Monday, February 8, 2010

It took about 25 inches of snow to really slow down. Phew.

I believe that in a strange way Mother Nature was looking out for my family. We are very normal people. I personally revel in this normalcy. I've never quite understood the fascination with wanting to be somebody. Aren't we all, already someone? While I cannot claim to be immune to falling victim to scandalous celebrity gossip or the ridiculous reality show gone wrong, I've never, ever wanted the sort of fame that goes along with all the money and madness. But my supposed ordinary existence, is at times a bit much, and even I want to get away from it; or take a break; or just have a reason to sit back and disappear from all responsibilities.

This past weekend left 25 inches of snow at my doorstep. And well, that gave us plenty of time to ourselves (and of course the great outdoors)!

A bit Friday and most of Saturday was spent shoveling snow. We live in a townhouse community. So, as a result there is very little green space. That means there is little t0 nowhere to put snowfall. And normally this is not a problem. But it kept on coming. And as it did the pile grew higher and higher and higher. The one small garden we have now a mountain. I do not kid. You could launch yourself off this sucker (and with the expected snow fall projected for tomorrow evening---up to 10 more inches--- I will be setting up a course for my children off this mountain and into the street before they plows come through. ) You think I'm kidding. It's at least 15 feet high. I suspect it'll be there until April. I'm guessing tax day!

On these days we had all the time in the world for one another. We played in the snow. We shoveled. We climbed our "mountain". We made our lunch together. We ate leisurely together (again that means---I didn't need worry about what time it was---because we had nowhere to go and a whole lot of nothing to do!---This never happens on a weekend.)! We played games. We watched TV. We read books. We colored. We ate chocolate chip cookies. We did sit-ups out of guilt (OK I'm the only one who did sit-ups out of guilt.).We headed back outside to shovel some more. But in all these ventures we did it together.

And we did it without a time frame in mind. At all.

Normally each morning is a tight balancing act, with each and every minute tightly scripted---when if even a moment or two is out of order or takes a bit longer than normal, the backup ricochets into the remainder of the day.

I know that I am not alone in that I have to be at work at a certain time of day. Most folks arrive or even clock in at a specified or routine time. However, most folks don't have 61 teenagers waiting to get into a classroom and find their seats at promptly 720am. Upon arriving at work my day is planned by the minute. Each class period is divided into sections I hope to accomplish and my notes indicate approximately how long each one should take (but you can see Beavis and Butthead to understand that I am flexible at times)---so even when class begins I'm constantly checking the clock. The bell schedule runs on a precise time-frame and rings announce the dismissal or arrival of the next class. After work it's a race against the clock as well. If I want to exercise I have one hour (220-320) to do so. After which I join the rest of the suburban masses and get onto the roads---oh how I hate my car (If only I lived in a walkable city---I'm sure I'd find reason to be annoyed with that, and I'd still have errands to do, but at least I'd be walking and my ass would look better! ). Often I "treat" myself to the grocery store sans children. Who knew that grocery shopping without children could be so blissful? Then it's to school to pick up the kiddos (thankfully both are at the same spot, at least for the remainder of this school year). I pick up Kendall first: talk with teacher, put on coat, say goodbye. Now for Conor. See earlier sentence---same routine. Then (my favorite) back in the car and this time onto the highway. By now it's usually about 415. And to think we found ourselves on this same highway (albeit going the opposite direction) at 645am. Woo hoo. Even when we get home I'm still a slave to the clock---unpack groceries, unload backpacks, put dishes away (as invariably I have run the dishwasher the night before), start dinner, eat dinner, give baths, set out clothes for the next day, brush teeth, comb hair, read stories, say goodnight.

Woah---it's 8pm, where'd those 3 1/2 hours go. But wait stop whining, stop wasting this precious free time. It's time to party. Or maybe not---I'm pooped at the prospect of doing this all again, and in less than 12 hours. Possibly I'll go buck-wild with another glass of vino----all the while getting the rest of stuff together (pack lunches and determine what I can wear to work that doesn't need ironing). Usually the day ends with the alarm being set and the crossword puzzle on the bureau (on a good day it's about 3/4 done).

So exciting, I know.

Remember, though, I said earlier, I do love my very, normal life. It's the routine nature of it that often gets to me. But I'm such a creature of habit, that the most exciting thing for me might be to meet a dear friend at ChikFila in the middle of the week in lieu of cooking dinner. And let's face it. Parents don't go to ChikFila for the fantastic cuisine---because while they might make a kick-ass Chix nugget, the indoor play facility is the real draw. Why they don't serve draft beer and wine for the adults is beyond me. They'd make a killing.

So, Mother Nature, you threw 25 inches at me this past week. And while I fought loving it for a long, long time, when I finally did submit to the beauty of it all, it really was quite blissful
Because for a few nights I didn't look at the clock once---except of course when I set the oven timer for our freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.


  1. Ah, I'm thinking back to the really big DC blizzard, likely in the late 1950s, that had us out of school and off work for 9 or 10 days. Trudging to church in boots and snowsuits (and steaming through Mass) was an adventure — when the same walk for school would have been torture. I walked to High's in Four Corners one day to bring back a glass gallon of milk, but slipped and broke it on a curb. When I returned to the store teary-eyed to see how much I could buy with my remaining change, the guy gave me a new gallon. Chivalry was not dead! What clearer indication could there be that a big storm removes us from Real Life?

  2. I totally relate to your comments about being a slave to the clock... at least from the teacher's perspective. What I get tired of is the constant planning. How you have to account for every minute of your day! It's so draining. Then I have to come home and plan what I'm going to cook for dinner! Then I have to go to practice and come up with what we're going to do there for an hour! Some days I just want someone to tell ME what to do. So yes, these snow days have been good for all of the mindless nothing that's going on. I haven't done a DAMNED thing. I almost feel guilty about accomplishing nothing, but my brain feels so good right now. Granted, I'm starting to look eerily like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, and my wife even caught me typing "All work and no play makes Gregg a dull boy" at the computer earlier today, but those are small things.