Thursday, March 31, 2011

Long Winter Snap

"A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water." -Carl Reiner

Snow days used to be fun. Remember those days? The anticipation. The hoping. The jubilation the moment you learned that school was cancelled?

We built a fort when we were iced in.
What made snow days so much more special was how rare they were. Growing up on the Jersey Shore (don't call it South Jersey please), we hardly ever saw significant snowfall. When snow was expected, it would mostly disappoint. But school would still be cancelled because it was icy. Where's the fun in an ice day?

Maybe the Miser Brothers are to blame.
My how times have changed. I don't know if it's global warming, or climate change, or just another sibling dispute between the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser, but this winter has been a real pain in the ass. And we're expecting another storm tomorrow... on April Fool's Day. No kidding. Pun intended.

Snow days used to be fun. But that was before I become a working father.

Snowed in after Christmas
This is what you have to deal with as a working parent in the suburbs on a snow day: Will daycare be open? What time will we know? Will we get the peanut to daycare? What if they close early? Who will pick her up if they do? Can we get someone to watch her? What time should they get here? Should they leave now to beat the snow? Who should it be? Does one of us need to stay home from work? Who should that be?

It causes nothing but stress and uncertainty and you aren't even close to picking up a shovel yet. Oh, and you have to get yourself to work, too.

So the snow comes and you wake up extra early to shovel so your wife can have a fighting chance to get out of the driveway. You also have to give yourself enough time to walk to the train station because a) you're a one-car family and b) the buses might not be running because the roads aren't plowed yet despite the growing amount you pay in annual property taxes.

Snow gear: a popular look this winter
Even when you clear the driveway and brush off the car, there is no guarantee your wife won't have to do the same an hour and a half later. But you have no choice. You have to put on your snow gear and hike a mile to catch the train to make sure you get to work.

Then your wife has to deal with the snow and the child. And more questions: Are the roads plowed? Will they cancel daycare? Should I bring her to work? Can I afford to stay home?

Are we doing the right thing?

And why the hell does it keep freakin' snowing?

Now, I am not one to complain about the weather. I have lived in the northeast my entire life... four of those years in Syracuse, NY. It used to be that winter was just a nuisance... but this winter I've elevated it to "brutal."

Luna finds the snow challenging
I haven't even talked about the illnesses yet. The vicious cycle that starts with a cough or a sniffle, then blows up into a full fledged case of strep throat that knocks out every member of your family except the dog.

Oh - and the dog... she won't poop in the snow. Wonderful. She's more high maintenance than the 4 year-old.

The illness has been non-stop. And while it's been mostly a functioning illness, I am not exaggerating when I say I've been coughing since the day after Christmas. It's nearly April. I'm not a smoker... yet I sound like my Grandma Sylvia after she's just inhaled a half a pack of Pall Malls for breakfast.

It's not just me... the peanut too. She's a mini Sylvia herself. Covering her mouth with the inside of her elbow like a good little girl. It's constant. It's part of the soundtrack of winter - and now spring - in our household. The crackling fire, the shovel on pavement, the cough of Sylvia.

Peanut pitches in as best she can.
And just when you're feeling better it snows again, which makes you sick because I was foolish enough to buy a corner property which means it takes me two hours to shovel. You shovel, you sweat... outside in the cold... for two hours.. because it snows in feet, not inches, where I live.

I have no idea what my wife and I will do if we wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow... but we know we'll figure it out eventually. We always do.

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