Tales from the heart of a blizzard

These are semi-regular updates from our snow day. Since I’m going to be getting cabin fever, the least you can do is read about it!

9 am – woke up to a windy, white world. It’s hard to tell with the blowing snow, but I’d say there’s considerably less snow than predicted. This looks more like 6 – 8 inches than 18. (Note the lower portion of the fence.) Not saying we should be having school today, by any means.

Everyone is now on a screen – Mom and Dad are working, Grey is on his Chromebook and Thane is watching Wild Kratts.

Backyard blizzard view

10 am – Adam made four hot loaves of fresh bread for our neighbors, to help keep starvation from the door. I invited the older kids over to entertain our kids with a rousing rendition of HeroScape. Then I realized that people probably needed to be able to, you know, get to our house. So I grabbed a shovel.

The snow on the stairs was taller than the door, but powdery and easily pushed aside. I cut my way to the road, noting that the front yard snow was waaaaay deeper than the back yard snow – the promised 18 inches at least! The snow filled it even as I cut it. I got slightly stymied by the plow berm, but then decided my friends have legs and they could step over it.

Great thing about elementary schoolers is that four of them are less work than two of them….

Snowstorms make getting to your neighbors a logistical exercise.
Snowstorms make getting to your neighbors a logistical exercise.

11 am – the kids read and played quietly for an hour, but then they spotted other little heads on the street, and booked it to get their snow gear on. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate having kids who can put on and take off their own snow gear without parental intervention… ah….

Now there are some hijinks next door that involve sleds and vertiginous drops. Despite the transport ban, the road is a bit busy for sledding. Adam’s taking his turn on the walks to try and stay ahead of the DOOM. (The sidewalk portion of what I shoveled had completely filled in. The walkway portion stayed bare.)

Little figures in the snow
Little figures in the snow

1 pm – We went out sledding at noon. The DPW was attempting to plow our street, which was a bad combination. They asked us to stop sledding, so we did. I took most of the older kids in the neighborhood, and they’re currently wreaking havoc in Grey’s bedroom. Grilled cheese for lunch!

Grade school neighbors
Grade school neighbors

2 pm – I found the snow from the back yard. It was all on top of the cars. A million thanks to both David and Tobin for the snow-blowing. The snow removal on this driveway is a classic reason you should never buy houses during glorious October weather.

There's a car  under there. Somewhere.
There’s a car under there. Somewhere.

4 pm – Nothing like a day at home with your children while trying to do a full day’s work to make you really grateful for school. It’s just about time to stop splitting my personality and being full time at home!

7 pm – Best possible way to end a snow day!

Potluck with neighbors
Potluck with neighbors

10 pm – friends have returned to their home and our house is returned to a semblance of order. And yet it snows.

Cabin Fever

In my youth, I was heavily influenced by the great, classical writers whose influence will be felt down through the generations. I mean, of course, Erma Bombeck and Patrick McManus. What? You’ve never heard of them? And you call yourself an English major! Erma I’ll leave for another time: suffice it to say everything I know about maternity underwear I learned from her. Patrick McManus is the pinnacle of humorous outdoorsy writers. He wrote about the world in which I lived my youth — a world I left in the dust when I drove across a blazing hot country from my home in the shaded Northwest to arrive at a prestigious and ritzy New England college, dripping in history and “Natty Lite”.

I remember reading “Never Sniff a Gift Fish” in the log cabin my grandparent’s inhabited on the Cedar River, at a Boy Scout camp they ran (Camp Fremont). There were dogs milling about and arcane tools stacked in tubs in the corners. It was chilly and I don’t recall fireworks, which points to a Christmas visit. One of the prizes I unearthed in a back room was a stack of McManus Masterpieces. The great ones were there: “Rubber Legs and White Tail Hairs”, “They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?” and “The Grasshopper Trap”.

Anyway, one of his brilliant essays talked about Cabin Fever. Go ahead. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Read it? Good.

So Monopoly, fudge and the old “Great Northern Railroad” calendar.

That, folks, is where we’re at here. I’ve been home since Wednesday, when it seemed like a good idea to work from home. Ha! Since then, I think it’s snowed three times? Four times? Yesterday, a day I was willing to venture out, I had to take two passes at getting in to my driveway because I turned the wheel, but the car was disinclined to go that direction. Today it was much worse. For the second time in three weeks we had to cancel church. I was very much looking forward to church. You know, people who don’t beg to play their DS or scream at me because they’ve lost the lid to their very favorite toy: the empty milk jug?

I suspect my mother-in-law is planning a break for it. She keeps talking about “packing bags” and “plane leaves tomorrow at 11, but you could probably drop me off now if that’s more convenient”.

Grey is bored stiff. I don’t blame him. I’m bored stiff too — or possibly that’s a side effect of the shoveling. Did I mention that all of us except Grey is sick with a sniffly cold?

You know the only thing worse than being bored stiff? It’s being bored stiff and not permitted to sit down and read a good novel because someone wants up on the couch. And down off the couch. And up on the couch. And down off the couch. And up on the couch…. and wait! Where is the lid to the milk jug?!?!?

At least Grey is now at an age where he can play in the snow while his father and I shovel. He had fun this afternoon, getting buried in deep drifts, throwing snowballs at passing cars and pretending to be cold. I didn’t take any pictures because I was afraid that no one would recognize the white-haired gnome.

Tomorrow it should be all done. The winter storm will pass. We’ll all head back to work and daycare for the long slog of serious winter. Thane will probably have to go back to the doctor because he’s not better. All the balls that were put down on the ground for a week will be picked back up and tossed into the air. I’ll dye everyone’s hair back to the normal color, and life will go on.

Let’s just hope this is the last of the snow!