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No Snow? Again?

A parent’s lament at the lack of snow days.

Last year was some parents’ nightmare, but personally, I was in heaven when the Snowpacolypse hit. Mountains of snow everywhere. No school for days. With the government closed, I missed work with no guilt.

This year I long for snow days more than the kids do. (And I apologize now to anyone who lost power for days during the last blast. I know you had a tough time.)

A good snow day at our house usually starts with the kids waking up to fluffy flakes, searching desperately for a motley collection of snow gear (they can never be bothered to look too hard), put it all on over their pajamas and go outside without breakfast.

I wander downstairs, make two pots of coffee, and start cinnamon rolls with actual yeast. (Recipe available in “The Joy of Cooking”. Use a meat thermometer to get the water the right temperature for the yeast and it’s really quite easy.) Put the pan of dough on the radiator to rise -- it’s just the right temperature.

With no way of leaving, the long-suffering husband (LSH) goes outside and proceeds to totally hog the shoveling. We’re the only couple in the universe who both enjoy shoveling. But since he’s an early mover, he hogs it.

The kids usually start out sledding at a neighborhood hill, and this year would go to the middle school. I wandered to the sledding hill last year just in time to see my daughter headed down the hill standing on her slide, riding that sucker like a bareback rider in the circus rides a horse.

Son and his friends built a jump. No arms were broken.

But this year, the single snow fall was so paltry that the hill turned into mud within an hour. I washed three loads of muddy snow clothes.

During the Snowpacolypse, the kids built a club house in a huge mound of snow that LSH and the plow left at the corner of our drive. They walked up and down the street marvelling at how deep they sunk.

At one point, a young cat escaped the house and tried to walk across a drift. She sunk down into it and desperately tried to clamber out. My daughter went out to help, got the cat but then herself got stuck in snow to her mid thigh. LSH ran out and pulled them both out.

Around 11 a.m. on a good snow day, the cinnamon rolls are ready so the kids are willing to come in for breakfast. Hot chocolate and rolls all around.

A drying rack by the radiator in the dining room hold the clothes, but after breakfast it gets tricky. Few kids in Maryland have two complete sets of snow gear so mine go out for a second time in an even more motley assortment of pants, boots and probably a pair of my mittens.

I go out and plead with the neighbors to let me dig their car out for them so I can enjoy the feeling of getting overheated from hard work on a crisp day under a brilliantly sunny sky. They’re reluctant because they don’t know how awful it is to  be married to a man who hogs the shoveling. Soon, I find someone who isn’t paying attention and dig out their car on the sly.

The day develops its own rhythm. Kids come in and out, shedding wet clothes and getting dry. They complain about red, stiff fingers but are reluctant to be indoors. (A snow day ban on television probably helps.) They make popcorn and tea in the midafternoon, and they and their friends sit at the kitchen table and laugh at stuff that I forgot was funny.

They go out again, and I sink into the big chair by the window near the bird feeder and watch the sparrows, black capped chickadees and sometimes even a woodpecker come to dine. Even the squirrels are miracles. They grasp the top of the feeder with their hind legs and hang down, reaching through the squirrel deterrent to get the seeds. They’re not deterred and I’m highly impressed.

So, we need a snow day. We need to cut snow flakes from paper. We all need to wear our pajamas inside out. Put your dolls’ clothes inside out too. Bring it on.

Any other tricks? Please share. We need a snow day.

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