January 29, 2014

#SnowJam : The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Dear Northerners,

Shut up! We don't want to hear it. Laugh it up, go ahead, but we don't want to hear from you.
We do not have tires that are designed for snow like yours. We do not have chains. Our city does not have as many resources as yours do to fight these conditions. Also, bite your tongue, because this isn't snow. This is SOLID sheets of ice that is over an inch thick.

So you can go step on a lego. You can come get in my front wheel drive car and try driving up some of our roads right now, then I'll let you talk about it.

Signed, a Stupid Southerner

PS: This really story here puts what happened here into perspective.


Now on to this episode of The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The Bad

One of the most frustrating parts of the my trip was from people's general disregard for traffic laws. Most of the issues of length in time for me initially came from people who were entering intersections when the lights were yellow and therefore not making it through the light, thus causing those who were traveling through the other side of the intersection were not able to pass when they had the green light. Others were just blatenly running lights and stop signs. It was truly terrifying.

Not to mention, no we don't know how to drive in these conditions. People just spinning their wheels. Stop it. You aren't going to move. You should have gotten tires before your tread was worn bald. Those that were spinning and moving, but were kicking up more junk than they were moving weren't gearing down to 2nd or 1st gear.  I saw people break down hill and then not be able to figure out how to get back up the other side. Um don't stop?  It was just a mess. One big fast cluster..yeah

People are constantly complaining right now about the DOT and emergency personnel not getting out there and taking care of business. Quite frankly, I am going to take up for them right now. The number of people who abandoned their cars in places they shouldn't have was APPALLING. I watched as fire trucks and others vehicles were not able to pass on the shoulder because of the number of abandoned cars. Now, I'm not saying people shouldn't have just gotten out and called it quits, especially those that were stuck, but some people chose very poor, poor places to leave their automobiles. The salt trucks and the snow plows could not pass through the congested traffic, nor could they go around using the shoulder. They tried, I could see them trying to help every single person they could get to as fast as they possibly could.

The Ugly

The absolute worst part of this storm is that everyone is so, so helpless. There is nothing we can do to get ourselves out of the situation except to seek shelter in some nearby establishments. I was lucky enough to get home, but there are still so many stranded motorists that still haven't made it off the road. My high school youth pastor, his wife, and their twins, have been stuck in this for 24 hours on the other side of the city from me and they still have not moved.

There are many children that slept on their classroom floors or other that were stuck on school buses for just as long as I was in my warm car.

The Good, or just plain Beautiful

Even with everyone being displaced it was so nice to see everyone coming together to help one another. My heart is so happy seeing my fellow Atlantans help one another.
  • Strangers helping push strangers out of ice
  • People offering rides or a tow to those stuck
  • Businesses such as Home Depot, Kroger, and other major stores such as those (and many more) welcoming stranded motorists giving them food and a warm place to stay. 
  • People offering up their homes to absolute and total strangers.
  • This morning people are out with water and food for those who probably haven't eaten since this time yesterday!
Reading the posts on SnowedOutAtlanta is absolutely moving. I so wish I could get out and help those around me. This may be selfish, but I am not driving again. In my defense, most of the remaining bad stuff is not within walking distance of me right now. Those stuck by me need gas, and I can't help with that department. There are so many heartwarming  stories like the one of the dad who hiked 6 miles to sleep with his daughter at school, as well as all of the others of people offering help to others.

Honestly, it makes me so proud of my fellow Georgians. All of us can be such terrible people at times, but the past 24 hours has restored my faith in humanity.


Last night may have been the single worst experience I have ever had in my life. To put it best, "I just want to pull over and cry."

I left work at 1 pm. I packed up my laptop, and told my boss I'd be back online in about 30 mins after I got to my apartment. I wanted to get home before everyone and there mama left, so I could work the rest of the afternoon without interruptions. WRONG!!

As I said in my last post, I didn't get on the fastest route home. I took a surface street thinking they would be less clogged and would relieve themselves faster of the congestion if they were. Plus I wouldn't feel pressured to drive faster than I wanted to. I took the major surface streets such as Peachtree and Piedmont. and never even moved. After about hour 5 or 6, I got out of the car to use the bathroom and to give my nerves a break. At this point, the only rough patches in the road were in neighborhoods on hills. So the traffic report lead me to decide to get back on the interestate and proceed on home. I couldn't stand the thought of being so close to home and not get there, coupled with the fact of I have no idea how long everything was going to last if I decided to just stay.

I got back on 400, barely. The road conditions had worsted in my brief hour stop that felt like a 3 hour stay.  My car got a little squirrely (as Billy likes to call it) getting back on the road, but I got through it. I saw several cars spinning out unable to make the hills their cars had stopped on. I saw others who were completely disregarding the lights and traffic laws.

