The Storm of The Century, 2003 Edition

Well, it happened.

There's a huge part of the country that is blanketed under a lot of the white stuff tonight. Meanwhile, we're here in Florida and while it is a little colder than average today, it is far from freezing. It was a storm of this magnitude that actually got us to move to Florida.

February, 2003: We had scheduled one of our twice a year treks from Maryland to Walt Disney World. It was booked to take advantage of the value season rates and we'd still get Valentine's Day at the previous week's prices.

Then while watching the Weather Channel early that Monday morning, the predictions of doom and gloom started happening. The mid-Atlantic region was going to be dumped with two feet, then three feet of snow. I called my boss on Thursday to see what was going on. (The beauty of those cell phones that we'd picked up the month before!) I got an earful about the storm that was going to start the next night.

Our original plans had us driving home Saturday, with an overnight stay along I 95 and we'd get home sometime Sunday to get ready for Ed to go to work Monday morning and me Monday afternoon. Then I'd have the next day off and go back Wednesday night. We kept an eye on the situation.

Friday afternoon, E calls me and tells me the storm is starting. Our mall was not known for closing down for snow, but they had passed out fliers to the merchants with 'snow emergency numbers'. Hmmm, interesting. This is the same mall that hadn't bothered to plow 12" of snow in December and the only way I was able to get into it unscathed is because I knew how far the trees should be from the curbs!

Saturday morning, we're packed and ready to check out (had express checkout, so technically, we were checked out). I call E and she says DO NOT LEAVE, the mall is closed and it is still snowing. I said something about having to be there to close Monday night and was assured that if the mall was going to be open, that she'd cover my shift. Soon after, my district manager calls me and says even if the mall opens, she doubts she would risk any of her staff's safety-just stay in Florida.

It bought us an extra three days down here. The first one, we went to the Magic Kingdom and got this picture:

The third day, we drove over to Clermont, Florida. A friend was building a house there and Ed and I figured it was worth a look. Everywhere we went, people would ask "Are you planning on moving here? You'll love it!" The gears started turning.

The drive home the next day was perfect until Richmond. The sides of the interstate had the remnants of snow. Around Dale City, it started looking bad. The Beltway was clear, but you had to be careful to look for the lights of the cars merging in because you couldn't see them over the plowed snow on top of the 36" accumulation. Montgomery County, the ramps weren't even plowed to get you on and off the interstate.

Our county, used to the snow because of the three mountain ranges that passed through it, looked like business as usual. 12 hours after the last flake landed, it was clear sailing-until we pulled onto our block. It was 1am and we had to spend an hour shoveling snow to be able to park the car. We put a yard stick into the snow in the front yard and the end was flush with the top of the snow, making it taller than Chef.

It was then that Ed had convinced me to consider moving to Florida, so we never had to deal with it again. There's a huge sense of relief that I don't have to shovel it, deal with the constant knee and wrist throbbing that results from the combination of cold weather and arthritis, mixed with concern that everyone is safe and warm.

Now, all my friends are up there and dealing with the white crap. You can move away from that stuff, but you still worry about those who haven't.

Stay safe, warm and careful up there, everybody.


...and I read this while looking outmy window at 2 feet of snow....

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