The forecast said 9-13 inches snow. In Wisconsin that’s considered a moderate amount. What was different was this storm was armed with strong winds and was coming for us from mid-morning through the late night, peak travel times.
I’m a nurse in a hospital. There is no “calling in” for a snowstorm. If the patients are there, I am too. The hospital had already sent out a message saying that they would provide hotel rooms to ensure the safety of their staff. I scoffed. Of course I can make it home, I’m a tough Midwestern woman. Then doubt set in. I packed some fresh underwear, jammies, and snacks… just in case.
I left my minivan at home in favor for my husband’s truck. By the time I was leaving it had been snowing for a couple hours. My 25-minute drive turned into an hour drive, with a serious case of white knuckles. I pulled into the hospital employee lot and let out a sigh of relief.
My shift itself was uneventful. There were a lot of staff who called in, but we handled it. However,we were all keeping a close watch on the weather updates. Multiple highways were closed and the view from the hospital’s 4th floor was intimidating. By the end of my shift it was clear that driving home would be a poor choice. I caved and took one of the rooms being offered at a hotel across the street.
Getting to the hotel was a trip in itself. The amount of snow and wind had created some pretty impressive snowdrifts. I put the truck in 4-wheel drive and plowed my way through. I made it to the intersection and I was immediately stopped by a police officer. I pleaded my case that I was only going to the hotel 50-feet away and he reluctantly let me continue my journey.
I slid into a spot, grabbed my bag, and hiked my way to the front door. Once I was checked in I was so ready to unwind. I walked into the room, took a shower, and sat down to enjoy some of the best TV that 12:00 am has to offer, The Office reruns. I rummaged through my bag and found my stash of goodies. I munched, drank, and simply enjoyed my time alone.
I love my family with everything I have. But this is the first time in over 6-years that I was truly alone and without specific family responsibility. I felt no guilt. I stayed up past 3:00 am, because I could. It was marvelous.
Of course morning came and it was time for me to thaw out the truck and make my way home. And I did just that… at a bit of a snail’s pace. This unintentional vacation was a gift. It gave me time to relax, refresh, and simply enjoy myself.