I finally made it on to 400 and my heart burst with happiness. I could my tires could roll. I could move--not fast, but I was moving. I made it to the intersection of 285, and my heart dropped. It was like driving into the walking dead. There were abandoned cars, cars facing in all directions, people walking, people pulling cars. There are no words to describe what I saw. I so wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to take my hands off the wheel. Here are a few from the AJC

I got to my ramp which was riddled with accidents, flashing lights, and cars who weren't apple to go around it. I decided I would go up to the next exit and track backwards against traffic on the surface streets, and if that ramp was blocked, I was driving to Billy and he was meeting me at the ramp in his truck with 4-wheel drive to get me at least out from behind the wheel. I was approaching hour 9 or 10 at this point. Every time I would hit a patch of ice, I would sequel hoping I was sliding away from the cars around me and also because there was nothing else I could do to help myself but slide it out.

I thought about walking.
I thought about hitching a ride.
I thought about sleeping in my car.
I thought about just trying to get to the nearest shelter.

I couldn't stand the idea of being within spitting distance of my apartment and not being able to get there. I just wanted to get my car off of the interstate and out of the way of those trying to help the situation. All of the abandoned cars that were not involved in accidents did nothing but make the situation worse. Emergency vehicles could not pass, trucks with sand or salt were stuck in line with the rest of us, and I didn't want to be that guy. I considered walking, then I remembered I was in heels and had already slipped twice at the Wendy's.
All I wanted to do was cry. Quite frankly, the only option I had at this point was to cry. and I did. I can get myself out of any sticky situation, but I was completely helpless. There was nothing I could do. As dramatic as it may sound, it felt like somebody from the Titanic waiting for the Carpathia to come save me. "Waiting to live. waiting to die"

I finally. finally. made it to my exit, on hour 11. I made it up the ramp flawlessly. Then, after crossing the bridge, it was #Snowmageddon. There were cars driving on sidewalks, cars spinning uncontrollably, cars facing the wrong direction, cars stopped, people just giving up and seeking shelter at the nearby Kroger, gas stations, or anything that was open at that point. The hill I was about to go down a was a sheet of ice. I had mustered up some confidence and my determination--that ice wasn't stopping me. I had to pee again. My hips were killing me. My eyes were so tired, but I couldn't give up now. I made it to the bottom of the hill where I found a group of men who I wanted to kiss dead on the lips.
They were salting or sanding the roads! Not to mention I was greated with no one going in my direction!!! I could go at a speed that I felt comfortable with and I could go fast enough down a hill to get back up the other! If Billy hadn't still been hanging out on my bluetooth, I would have played the hallelujah chorus.

The rest of my drive was great, including the entrance to my community! On normal days it is treacherous, and I was already prepared to park at a nearby shopping center and walk from there, but it was a breeze. At that point 30 mph felt like 80. I wanted to cry again when I was able to put my key in my door and open my door to a warm and cozy dwelling at almost 1:00 am. 

Even after I called everyone back that had called and checked on me, I was able to crawl in bed. However, I still couldn't sleep. My nerves were torn up. I still wanted to cry--for myself and those who are still stuck in this mess. I had nightmares all night reliving driving or of me actually sliding off the road into ditches and other cars. I have no plans of getting back in my car for at least a week because of them.

Stay tuned for my afternoon post of the good, the bad and the ugly regarding my day-long commute.

January 28, 2014

This blog post is brought to you by Wendy's


At least that's what I am going to call what is the beginning of my night from hell. Let's recap

12:30-ish -- Snowing begins
1:00-ish -- I leave work to resume the day at home.
1:030-ish -- Some jerk cut me off so I couldn't get on the interestate to go home. I made lemons out of lemonade and told myself that the surface streets would be better on a day like today.

Traffic is crawling and the icy conditions are getting worse. Let me sum up driving conditions and the streets of Atlanta by saying that I was literally passed by a guy on skiis. You can't make this stuff up.

Now it's 6:45 and I am sitting in a Wendy's in Buckhead still not home. I am still 9 miles from home, and I am not completely convinced I am making it there tonight. According to some friends I am making here, all the rooms in the area are booked from other people frustrated and throwing in the towel for the night. I am not wanting to stay in a hotel, but I am not sure if they are going to let me stay here either.

Next step for #snowmageddon is to fine myself a bar that's still open that will serve me a nice double shot of whiskey.

January 27, 2014

A simple weekend recap

All of last week I have been bouncing back and forth between our current office and our new office that we are in the process of moving into about 10 blocks further north of where we are now further into Midtown. How sweet are these new digs?!

I set myself up here one morning. The buildings you see there are mostly in Atlantic Station.

These bar doors separate parts of our new break room. These doors were made from repurposed wood from an over 100 year old distillery. Xbox and wii are going where the picnic tables are and then another TV will obviously go on the wall there (after we get the bark added to the wall).  I can't wait to get in here every day for lunch. 

