Hello. This post has no recipe. If this offends you in any way, please locate your nearest emergency back button and slowly exit the blog through the gift shop. There’s a sale on Snowpocalypse t-shirts. Thanks.

Let’s just go ahead and get this out there in the open. I’m 28 years old (also married. Very, very married) and I live with my parents.

Ahem. Temporarily. I’m temporarily living with my parents. We left one city without a place to live in the next one. The cart got a little too far ahead of the horse on this one, but we’re dealing. Live, learn, move forward, press on, so on and so forth. Bottom line and key word here: temporary.

How wonderful for me to waltz into Chicagoland just in time for the snow, snow, snow-torious storm of the century! What amazing luck!

Hi, I’m sarcastic! 🙂

I thought I knew about snow. I thought I’d seen it all. I’ve experienced 20-plus inches of snow before (New Year’s weekend 1999, anyone?) And who could forget this early winter wallop from December 2009. But this…this outdoes them all.

Let me tell the story of the Blizzard of 2011 before I get too old and start adding outrageous exaggerations like the roof collapsed and we had to use spoons to dig ourselves out. 😉

As this storm kicked into high gear Tuesday night, I found myself glued to the window in the front room. In the background, the television news buzzed and sizzled with a mix of excitement and concern. As reports of stranded motorists abandoning their cars on a stalled out and gridlocked Lake Shore Drive began rolling in, I watched the snow flutter like a thick, white sheet through the air. The homes across the street disappeared inside wind gusts and snowflakes. The power flickered.

Batten down the hatches. Thar’ she blows.

The wind kept me up all night. Strong gusts pushed into the house, sending slow, agonizing creaks through its bones. When I popped my head up from my toasty pillow like a groggy groundhog Wednesday morning (it was February 2nd after all!) I couldn’t believe the scene outside. Layers of white, rolling hills of snow blanketed the entire neighborhood. The flakes were still falling and the wind was still howling. Oh, also…the heat was out. Yeah.

The heat situation was rectified relatively quickly (thank goodness!) and the snow settled into an eerie, quiet calm outside. Not a creature was stirring. It’s an odd thing to see so little life in a usually busy neighborhood. No cars on the street, no sounds of jets overhead, no echoing dog barks.

The real adventure began much, much later. My parents live in a subdivision with certain, um, rules. Mainly age rules. Oh, and rules about children. I’m pretty sure if the neighbors saw grandchildren hanging around a particular property too long they would summon an angry mob to carry the children off into the night in potato sacks. Lucky for me, there are no rules against freeloading grown children setting up shop in the guest bedroom. 😉

Kidding, of course, about the children. I think.

Anyway because of the, uh, demographics of this particular subdivision, the residents are not responsible for removing the snow from their driveway. An outsourced service does that. This all well and good, except when there’s a freeloading grown child taking up a spot in the garage and the extra car means someone has to park on the driveway. The service will NOT clear the driveway if there’s cars on it. So, we worked out a plan. We kind of cleared off the area around the car, which by some miracle of nature did not end up completely buried, and then planned to watch closely for the Snow Removal Heroes in their zippy little skid loaders. They could clear off the end of drive and my dad could get the car out of the way and they could get to it.

They finally arrived around 10pm. Before he left, my dad told me he would just take the car around the block a few times while they worked and come right back. He rushed out there, did a little hood sliding Bo Duke style, (Wait. No. But that would have been epically awesome), and got into the car. When the path was clear he gunned it off the driveway and bumped along down the street toward to end of the block.

The Snow Removal Heroes did their good deed. Bless those guys. They did our driveway and a couple more then disappeared around the corner. Fifteen minutes or so go by. Dad does not return.


I stood by the window watching the street, waiting for the car to appear and take it’s place back on the driveway.

A few more minutes go by. Still no Dad. I sat in a desk chair and let my knee jump up and down for a bit.

Okay. I’m not one to assume the worst. As I stood by the window in my snowman jamies, I started wondering where Dad had disappeared to. He ran to the grocery store for…something that he just had to have at 10:30 p.m. He  ran into a neighbor and stopped to chat. He decided to build the Chicago skyline out of snow. SOMETHING!

Surely nothing’s wrong. Right? RIGHT?

My eyes darted from one end of the block to the other expecting to see the car’s headlights. Clock said 10:45. It had been over a half hour since he left three important things behind: our nice warm house, his worried daughter, and his cell phone – which was perched on the kitchen counter.

