Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ice Storm

Monday night as I was going to sleep, I could hear the click clack of ice hitting my roof. Even with the knowledge that the prophesied ice storm had, in fact, occurred, I was completely unprepared for Alex waking me up yesterday morning with the words, "The schools are closed."

I had been sooo prepared for a two-hour delay, but not for an entire day off. I forced Alex to repeat himself three times. Then I sobbed gently into my pillow.

See, it's been a long couple of weeks. Alex was out of town last week, so it was me and the munchkins all by ourselves. Sam had two half-days home last week, and Quinn? Well, Quinn hasn't been to school since last Wednesday.

He was lethargic for about an hour on Thursday morning, so I kept him home, because after you email the teacher telling him that your kid has a fever, you can't send him in at noon. Then, on Friday, he was all phlegmy and gross and even though he was perky as hell, it seemed like bad form to send a very obviously sick child into class.

My email to the teacher included the line, "Much as I would like to send Quinn to school so he could talk to YOU all day..."

Then there was the weekend and then Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (which we celebrated with cake, per usual), and then the devastating news that no one but Alex was going to be able to escape the house on Tuesday.

But much as I wanted to complain about school being canceled, it was probably the right decision, what with the inch-deep coating of ice on the ground.

All local plant life was encased in ice as well.

Honestly, I think my kids were ready to go back to school as well. After I refused to let them turn on the television and told them that they would have to wait until at least 5 o'clock to do so, they upended all the couch cushions and pretended that one of them was a television.

Sam is using a foam banana as a remote.
Also note the timer in the foreground, counting down until 5 p.m.

When that got boring—and it did fairly quickly—they constructed little houses out of the couch cushions. This was my favorite part of the day, both because it was very cute and creative, but also because they spent a good amount of time quietly inside their homes.

Quite a feat of engineering, actually.

Naturally, however, with Team Stimey, eventually everything just gets piled in the middle of the room and jumped on.

Fortunately, Quinn survived.

Clearly it was time to force my children out into the icy outdoors. Unfortunately, once they were outside, it became clear that I had to shovel. And while I use the word "shovel," what I really mean is "bash angrily at the ground with an inadequate tool," because clearing an inch of ice off of the sidewalk is not at all like snow shoveling.

My snow shovel (scooper-style) was ill-equipped for ice shoveling (ice pick needed). Fortunately Sam stepped up with his own little bent, blue shovel and helped me out. We abandoned our driveway because that ice would only kill us, but the city says we have to clear our sidewalk in case the public ice kills others.

Stupid sidewalks. The people on the other side of the street don't have a sidewalk. Lucky bastards.

I also cleared my porch steps because last time there was a big snow and the mail didn't come and I complained about it, someone was all, "Well, did you clear your steps? Tons of postal workers get injured after storms because people don't clear their steps." At first I was all, "Neither snow nor sleet nor..." and then I was all, "Huh. That's a good point."

So I shoveled my porch and the mail carrier came and all was well with the world. You're welcome.

Sam was really helpful with the sidewalk. I started at one end and he started at the other. He got a little irate when I stopped shoveling to take photographs. Something about his back hurting. Wuss.

 Quinn was a hindrance, literally doing a little dance directly in front of my active shoveling.

 And Jack spent some time shoveling the lawn.

Then we had the ice ball fight, which was also even less awesome than it sounds. I mean, it was all fun and games until someone got hurt. And, yeah, they had a lot of fun. But then, yeah, someone got hurt.

I wasn't actually involved in the fight, but I did let it happen, which I suppose means I bear some responsibility for the wounds Quinn sustained when he got hit with an ice ball right in the face.

This upsets me no end, because there is nothing I like more than avoiding responsibility.

Not sure you can see the numerous tiny abrasions
in the photo, but it was kind of dramatic.

The thing that made it all worthwhile though was when Jack walked straight up to our neighbor, who was also chipping away at his driveway, and said, "Ice to see you!"

It was adorable and funny, but mostly I was astounded because MY AUTISTIC CHILD JUST MADE A PUN!

Later I learned that this is actually a line from The Incredibles, which Jack hasn't seen for at least a year, so now my pride is twofold:

(1) Jack has an incredible memory and is awesome.

(2) Jack has the ability to see more than one meaning in a word (something he is working on in speech therapy right now—and having trouble with, by the way) and use this dual meaning (scripted or not) to make an appropriate and apt joke to a neighbor. And he's awesome.

Even more awesome is that, as I write this, the ice is melting and all my children are at school. (Okay, it's not actually more awesome, but it is still pretty awesome.)

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