Soon this will be our main lobby

The view of Buckhead

I worked a little late Friday, and eventually just had to throw in the towel and tell my boss "Sayonara, sucker." I met Billy at the baseball field just as they were getting out of their meeting to prep for baseball try outs which start today (Monday). The other Billy and Meg, their little one, Addie, and some of the other coaches met us at the Ale house for dinner. It's nice to have our little gang back together for another season.

Saturday Billy and I got up and decided to head to Dawsonville to the outlets. We didn't have much better to do, and I needed some work winter work clothes. I'm convinced people in my office building think I am still a broke college kid, because half the time I still dress like it. We got there and found out the loft outlets were having an extra 40% off all already clearance priced things! Woop yeah! I was able to get this outfit for a wopping $30! The skirt was about $25 and the cardigan was $5-ish.

That night we went to the new theater at North Point to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Billy's entire family are HUGE Tom Clancy fans, and were all very skeptical going into this one, but we all were on the edge of our big fancy recliners the whole time. PS: Big fancy recliner theaters are better than any other, hands down. 

Sunday, I met my college roomies for lunch and an afternoon at Dave and Busters. It was nice getting to see them again, and any excuse to get to play shuffle board is a good one. 
Please ignore the fact that my hair looks like garbage and my shirt being tucked in makes it look like I have a pooch.

January 20, 2014

As far as entertainment value, things have been very, very slow in my world. 

I took my first out of town business trip. What better city in the world to venture to than Nashville, TN!?
I am generally a big fan of car rides, but for some reason that 3 and a half hour drive just seemed to drag on.
I arrived and was able to work an hour or two before we went to lunch at Demo's, which was where I had some of the best pasta I have had in my life! It was fun getting to walk around downtown Nashville again and taking in all the landmarks. Our office sits right behind the Ryman, next to CMT, and 1 block from Broadway. As far as I was concerned, I was living the dream!

Obligatory "I see the Nashville skyline in the distance" picture

The view out of the window of my office.
After work, and some hard work reading my GPS later, I found my hotel. I typed in the North instead of South which lead me on a chase to a destination that didn't exist. After I arrived, I found out I could have just walked to my hotel.. After that ordeal and the car ride from this morning, I had zero desire to want to drive anywhere else for dinner so I opted to order room service. It was totally out of character for me, but I am so glad I did. I ordered a mouth watering ribeye, garlic roasted green beans, and cheddar cheese mashed potatoes. I am still talking about how good it was. I have considered going back just for that steak.

There are no words. Thank you, Hilton!

After a half day following morning to finish up a few things before I came back to Atlanta. I did enjoy being in the city and catching up with Rachel and the rest of my crazy friends over at Average Joes Entertainment on my way out of town. Walking through their new offices reminded me how much I miss the music business. Maybe one day I'll return.

Now I'm back in my normal world in Atlanta yearning to be back in music city. My company has discussed relocating me there full-time, and I always respond with, "bring it on!"
..and soon!

January 13, 2014

My chains are gone. I've been set free.

Last Monday, my Grandma signed papers to allow hospice come in and take care of my Grandaddy as he nears the final stages of his battle with Alzheimers where he finally gets to go home.

When we first realized something was wrong with him was when I was high school--when he started forgetting things. He would misplace things. He would repeat stories. He would forget directions to places he had been going his entire life. As it progressed he his memories were vague, sporadic, if they were even there at all.

He always wanted to ride. He'd ride anywhere. He'd ride until you wouldn't want to drive him anymore and we'd have to switch drivers. If you were to ask him where he wanted to go, he'd answer "home" Even in his own driveway, that's where he wanted to go.
We would drive him to the place he lived right after marrying my grandma, their first home together. He would say that wasn't home.
We would drive him to the place where his childhood home once stood. He would say that wasn't home.
We would drive him to other places like his Aunt's house and other places that may have meant something to him. Those places weren't home.

I think I got my love of the mountains from him
Wednesday night, my mom called and told me that the nurse said that we should prepare to say our goodbyes. I rushed home as fast as my poor car would allow me and ran into that front door of my sweet grandparent's house faster than I ever had in my entire life. There, sitting in the living room of the house he built with his own hands was one of the strongest men I had ever known taking his last breaths. My grandmother, easily one of the most amazing woman to ever walk this earth, practically a saint, sat next to him holding on to his callused hands that she had loved for 60 years..

We waited, we prayed for peace for his soul and for him to no longer be in pain. The nurse encouraged us to talk to him, to talk to each other, because she said he knew we were there. We laughed. We cried. We loved on him and each other. As the morning came, we decided to go our separate ways so that my grandma could rest. My uncle was the first to begin the exodus. He kissed him on the forehead, told him he loved him, thanked him for being such a great man, and told him it was okay to go now. The rest of us followed.

