Category Archives: Traffic

Getting There is Half the – What??

Yesterday was a rude awakening, in more ways than one. First off, apparently everything that hasn’t been happening at the office decided to happen in full force Monday. My day off. So of course, the first thing I got to spend time doing yesterday (after I got the full rundown of Monday’s events) was to play catchup on all of the projects left for me while I was being Mom at home. Then – and only then – was I able to start on new work, like setting up the new assistant’s computer and training her on basic company software.

But of course, all of this couldn’t happen until I actually got to work, which – as it turns out – was yesterday’s adventure. And I’m still not quite sure why. See, the metro forecast called for rain – lots of rain – which, here in H-town means that every meteorologist in the entire area was salivating at the prospect of heavy flooding. It gave them a chance to create all of their worst-case-scenario graphs, charts and maps. Usually we all just laugh, roll our eyes and go on with our daily business.

Apparently yesterday was different. Apparently yesterday was the ONE day that all of us commuters decided to actually take the forecast seriously and embrace the doomsday flood prospects. Because from the first turn out of my suburban neighborhood, everyone was crawling along the roadways like ants through honey. You would have thought that fog limited visibility to five feet or less, or that the driving rain and feet of water on the roads brought traffic to a virtual standstill.

In reality, it was misting softly, no fog, an occasional small puddle and pretty dry roads. And given that I was headed into work an hour early because of a lunchtime appointment, I was relieved and ready to rock and roll on the road.

Not so much. My back way to the highway? The one that goes through a school zone? Since school started yesterday – along with the imagined rainstorms – that meant that, instead of 25 mph, apparently the speed limit was changed to 5-10. My normally ten minute jaunt to the interstate took 40 minutes. That’s right. 40. The zero is intentional.

And once on the highway? Crawling. A reported wreck on another highway further into town slowed things down even further, since the interstate has an exit ramp onto said highway. Stalled 18-wheeler in the center lane? Check. This one always baffles me. Honestly, can’t you tell when you’re having car trouble and at least move over? I do. But then I tend to be paranoid about weird shakes and noises in my car anyway.

One hour in, and guess what? That’s right – still not raining.

My normal bottleneck? The one that I always feel guilty about circumventing? Yep. Still the same. Actually that was the ONE part of the drive that went as usual. No faster, slower or stranger than usual.

An hour and a half after leaving my suburban home – and success! I managed to travel the 21 miles to the office. And I still wonder – what causes traffic like this? It’s not like the road was closed or impassable due to flooding/low visibility/rain, etc. I never understand.

The only things I can possibly think of are commuters’ dumbassery and poor road planning. Really. And the positive? I can honestly say that every day is a new adventure! Spontaneous! A bright surprise! The morning commute is never predictable! Yippee!!

Now if I could only get used to having my cheese moved daily…

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Filed under commuting, Houston, Traffic, Weather, working moms

I’m a Failed Christmas Mom

Why, you ask? Because I did the unthinkable. Yesterday, in the midst of doing good deeds and shopping for others, I caved. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I bought something for myself.

I know, I know. You’re all gasping in shock. How dare I? I’m still beating myself with my Mom cane. But before you judge too harshly, listen to the facts.

1. I bought it online. So I wouldn’t find other stuff for me in the store. And also because the store in question has ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING at this time of year. I learned that the hard way last week.

2. It was on sale. Granted, I paid for shipping. Just don’t tell anyone.

3. It was only ONE item. One. Surely that’s not too bad, right? And it’s cute. And blingy. Guess the Girls Down the Hall are rubbing off on me.

No, this would never fly in my office. Never. Ever. But surely I deserve a reward for fighting off the masses in the toy aisles of Target and Walmart, right??

Ready? Here it is:

So maybe, just maybe – I’ll look half as cute as those chicks on the pages of InStyle when I’m out Christmasing around on the weekends. And for a whole lot less than they spend.

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Filed under Christmas shopping, Moms, Old Navy, Sales, Self gratification, Traffic

Hypocritical

I’ve always been taught that you shouldn’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Can’t remember any other cute little sayings my mom may have used over the years, but you get the idea. And I totally agree. That’s part of being an ethical, honest human being, right? Right. And if you make mistakes, the right thing to do is own it and fix it, right? Right.

I’m a hypocrite.

See, here’s the deal. We all have pet peeves. We do. Even if you don’t think you do – you do. That ONE thing that irritates you more than anything else and will take you to your last nerve if you let it? That’s a pet peeve. And one of my biggest pet peeves is cutters. You know them. Those people who see you heading to the checkout line and make a speedy beeline to get there before you. The ones who are more obvious and just shove in line at the movies. We’ve all seen them. Well, the ones who bug me the most are the drivers. The ones who drive past the ‘lane closed’ sign – the bright orange one – just like you do. But do they move over? No. They whiz on past, waiting until the absolute last inch of available lane and then force their way over in front of you. Do they realize that they are the traffic issue? That they’re the reason the rest of the roadway comes to a complete stop? Maybe. I’m sure some do. Anyhoo, I HATE it. True, strong, self-righteous hate.

