Posts Tagged With: blizzard

remembrance of snow days past

Yesterday’s snow day got me thinking about all the snow days I’ve had the joy to live through.
From snow days with my girls to snow days when I was a girl.
Curiously, the memory that took my breath away was of a snow day in 1979.
I was seven years old in February, my eighth birthday would come in May. A crazy storm came out of nowhere and buried the DC Metro area in over two feet of snow.

President’s Day Storm 1979
photo copyright: Washington Post

This was a bomb cyclone storm too, (Though I think it was before that phrase was in the common lexicon.).
This storm was of great significance, mostly because everyone was caught off guard. It also directly impacted the way meteorologists predict storms.

But for this particular little red-haired girl, who dug tunnels to access an elaborate system of housing (caves) in her yard, drank her body weight in hot chocolate, and impatiently waited for her gloves to dry before she could go back out to play again, the President’s Day Storm had a different kind of significance.
It’s the first time I can recall actively panicking.
Because the storm hit us out of the blue, after a couple of days, we ran out of important things. You know…milk and bread, and the like.


My mother decided to walk the .6 miles (uphill) to our local Safeway to get what we needed. As you can see, according to Google Maps it’s about a 12 minute walk from home to the grocery store. I figure that was pretty much the same 38 years ago as it is now. House is in the same place…even the same Safeway.

Now, in hindsight, I wonder if she wasn’t just trying to get out of the house and away from us kids and Grandaddy. Since there’s no one left to ask, I guess we’ll never know.

I’ve only recently come to understand my childhood of being a “mommy’s girl” that didn’t feel comforted by her mommy was directly linked to my attachment anxiety. That I clung to my mother in desperate desire to feel connected to her, even though I very rarely did.

When I started my little jaunt down memory lane of snow days, I first visited the amazing tunnels and caves my brother and I built. Saw the snow packed down from flipping ‘skin the cat(s)’ about seven hundred thousand times off the big strong limb of the maple tree. And actually, if I think about it, that may have been how we decided to created the cave and tunnel system.
But then as I jumped over the fence (couldn’t open the gate for all that snow) to visit the forts we carved out of the snow against the fence, I felt my eyes drawn towards the church at the end of our street.
I actively watched up the street for what seemed like hours in a panic waiting for my mother to come home.

I am actively feeling that panic in the pit of my stomach as keenly now as I did at that snowy day.

Of course I have no idea how long my mother was actually gone, how long I stood there anxiously awaiting her return. What felt like hours could have been a much shorter amount of time. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t consciously thought about that day and the way I felt in ages.

What I do know is that when I finally saw my mother turn the corner onto our street, grocery bags strapped to the sled she pulled behind her, I was flooded with the greatest relief I’d ever know.
I ran up the street towards here, crying and gasping for breath.
The look on her face stopped me in my tracks, snowy mittens immediately wiping my face before she noticed my tears. But it was too late. She’d seen them, and had not patience for them.
She said, “What’s the matter with you?” in a tone laced with such disgust it was almost a physical blow.
“I was worried about you. I didn’t know when you were going to come home. I didn’t know if you were safe.”
She shook her head and moved passed me, “Of course I’m safe. Don’t be so dramatic.”

I stood in the street watching her walk away from me. In that moment I felt so small and so terribly stupid. Of course she was safe. She was the mommy. Mommies are strong and capable. I was stupid to worry about her. I was too dramatic with my tears and panic.

I’ve never shared this story before.
Honestly, I haven’t thought about in…well, probably ever. But that’s the memory upon which I landed when I started thinking about snow days.
Not the fun we had as kids.
Not the fun we had as adults with our own kids.
Not the sledding, the snowmen, the bonfires.
Not the snow cream, the snow angels, the hot chocolate.

But I did have fun snow days as a kid.
With a frozen nose and shrieking laughter.
With snowball fights at the church yard and sledding at the park.
Snuggled up with my kitties under colorful ‘afgans’ in cozy jammies and stacks of books.

