Strib photo by Jerry Holt. Click here to see more of who was moving into my office suite.
Shauna asked what today was like. I said "sucky". I've been trying to think of a way to help Anthony understand why we're all so shocked and sad.
Imagine your biggest business competitor was located next door to yours. You sell a high quality product at a reasonable price. They sell a shoddy product at cut-rate prices. After a hard 4th quarter that everyone is glad is over, they have sold more than you. As a reward they take over your office and make you move into their old space. And then they tell you what to do.
Maybe when the shoddy product breaks, consumers will see their error and buy better quality. Time to work on our sales pitch.
Anthony and I started last Saturday night out as a fun little trip to St. Paul for Roller Girls and then a quick stop in Minneapolis for a drink with a friend, then home to bed. We did not realize what was in store.
After Roller Girls we made the drive over to Minneapolis in about 30 minutes. We noticed it was misting. Which was weird, because it was only 25° out. We had our one drink with a friend that was moving away to California and we were back on the road at 11:30 PM (PS we would have stayed out longer but, we had to be up to teach Sunday School by 9:00 AM). We should be home by midnight.
However, it was difficult to even walk to our car because (if you live in MN you know) the mist had frozen solid, covering every surface in ice. I fell on the sidewalk. We figured it would be slow going on the highway home, but those things are always hot and plow trucks should be out with sand & salt, so they wouldn't be that bad, right? Wrong.
Once on I94 we were very sad that we were there. Almost immediately we were at a stand still. We considered exiting on to Hwy 55, but figured the stand still wouldn't be for long and that it'd be safer than a lot of stop lights and intersections. Wrong again.
Every time 94 came to a curve or a hill there were spinouts, cars unable to make it up the incline and cars that just couldn't help from sliding onto the shoulder. Not to mention HORRIBLE drivers that would floor it and just make a spot shinier with their spinning tires.
At the Cedar/Riverside exit we counted over 20 cars that had either crashed into another car, crashed into the highway wall or who just couldn't keep from sliding into the shoulder.
Two hours in traffic and we had made it to about Hwy 280 (about 1/4 of the way home). We considered exiting on to Cretin, but decided the hill down to the intersection of Marshall would be too steep. We watched a FIRE TRUCK fishtail and slide into the shoulder/highway wall. How are we going to make it out if the firetruck can't?
In between the curves and hills would be moderately light traffic at a decent pace (20 mph instead of 0 mph). Then we encountered where 35E intersects I94. This was hell. Most of the time we just turned the car off. We did not move for an hour and a half. (We think this is because there were some of the 430+ crashes right in front of us and just too many to take care of and move.)
Some people got out of their cars and walked to see if they could see what was ahead. At times, it felt like REM's "Everybody Hurts" video (and not in a good way - more like this is a nightmare get me out of here). I kept thinking "Why are there so many cars on the road at 2:00 AM?" I couldn't help from falling asleep. I was so glad that Anthony was driving.
We spent a lot of time parked on the highway in front of the Kelly Inn, and we considered just getting a room there. But we were so close to home, I thought it seemed silly.
We had passed the 10th & 5th street exits in St. Paul (just barely) but we could see other cars driving over the low curbs to get on to the downtown side streets. It was 3:00 AM and we couldn't take it anymore, so we tried our luck and did our own curb jumping.
Downtown was deserted and we took Cedar down to Kellogg. We ignored the speed limit to get enough momentum to make it up the Kellogg Boulevard hill and kept on going up to Mounds Boulevard but we were foiled once again. We couldn't make it up and around Mounds. So Anthony did some stunt car maneuvering with the aid of the curb to turn us around and back down the hill to the I94 entrance.
I94 was deserted there, except for a few cars here and there. And one STUPID Buick who decided to cut in front of us as we weaved through other stalled cars (at the fast pace of 20 mph).
Almost home - almost home! We opted to go one exit past our house because the McNight exit ramp is a decline instead of an incline. We made it down but couldn't slow down enough for our right turn. So Anthony again did a stunt car move and pulled a 360° in the middle of the intersection to finally make our turn. Then it was easy going from there. Only 3:30 AM. Anthony used a whole bag of salt on our sidewalk and steps. I brushed my teeth and took out my contacts. We were in bed by 4:00 AM. Hey, only 4 hours until we have to be up!
I was just so happy to be in my bed. And that we didn't get hurt. And that our car didn't get smashed. We were so lucky that Anthony had a full tank of gas.
Are you still reading?
We went to church even though there weren't very many kids, but it was nice. We were over joyed that the after-church activity that we were supposed to help with was canceled! We went home, ordered pizza and took a nap in front of the Vikings game.
Kerri Miller hosted (the night was recorded for future broadcast on MPR) and she was a great foil to Ephron's wit. We were regaled with stories from her past and her outlook on life.
She also read excerpts from her book.
I had previously read an excerpt of her book in Vogue and loved it. Or at least I think it was her. I may have it totally wrong. Just like when I got up to ask her a question about a movie that I thought she was writing based on the Pioneer Woman's Blog. But she's not. I was mortified.
I'm not sure if I just dreamed that or what because I tried to go back and find where I read that, but of course there is no evidence of that being true. I was laying in bed and it came to me that the screenwriter from Steel Magnolias is doing it. Not Ephron. Good timing.
Of course I bought the book.
The Daylights were the first openers and they were great.
Also Green River Ordinance gave up a headlining show to open for Needtobreathe. So, we were very lucky - they also rocked.
We waited in line in the snow for half an our and got second row spots. AND the lady in front of me left after GRO and never came back. Not sure if she just couldn't make it back to the front of the crowd. But, it made for a great view for me.
Sorry lens flare haters. But I like these.
It was their best show yet! They never play the same set list, so their shows are always different. Their new backdrop and lights were fantastic for photographing and the overall experience.
I was especially glad that they played my favorite song from their current album, "Vally of Tomorrow" for the acoustic encore. (But I filled up my media card before the end of the show, so no pics:(