Bambi Meets Snowzilla

(In case you’re wondering, the “Bambi” referred to in the title is ALL OF THE DC AREA.)

It snowed this weekend. I don’t know if you heard.

EVERYTHING shut down. It was amazing. The farthest I ventured from my house so far this weekend is four houses down to rescue my children on their return from sledding and I fell down twice and had to go inside and sit down after I was done. It is a SCENE out there.

It’s difficult to really show the magnitude of this snowfall because all the photos I took just look like us standing pathetically in a lumpy white landscape.

Photo of me in winter gear standing in front of a pile of snow that is taller than my shoulders.

I made a hill.

Photo of Alex standing in a partially shovelled driveway, with heaps of snow piled along the side.

Alex made a whole series of hills.

And then it snowed for ten more hours.

Happily, we didn’t lose power all weekend, which, frankly, was just about the only thing I really cared about. The thought of hanging out through days of no heat sounded horrifying. I’m also grateful that no trees fell on my house.

Photo of my backyard covered in snow. On the far left, you can see the treehouse, still triumphantly up in the tree.

And the treehouse is still standing!

At one point on Saturday, Alex and I were busy shoveling and we sent the munchkins down the street and around the corner to the sledding hill. They didn’t last long.

Quinn reappeared first as a black dot way down the street. He got bigger and louder as he approached, but happily, he wasn’t crying. He actually seemed to be in pretty good cheer, which was a nice surprise. “One of my legs isn’t working!” he shouted. Then he fell down. “There goes the other one!”

Photo of a field of white snow, with a small black dot of Quinn approaching. He's falling over.

(Click to embiggen.) This photo perfectly exemplifies the verb “to trudge.”

Most people hadn’t shoveled their sidewalks yet, so the going was pretty tough. We cleared ours early. It was fun to watch kids walking to and from the sledding hill discover the sidewalk path. We were definitely the best house to walk past.

Sam and Jack had a tougher time making it home. Quinn had left Sam in charge of bringing home all three sleds and an extremely bummed out Jack. I noticed them slogging along together waaaay down the street. They were kind of blurry blobs. Then the bigger blurry blob picked up the smaller one and started to carry him. That’s when I knew there was trouble.

Photo of Sam carrying Jack, cradled in his arms. It's really hard to see though.

It’s hard to see that Sam has Jack cradled like a baby here. It was impressive, if short-lived.

By the time I reached them, Jack had lost a shoe and was lying in the snow crying because he couldn’t feel his foot. All said, it was a reasonable reaction. Also, the fact that Sam didn’t just leave Jack to fend for himself speaks very highly of him.

They didn’t leave the house again for a very long time.

Thank God there was sun today (coincidentally, Sunday). Also confused cats.

Photo of Sharky looking at the back sliding door, where snow is piled up against it.

Sharky: “Something is different, but I just can’t quite put my paw on it.”

When I looked out the window and saw that the street had finally been plowed, I was delighted.

Photo taken from second floor of my house of the very snowy street in front of my house. The road is plowed.

Do you see that beautiful flat road? That means access to the outside world.

Or so I thought. See that area at the end of the driveway between the two piles of snow? That’s, like, three-foot deep snow that had to be cleared. And sadly, it turns out that Alex and I are the adults in the situation and there was no one but us who was going to shovel it.

The munchkins fought their way out of the driveway and then took a much easier walk down the plowed road to the sledding hill while Alex and I chipped away at the snow.

Photo of Alex standing in the driveway next to almost waist high snow. The driveway is partially shoveled.

I was the first to battle my way out.

Sadly, however, one path that required a long step over a pile of ice chunks wasn’t going to release the car. So Alex and I kept at it, shovelful by shovelful, each of which had to be hurled over our quickly growing piles.

Me standing in front of a pile of snow that is taller than me.

We made our pile bigger.

Our children eventually came back from sledding. Sam disappeared inside and Quinn made some microwave popcorn only to reappear twenty minutes later with the demand, “Mom! Make me an igloo!”

It must be nice to be ten and oblivious.

(I didn’t make him an igloo.)

Jack stuck around and helped us by chiseling away at the icy crust on the pile and throwing snowballs at me from his perch on top of our new hills.

Photo of Jack leaning over the top of a snowbank.

He’s lucky he’s cute.

It only took Alex and I a couple of hours to clear the driveway, remove the car’s snow hat, and make sure the car could back up out of its snow nest. Earlier in the day, I had wondered if I could put on my Yaktrax and go for a run in the streets. Now I just want to sit on the couch for the rest of my life and enjoy the thought that if I wanted to, I could go somewhere.

