:00 p.m. And although I did not know it at the time, it would not be until two-and-a-half HOURS later that I would make it the SIX miles down the Interstate to the next possible exit, at which point I felt like the biggest fool for even considering the idea of leaving Omaha yesterday, much less actually trying to do so!

During those two-and-a-half hours, I went through the full range of emotions. At first I was like, well, no big deal. I have plenty of gas and I am warm and I’m not in the ditch. All is well. Thankfully, all of those three things remained constant the entire time I was stuck either not moving or inching along the road. But then I started to panic and freak out a bit because my phone had been beeping low battery for so long and I had no way to charge it, so I was worried that it was going to go out on me and then no one could keep me updated on road conditions or know that I was OK and the whole thing was just panic-inducing, isolating, and kind of scary.

By some not-so-small miracle, though, my phone hung in there for the entire experience. And it allowed me to make multiple calls and send multiple texts which also had me experiencing the full range of emotions (bursting out in tears while taking to my dear friend who, after leaving Lincoln well over an hour after I went by, caught up to the Seward exit and was able to get off I-80 to drive on the highway instead whereas I was still stuck less than four miles in front of her) (getting really upset at my husband for telling me I should get off at Goehner – the next exit – and “find a bar” where I could charge my phone and hang out for a bit before heading on) (laughing out loud with my SiL, whose house, at that point, was my goal destination via the exit past Goehner, about the fact that her brother thought I should hang out at a bar when I couldn’t even drink) (to relief when I heard from Ben that he’d found multiple places for me to stay if I did in fact get off at Goehner, including the house of a friend of his mom’s who lives, literally, a 1/4 mile off the exit ramp there). Full range, people. Full range. All told, it was NUTS (and don’t even ask about what my pregnant bladder thought of the whole debacle).

But yes. Six miles in two-and-a-half hours and I finally, blessedly, thankfully, safely made it off that damn road and to a landing spot for the night where I could plug in my little wonder-phone, let people know I was OK, eat some yummy SuperBowl food, and have a room and comfy bed all to myself. And all courtesy of gracious people whom I had never met before but were beyond happy to help. Thank goodness for good people!

Clearly exhausted from last night’s proceedings, I slept in until almost 7:30 this morning and after breakfast and starting/loading the car, braved the end of my host’s driveway and got back on the interstate at 8:30 this morning. Two hours after that (which is normally just shy of the time it takes me to get from Hastings all the way to Omaha), I made it home. The roads were clearly not great but traffic was at least moving, so I took my time and was in no-rush whatsoever to get anywhere. Except maybe Starbucks in York. I had already decided I was stopping there because that’s what I do, but just outside of York, a truck went by me and found just enough melted junk on the road to cover my windshield in yuck, at which point I realized my driver side windshield-wiper-fluid-dispenser-thing-a-ma-bob was plugged with ice. The seven miles into York from there were less than fun, but I made it safe and sound and got my scrapper out after I parked at Starbucks to fix everything. However, the ice was especially stuck in the tiny little holes, so my scraper didn’t quite do the trick and my windshield was still a mess, leaving me to wonder how I was actually going to get home if I couldn’t see.

Fortunately I have some mad MacGyver skills and managed to use a Starbucks stir-stick to get it cleaned out so I could in fact make it all the way back to Hastings yet today. Have I said THANK GOODNESS yet in this post? Because I’ve been thinking it nonstop for the last few hours now that I am safe and sound (and bathed and showered) in my own cozy home.

A girl and her stick. Just another reason for
me to heart Starbucks. 

Of course hindsight is 20/20 and no one could have predicted running into that intense of a traffic jam when nothing about it was being reported at the time I left, and while my sanity and pride wish I had listened to those little voices that said STAY, ultimately it all worked out and in the safest, most pleasant (all things considered) way. And my lesson is totally learned – sometimes being a bada** means just staying the flip put and waiting for better conditions to travel!

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