Pacing around the front room, my stomach filled with dread. You know that feeling? That panicky shakey feeling that makes your heart pound in your ears. That feeling had started to consume me. Something was wrong.

I thought about waking my mom, who was fast asleep by this time and had absolutely NO clue what was happening, but decided against it. I concluded I would wait until 11:00 and if he didn’t reappear I would get in my car and see if I could locate the burning wreckage my missing father.

Just moments before my deadline, Dad appears. Only something’s missing. The car.

My poor father is trudging up our street on foot. The snow had cleared out but behind it came bitter, bitter cold. A person planning on taking a car for a quick spin around the block is likely unprepared to be scaling snow mountains in below zero temps.

My heart jumped into my throat as I bolted to the front door, threw it open and called out to him. I’m pretty sure I’m not the person you want around in an emergency because I immediately burst into panicky tears. It’s what I do. I can’t help it. Calm, cool and collected I am not when something goes wrong. I’m sorry.

He was out of breath but unhurt. Oh, thank goodness! Long story, he told me when I asked what happened, but get dressed because he needed my help.

It turns out, in a bizarre twist of fate, he ended up stuck in a massive drift just outside the neighborhood.

On his last crawl around the block, the Snow Removal Heroes weren’t quite done. So he ended up out on the main road outside the neighborhood. As he turned down a four-lane divided road that runs north/south on the east side of the neighborhood, he found himself driving straight toward a man-made snow drift stacked high as a skyscraper. The plows had pushed 20-plus inches of the stuff into a pile in the middle of the road. And left it there. My dad’s car was stuck in the foothills of a snow mountain!

Ah! But a stroke of luck produced a village snow plow behind him on this deserted road. A couple scoops and pushes of the blade would render my father free of the snow’s icy grip! YAY! A scoop and push later, the plow breaks some hydraulic line somewhere and renders the blade useless. Dad is still stuck. BOO!

The plow driver got on the horn with one of the many other plow drivers out and about that night and explained the situation. Ten-Four. Someone else would be along soon to dig you out, he said, and by soon I mean I have no idea when. Good luck!

Knowing his phone was at home and that I was likely standing by the window hyperventilating with fear, he walked back to the house. Down the middle of a (normally) busy road. In the dark. Ugh. So dangerous.

I got into another car with Dad and we drove around the neighborhood, passing the scene every few minutes to see if another plow had arrived. Thirty minutes goes by…nothing. We head for home and decide to check again in a half hour. It’s 11:30 and way WAY past my bedtime.

We pull up to the scene of the crime at midnight on the dot. Hooray! More Snow Removal Heroes at work! They are slowly but surely un-gluing the car from the clutches of the Blizzard of 2011.*

*I have video of this awesomeness but I can’t figure out how to get it off my phone. Because not only am I a freeloading grown child mooching off my parents, I’m also incredibly not smart. If I figure it out, I’ll add it. Maybe. I sound like a goon on it so perhaps I’ll just skip it and save myself the embarrassment. Yes. Perhaps.

Finally! The car was free! Dad was safe! I could go to bed! (Did I mention I’ve been kind of sick? Yeah, I needed sleep. STAT!) We came home exhausted, hardly believing the night’s events. It’s funny, isn’t it, how things can change in an instant? How something as innocent as taking the car around the block can turn into a epic two-hour debacle in the blink of an eye. It’s a lesson learned if anything else. You just never know what’s waiting for you behind that snow drift.

We’ll call this a new chapter in the ol’ Family History Book. I think we’ll all be talking a long time about the first of February blizzard in Chicago and the events that transpired in the hours after. It all turned out okay in the end, but boy, if I never see 20 inches of snow again it will be too soon!

What about you, any Snowpocolypse stories to share? I’d love to hear ’em!


Filed under Just for Fun

5 responses to “OH (S)NOOOO(W)!

  1. brannyboilsover

    Great story!!

  2. Laurie Barker

    Welcome back to Chicagoland. The blizzard was just Chicago’s way of saying “I missed you.” I don’t have any crazy stories but I did take some cool pictures of the snow by the Lake.

  3. That is a crazy story!
    We had a little snow but so.much.ice down here. It took 2 of us an hour to blast through all the ice on my car. And my employer closed for the first time in 25 years because it was so bad and there was the constant threat of the power going out.

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