9:00 PM: What a horrible day this has been (Sophie's just fine--don't panic!). It felt like everything that could go wrong did. Randall left early this morning for the conference (he got there fine and is doing well), and the girls and I pulled out not long after (before 8:00). I got them dropped off in Fayetteville as planned, but I hit a fair amount of traffic on my way in to work (the rain from Alberto was intense, and there were times I was hydroplaning, so that was stressful), and it was well after 10:00 by the time I got there. I had meetings all day long, so I don't feel like I accomplished much, and things are very stressful for me at work right now (probably a combination of what I'm working on, plus feeling the effects of being out for vacation and Sophie's time in the hospital). Anyhow, I knew I needed to leave by 2:30 to pick up the girls by 4:00 (It takes about an hour and 20 minutes, but I wanted to allow for traffic). I left at about 2:20 but at some point, I hit traffic that wasn't moving. When it took me more than a half hour to go one mile, I realized I wasn't going to make it, so I called the camp teacher (I had gotten her cell phone number), and she couldn't stay late. At this point, it was almost 3:30, and I called Sylvia, who lives a little closer to Fayetteville than most other folks in the church, and I suspected she would be home. Without hesitation, she got the directions and took off. She picked the girls up not long after 4:00 (which was fine). Meanwhile, I was only inching along, and I finally saw that they had closed I-40 eastbound and were diverting everyone to I-440 (which loops around Raleigh). What was really slowing things down is that many cars were stopping to talk to a man standing on the side of the road telling people how to detour. I went around that long line and called my friend Jamey from church, who put me in touch with someone she works with who knows his way around. He told me they had closed I-40 because of flooding and gave me great directions for how to get around it, but the first way he told me go was closed too. Then I called him back and told me another way to go, which worked. I pulled into Sylvia's at 4:45. My normal commute is 1 hour, and it's never taken my longer than an hour and 45 minutes (until now).
Then, to add insult to injury (although as it turns out, maybe I added injury to insult), when I got home, I discovered that someone had hit our mailbox, and it was hanging upside down by one screw. As I tried to figure out if I could get it screwed back (I couldn't--too much danage), I realized (far too late) that I was standing in a fire ant mound. So I'm hopping around (inches from a highway where semis travel way over the 55MPH speed limit), trying to get my flip-flop off and brush the ants off. One of the church trustees came and fixed it temporarily (thanks Russell!), but it was pretty damaged, so he'll install a new one. Benadryl is helping with the bites I got.
I got the girls packed up, fed, and bathed, and I took them over to Bob and Patti's where they will stay until Saturday morning so I can attend my training for the next two days and not have to drive back and forth. I had a nice visit with Patti, and the girls were happy to be there. Sophie was quite upset about not being able to eat after 7:00 and really pitched a fit (she usually doesn't seem to care). We finally distracted her with a ride on her tricycle.
So, I'm emotionally and physically tired, but I must say that I am amazed and thankful that I had such support today--Sylvia picking up the girls, Jamey's friend Phillip talking me through back roads, Russell taking care of the mailbox, and Patti listening to me complain about all of it and feeding me mashed potatoes--my favorite comfort food (not to mention watching to girls for a long block of time!). As soon as I get packed, I'm going to bed.