And I did have fun snow days as an adult.
Witnessing the girls in the snow for the first time.
Bundling everyone up for very quick trips to play.
Taking their photos with the some of the most fun snowmen you’ve ever seen.
Making snow cream.
Making hot chocolate by the potful.

I don’t honestly know if more of my memories are happy than sad. But I do know I go through the happy ones more frequently. I do know that this particular sad one was buried as deep as the snow from that long ago winter.
As far as I’m concerned, snow days are always a good thing!
Our county schools called off Friday just before 5 pm Thursday afternoon. So that means another snow day today!
Even though there really isn’t any snow, I’m still happy!

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the snowy weekend

I saw the first snowflakes begin to fall at 12:30 Friday and finally stop at 10:00 last night.
We shoveled a solid 5″ Friday after dinner. It was already dark out and there was almost an inch of snow on the driveway and sidewalks when we finished. The wind was bitter but that didn’t stop me from grabbing the camera!
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I measured 16″ on the back porch at 8:30 Saturday morning.
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We have the most wonderful neighbor with a snowblower who came and did the driveway and sidewalk to the porch. Made our lives so much easier! We dug out Thing C’s car and shoveled again late in the afternoon.
When we went out this morning we had to dig out the end of our driveway from where the plow came. The snow was almost up to my waist! As soon as we opened a space our neighbor was back to get the last of the snow. Last time it snowed, I made him a giant chicken pot pie. We haven’t yet decided how we’re going to thank him for this huge snow.

Even after all this time, I’m always surprised at how useless Thing G is at anything that requires effort. I was so frustrated at the snow shoveling situation. I got one half of the driveway clear while Thing G wandered aimlessly with a snow shovel in his hands complaining about how cold it was. Thing C, God love that kid. He works hard and never ever complains. He shoveled and shoveled and never once gave up. He did the sidewalk and porch and sidewalk in front of our house all by himself.

I’m fortunate enough to have been brought up by people who made sure I knew how to do practical things. From cars to home repair, to planning and executing most anything “handy”. I can do simple electrical and plumbing work. I know how to hang drywall. I paint like a boss! I can change the oil and tires on a car. I even know how to hotwire a car. (Why my police officer father thought I’d need to know that is curious to me.)
I’m a capable kind of girl.
The former husband used to say that I was “more of a ‘man’ than most men we know”. He meant it as a complement, and he was right.
Being a capable kind of girl is handy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m not afraid of breaking a sweat or getting dirty. I jump in and get the job done. And I’m an excellent planner. So, when I’m working with less capable people, I get frustrated. I try so hard not to, but I just do.
I don’t understand how someone as smart and capable as YBW chooses not to be handy. I think it was the way he was brought up, apparently his dad kind of jerry-rigged most things and was a bit of a shouter. So he didn’t actually learn how to do these practical things properly. I believe that soured him. He’s not incapable, it’s more like he has no real interest in knowing how to do some of those “handy” things.
I know he likes the creature comforts. He’s not unwilling to try to do these handy things.

I’m sad that none of these boys really has any “sense of adventure”. Nobody wanted to walk in the snow to see what was going on in our neighborhood. Nobody wants to go out and “play”. They’re content to sit in front of computers and televisions. It makes me sad. I want to go out and take some photos. I want to do some back flops off the railing into the snow on the back porch. Nobody wants to play in the snow with me.
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Yesterday after a delicious midday meal of chili and cornbread, (Yummy!) we all went our separate ways in the house. Some of us had worked really hard and deserved a break.