The second my mom and I got back home the phone rang with news that he snuck out. After everyone had left, all had grown quite, and those who were staying the night weren't looking, he just snuck out.. which is so characteristic of him.

The rest of the weekend was spent with my family saying goodbye, seeing faces I haven't seen in years, mending our broken hearts, and comforting the rock that now holds us together, my Grandmother, who had just lost her best friend that she had been married to for just a few months shy of 60 years. They are a true example of the kind of Marriage I strive to have. The kind of love I hope to one day experience.
After my grandparents had been dating for a few months, my granddaddy told my grandma that God told him she was the one that he was supposed to marry. My grandma told him that God didn't have to tell her, she already knew. 
Even though it was a weekend of goodbyes, it was also filled with most laughter than that house has seen in many years. I suddenly feel so much close to my family after spending these past days with them in all the different circumstances that arose.

After the burial we all returned to my Grandma's house where we continued to stay by her side. We began watching the slideshow video the Funeral Home had created  using our family photos. All those that were present piled on their living room floor of the house that built me as best we could to see the TV. In that moment, I realized how lucky and blessed I am.

Blessed to have known a man so strong as my Granddaddy.
Blessed to have been raised by saint of Grandma.
Blessed to be a part of such a wonderful legacy that he left behind.
Blessed to have two people of such powerful faith set an example for me to live up to.
Blessed beyond belief and proud to have such a wonderful family to love and by loved by.
Blessed to have found peace and closeness in a time that many could be find to be so lonely. 

January 8, 2014

Happy new year everyone, I am finally back. After spending about a week and a half at the cabin for Christmas (or vacation, as I much rather call it) I am back in the swing of things at work and home. Don't expect to many exciting posts from me anytime soon, because these crazy cold temps aren't exactly encouraging me to do anything work documenting besides flying through all 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights.

Here is a quick photo recap of my Christmas end of the year vacation..

I helped Billy and his baseball team with their annual Christmas tree fundraiser. It is always great getting to meet the players, parents, and people in the community that stop by to help support the team.

We kicked off Christmas vacation with the Christmas sermon at our church, North Point

We spent Christmas Adam (Adam comes before eve.. yes I'm proud of that pun) with my parents, and Christmas Eve at my grandparents with all of my extended family. My parents got me a new TV for my bedroom, which I am oh so thrilled about, because now I can actually read what channel I am on. Yes, my old one was THAT small.

Late Christmas Eve, we left and headed North for the rest of the year. Every year on the trip up, Billy and I stop at the same spot and take a picture together with the self timer... unfortunately it was dark and our picture looks like crap, so i doubt we'll be be framing it anytime soon.

Christmas Day was spent with Billy's family--is mom, brother, aunt, uncle, their two kids, and his grandpa. I was finally able to give him the boots he has been gawking over since I've known him--a pair of black caiman belly boots. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of them. He got me a couple of little things like a leather jacket, new makeup brushes, the new peach state pride shirt, and these gorgeous leopard print Nikes! He says I have one more present coming that's back ordered, so the anticipation continues.

For Billy's family's Christmas present from me, I hired a photographer to come and take family portraits of all of them. I really don't think they have had any made since the boys were squirts, at least not any they would use any more. It was also an easy way to knock out the whole family's Christmas in one swift hour. I let the surprise out early.. around thanksgiving. So on Black Friday, instead of hitting up all the sales, our photographer, Spring, came to the cabin and took these on the property. I am so excited how they turned out, and so is his family. Go me! These are some of the pictures Billiam and I took together.

Check out that puppy smile! What a ham.
The rest of the end of the year vacation was very low key. We rarely left the house, except for groceries. Billy was engulfed his the college bowl games. I was just too cold to move. One afternoon, while walking our dogs, someone stopped and asked us if we knew of anyone missing a dog and told us about a puppy that was abandoned near a walking trail and waterfall not far from the house. Of course, being the suckers that we are, we went and rescued the little guy thinking he wandered off a hunt, we could check his chip, and take him back to his owners.. We were stuck with this gorgeous German Shorthair Pointer pup for a few days and finally found a new owner for him as he didn't exactly get along with the other pups (not to mention there were more dog legs than people legs in the cabin at one time).

We did venture out on New Years Eve day. Billy's mom and aunt had a "surprise adventure" planned for us. They only told us to wear warm clothes that we could easily move in and nothing more. ooooooookay. So we all crawled into the expedition and headed for the undisclosed location. Just prior to our arrival, they told us what we would be doing--snow tubing. okay, cool!
We get to the place, but there is absolutely NO snow. Zilch. Zero. Nada!
The "snow" was actually white AstroTurf which covered this 200 ft ramp down a hill. They would wet the "snow" with sprinklers and then you could actually just "tube" down. It was actually a lot more fun than we expected, even though it looked like some ridiculous redneck engineering.