I have to duck my head when I say this, but I’ve become one of them.

Not all of the time, mind you. Just sometimes. I used to be militant about following the letter of the law, common sense and unwritten driving courtesy. So much that I almost needed a sign for the top of the car screaming, ‘SEE??! I”M DOING THE RIGHT THING!!’

Not anymore. I’m ducking my head in shame here, but I’ve gotta be honest.

I cut in traffic.

Only in ONE location, during ONE part of my commute, and ONLY in the morning. See? Here I am trying to make it sound better – like I’m not a filthy hypocrite… But I am. I’ll explain… My morning commute averages about 45 minutes. Sometimes less, but sometimes a lot more – like up to an hour and 15 minutes. Seriously. But I’m a mom. I live in the ‘burbs. I can only leave so early – somehow I think the school would complain if I sent my kids to the bus stop an hour early. Or my neighbors would when the early-morning wrestling started down at the corner. So I’m limited on my start time.

Most of the drive is OK. I’m patient and try to be a good citizen, letting people in my lane, etc. But once I get to the bottleneck, all bets are off. There’s one spot on my route that comes to a complete stop. And there’s the dilemma. I could stay in my assigned lane, which is always much slower and longer due to poor planning down the road. I could. And I did for a long time – until I started being late to work. I hate being late. Also, this is a new job, so I’m still building trust, etc. I don’t want to get the ‘late’ label. No way.

So, I move over. Into the faster-moving, non-exit lane. And I creep up on the left, wait for my opportunity and some kindhearted soul who will let me over, and sweep into the correct lane. In front of all the law-abiding citizens who are silently waving their fists at me. But it saves me 10-15 minutes of drive time every day. And for this working mom, that’s a gold mine…

Like I said, this is probably trivial to most of you (or the five of you who read this), but I like to walk the talk. I try, anyway. So I had to be honest and get this off my chest.

Whew! What are your pet peeves??

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Filed under commuting, ethics, Pet peeves, suburbs, Traffic, working moms

New Start, New Year – and a surprise via the radio

So it’s been nearly two years since I posted. Yikes. In my own defense, lots of heavy stuff has been happening. Tons. I’m talking War and Peace-length issues. But I’m feeling inspired and a dear friend gave me the idea for a blog dealing with my random thoughts. Musings, if you will. Reflections on what I see, hear and think on a regular basis. That sounds a bit frightening to me, since I’m intimately acquainted with the contents of my brain. It’s my constant companion by default, and I admit I’m a bit afraid of letting it out of it’s cozy, skull-shaped box for some air. But growth and change are uncomfortable processes, albeit necessary ones, so I’m repurposing this blog for a new start.


Sometimes my thoughts are so random that even I can’t explain them. But yesterday, what I thought was a random brain fart was actually real. Here’s the truth. While driving home with both younglings after school, the Justin Bieber-esque music (their choice, not mine) stopped for the rush-hour traffic report (so completely relevant on my suburban drive…) Dazed by the Beebs, I heard something about a barrel in the middle of a major thoroughfare and belatedly tuned in to the newscast just in time to hear – wait for it –


“And just reported running up the side of the North Freeway, a creepy clown without pants.”


WHAT?? I shouted, scaring both of the younglings out of their electronically-induced trance. “What’s wrong?” asked the older of the two.


“What did you just hear on the radio?” I asked. Older Youngling repeated verbatim that a creepy clown without pants was running along the highway. Seriously. Even I can’t make this stuff up.


My first thought was sympathy for the poor deputy who was on call at that moment. Who wants to come home after dealing with that and answer the “How was your day?” question? Then it struck me. The radio announcer specifically described the guy as a ‘creepy’ clown. Hmmmm… I’ve always been creeped out by clowns myself, ever since a traumatic experience with Ringling Brothers at age eight. But I’ve always thought myself in the minority – quirky, if you will – or just plain weird, if you won’t. So I brought it up to my rapt audience of eight-year-olds at my day job.


“Clowns ARE creepy. Everybody knows that.”
“They freak me out.”
“They scare me. It’s something about all that makeup.”
“If I ever see a clown up close I’ll karate-chop it in the face.”


Wow. Kids hate clowns too. I can’t possibly imagine why:

 

Now, admittedly both of these films have cemented my phobia of clowns, but I kept wondering why kids would hate them too. Not just a few kids. Lots of them. Makeup? Painted-on smiles? The inability to read an honest facial expression? Not being able to classify friend or complete stranger? My Jungian/Piagetian brain started to spin.

OK, now I’m delving too deeply into the chasms of my brain. See what I mean? It can be truly frightening! But then again, there has to be something to my thought pattern if kids are just as creeped-out by clowns as I am. Obviously that radio announcer was too. So, Mr. Creepy-Clown-Without-Pants, I hope you get what you deserve for that stunt. And where the heck did you put your pants??

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Filed under Clowns, Reflections, Resolutions, Traffic