I got Rick Bragg’s new book of essays for Christmas.
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I ran a bath and went with Mr Bragg on a lovely southern journey. Honestly, that bath was the most delicious hot soak I’ve had in ages! I was warm through and through for the first time in two days. It was quiet and peaceful and I read a book I’ve been excited about since it was published in September.
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When the snow stopped at 10:00 last night, I took my last measurement.
Exactly 24″.
Two feet of snow fell in thirty four hours.
How cool is that!?!
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I guess I can be as excited as a little girl about the snow but accept that I’ll be disappointed at the way the snow day goes. I guess I’m remembering snow days from when I was little and when my girls were little. When we worked and played together outside, then came in for hot chocolate and played more together inside. The world isn’t like that anymore. This new family I find myself in isn’t like that. That’s not how they roll.
That’s OK, because I just got a text from my neighbor up the street inviting me to come play with her, her five year old daughter and two year old son!
I’m going to play in the snow. Y’all have a great day!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

snow!

I’m one of those peculiar grown-ups that loves snow days. I’ve been glued to the news this week in anticipation of the storm that’s heading toward us Friday into Saturday. I’m not crossing my fingers for snow totals just yet. You never know what track the storm is on till it’s on that track. But I’ve been assured there will be a goodly bit of snow in the DC Metro area.
We’re even under a blizzard watch! (That just means high winds with the snow, but it’s still cool!)
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

When did this naming of winter storms begin?
I remember huge storms that shut down everything in 1979 (“President’s Day Storm”) and 1983 (Blizzard of ’83). I was eight and eleven years old for those storms. All that time out of school, my mom home from work. Playing in the snow. Creating huge tunnels and caverns in our yard.
These storms had no names.

The blizzard of ’96 saw the former husband, Thing 1 and I traveling home from Thing 1’s Godparents home in Delaware. We followed huge plow trucks through most of Maryland and across the Wilson Bridge. I look back at that and can’t believe how stupid and careless we were. Thing 1 wasn’t quite two years old. We didn’t have any emergency supplies in the car. We just knew we had to get home. We did. We were perfectly safe. And it’s an adventure we still talk about. But my older and wiser self can’t believe we risked that journey with that much snow with my baby in the car.
This storm had no name.

The Nor’easter in January of 2000 brought tons of snow. The snow was higher than Thing 2 who hadn’t yet turned three. Thing 1 had a blast out in our yard! Thing 2 only went out after we had cleared paths for her to walk through. If I recall correctly, Sundance, Girlie Thing and Boy Thing got snowed in with us that time. I’m absolutely positive I made more snowcream and hot chocolate then than I have before or since.
This storm had no name.

I missed the snow in 2010. I was still down in South Cackalacky. They called it “Snowmaggedon” but that’s not really an official name.

This impeding storm is being called “Winter Storm Jonas”. WTF? Why does it have to have a name? Can’t we just remember the blizzard conditions of that huge storm in January of 2016?
Naming winter storms seems utterly ridiculous to me.
Let me tell you something. I’ll not be calling it “Winter Storm Jonas”.

The boys come home from their mom’s Friday. I’m equally excited and disappointed by this.
Part of me wants to be snowed in with just YBW. Sundance was teasing me about just wanting to run loose naked during the snow.
It’s not that. It’s that I’m selfish. I love that feeling of being just we two against the elements. I love that we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to. I love that we can do whatever it is we’d like. And yes, a fair bit of nudity wouldn’t suck.
But with the boys here it’s different. They’re not terribly active humans and won’t want to go out and play in the snow. I don’t know if they were with their peers they’d be more inclined to play in the snow.
Thing C, God love him. He’ll help shovel or whatever without complaint because he’s just a good guy.
It makes me sad. I always feel like a little girl when it snows and want to play! These are not the ‘kids’ to do that. Thing G won’t leave his computer unless we hold a gun to his head. Thing C will watch TV or be on his computer. YBW will watch TV or be on his computer. Which means I’ll be reading, writing or watching TV too. Now, that’s not all bad…it will be blizzard conditions.

I’m gonna go out and play in the snow with or without these boys. I’ll pretend I’m a little girl and play play play!
I’ll make snowcream and hot chocolate and watch the snow fall.
I absolutely love when it snows!

Can you hear me singing?
I’ll soon be there with snow…
I’ll wash my hair with snow…
And with a spade of snow…
I’ll build a man that’s made of snow…
Go to sleep and dream of snow…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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