Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snow day love

I have to admit, I absolutely love snow days. My facebook and twitter feed is currently filled with my co-workers who are admitting they are bored out of their minds and are desperate to get out of their houses or even back to work. I admit I can't relate to being bored along with them.

I adore snow days.

Growing up, preparing for snow days was like preparing for snow-camp. We lived on 10 acres of land that could only be reached by a half mile, uphill gravel road off the main road. When it snowed we were stuck. The rest of the world may have been able to hustle around with 4 wheel drive, but we were absolutely unable to get down the gravel hill safely in order to get to civilization. And if we did make it down, there was not a chance we would survive the climb back up. We were also on well water, so when we lost electricity we lost everything. No showers, no flushing toilets.

And keep in mind this is before the internet. So even when the electricity was on we were limited in our activities, because, of course, we did not have cable. (My parents spent years of our lives telling us that the only channels we got were PBS and the news and that all those channels we saw at our friends' houses were "cable". They got away with this because our tv was one of the original tvs ever made and did not have a remote. You had to change the channel by turning two different knobs and had to make sure the first knob was turned to exactly the right spot in order to turn the second knob. There mere thought of changing the channel made the tv transition to complete fuzz and we had to hit it numerous times to make it reasonably watchable. Therefore I believe my brothers and I watched every episode of any PBS show ever made between the years of 1986-1991, when I decided I was too old to watch PBS and would either hold my hand in the right place over the tv so that I could watch Full House, with my nose against the screen, or I would read a book. Because of this I read books that were later made into movies I wasn't allowed to watch).

Anyway, with limited access to the tv, no access to civilization, and the threat of not being able to flush toilets for days during a snow storm, we had no choice- we had to utterly thrived on snow days or kill each other.
My mother was a snow day queen. She always seemed to have the ingredients in the kitchen to keep us busy baking, and she had no problems letting us open cook books to find new recipes to try. Or allowing us to see what happens if we just throw a pinch of this and a handful of that into a bowl and bake it... She didn't mind that most of those ended in disaster, or that we made a gigantic mess in the process. (We did, of course have to clean it up).

She also allowed us to roller blade in our finished basement on snow days. There wasn't much room, but there was enough to practice the jumps we saw the ice skaters on tv do. And we could put the couch cushions out to catch us when we fell.

We were even granted the use of the video camera so we could make our own short films or recreate the trashy talk shows we'd only heard rumors of from friends. I pray that all of these have been destroyed...

My mother knew that the secret to surviving a good snow was a roll of butcher block paper. She'd roll it across the kitchen floor and then encourage us to just go at it. If it was before Christmas she got out stamps and we made our own wrapping paper. Some days my brothers would create race tracks for their matchbox cars, or elaborate game boards that stretched across our kitchen. Once she read us The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats and then encouraged us to make our own Snowy Day scenes across the long roll of paper.

Of course, living on 10 acres of land we were also well equipped with sleds and even had 2 old pairs of cross-country skis. We usually had to be tortured into venturing outside on skis, but once out there we were able to explore the trails in the woods behind our house, or create elaborate sledding runs in our back paddock.

Because of all this snow days meant a vacation uninterrupted by the demands of the real world. It meant days of buckling down as a family and just being. With no chance of escaping being bored didn't get us very far, so we hopped from project to project, happily enjoying the fact that we had no demands but to be trapped inside.

I can't help but have that same excitement now. The first sign of snow makes me giddy with the thought of what's to come. I love to watch it fall, love to see the white-covered ground, and love to see those beautiful words on the television- "Schools Closed".
Not that I don't love my job and don't miss my kids. I do.
But, I have to admit I'm not very bored. I've embraced a large pile of books, I've caught up with old friends, played around with some arts and crafts projects, finally watched those movies every one's recommended, and taken long walks. Every time I think I might be bored another idea pops into my head for something to play with on the sewing machine, a knitting project to start, or a book to re-read.
It helps that I no longer live in a place where snow=shelter in place. I'm walking distance from stores, coffee shops and restaurants, as well as many friends. I could even jump on a bus and be downtown to explore museums.

The snow has started falling again threatening to never let us get back to school EVER again. And I'm sure a time will come when I too am ready to be out of my house. But right now I'm guiltily living up my little snowcation.


Sneaker Teacher said...

I heart this post! What a great picture you paint of snow days from your youth. We were not quite as "snowed in" literally when I grew up, but my mom always had the mentality that is school was canceled that meant is wasn't safe to be out and about, so we always stayed home as well.

Glad to hear you are making good use of your time!!

turtlemama said...

Having so much fun reading your blog. What an exciting and rewarding job you have. Loved your post about merit pay.

My girls have yet to tire of the snow. I love hearing your fond memories of snow days in Colt Hills! I remember trying out those skis, too.

It was so fun to hear from your mom the other day. She gave me your blog address. You're doing so well; I'm not at all surprised. Sorry to hear about the cuts to your program. The programs that need to stay are always the first to go. We are very close to losing our local library here that serves our rural area due to budget cuts. Of course, the first thing they think to cut is a LIBRARY? Really.

Looking forward to reading more--


Sarah said...

You should never feel guilty for enjoying a snowcation!! :)