Screenshot of a facebook post of mine, which is a photo of Alex with arms up in celebration after I made it to the street. The caption reads "WE'RE FREE!!! WE MADE A HOLE TO THE STREET!!"

For the record, I don’t want to.

Winter is an Asshole.

I’ve been trying really hard to not complain about the weather this winter because (1) who wants to hear someone complain about the weather, and (2) I don’t live in Boston so I really have no place complaining about the weather.

That said, FUCK THE WEATHER.

Last Thursday’s snow day was the final straw for me. I’m done. Do you hear that, winter? I. Am. Done.

The other day I asked Sam how he felt about winter because it seemed like he would of course say that it was the worst and I would feel comforted by our agreement on the issue. But he was all, “I love winter. School is canceled all the time and I get to go sledding and I don’t care if it’s cold.”

Now I don’t much care for Sam either.

My kids wake up on every school day and, as a matter of course, ask if there is a delay or snow day. At least they tend to sleep in on snow days because they are trying to avoid getting up for what they think is a school day.

Photo taken out my office window of my kids playing in the snow in the front driveway.

Ironically, the only time my kids spent NOT squabbling during Thursday’s snow day was the time they spent hurling chunks of ice at each other.

But for reals. I’m done with the cold. And don’t get me started on the thick coating of salt all over the roads and the cars. Putting aside the obvious sensory nightmare, the other day Quinn slipped on the, like, inch-deep layer of salt on a sidewalk and almost cracked his knees. Enough. Also, ironic.

Last Saturday I was at Sam’s school for an event and it snowed while I was there and the drive home, which normally takes 20 minutes, took me TWO AND A HALF HOURS. It was brutal.

After two hours I finally made it to my neighborhood, but if you remember, I live at the top of a hill. Pro tip: Don’t buy a house at the top of a hill. It took me half an hour to battle my way to the top of said hill. To be fair, that half hour did include the five minutes I spent parked by the side of the road debating whether I should just abandon my car and hoof it home.

I did not. I was not going to let winter beat me. I defeated that hill.

I may have won the Hill Scrimmage in the Last Saturday Snowstorm Battle, but I’m worried that I am going to lost the Winter War.

Tomorrow is the first day of March. It’s supposed to sleet or do something equally horrible, right when I’m going to be standing around at an outdoor event.

Please let spring come soon. I’m so done.

My Bad Dog*

I feel like I need to start this post by saying that I love my dog, Cassidy, because she is sweet and beautiful and loyal. I feel like I need to say that first, because I am about to bitch and bitch and bitch about her.

First, there is the barking. She has turned into this animal who barks the second she enters our backyard. She used to just sit out there and look around, but now she stands in the exact center of our yard and barks. She barks at feral cats, she barks at people on the street, she barks at people going about their business inside their nearby houses, and frankly, I think she just barks to remind herself that she’s alive, dammit! She’s alive!

Every time I let her outside, I end up wanting to kill her.* We’re almost at the point where we’re going to have to muzzle her before we let her outside to go to the bathroom. I can only imagine the psychological trauma that will cause, but it’s either that or rip out her vocal cords in a fit of rage, and I think that the humane society would have some words for me if I did that.

Second, there is the escaping. We had to build a long, tall, multi-thousand dollar fence in order to keep her in our yard. Cassidy is a jumper (although, thank God, not a digger—knock on wood), and instead of funneling all of her jumping energy into earning her people fame and fortune on the dog agility circuit, she’s focused on using her mad jumping skillz to remove herself from any yard with a fence that is shorter than six feet tall.

We used to have her tethered to a zip line, which resulted in more than one time when she jumped the fence into another yard, but was still tethered to the line in our yard, creating a situation where Alex or I would have to climb the fence into the other yard and heave her back over.

Now that she has the fence, she only escapes when we are dumb enough to leave a gate open, but when she does, she takes full advantage. She will run full speed up to the park just down the street from our house, which is good because it keeps her off the roads, but is bad, because it gives her lots of space to run around in. We usually only catch her when she stops to harass another dog. A dog escape is always a very stressful thing for us.

Cassidy is a very bad dog.*

We’ve gotten pretty good about keeping her in the yard though, so I was pretty surprised when I was looking out the kitchen window this morning as I made Sam and Jack’s lunches and saw Cassidy trotting down our driveway.

I said some bad words, grabbed my coat, and ran out the door. She saw me coming and took off running down our street, which is plowed all the way down to the pavement. But when she got to the path that leads to the park, she stopped completely short, because that path is just about the opposite of plowed, if there is such a thing. If I may anthropomorphize her for a moment, here is what she was thinking: “WHA—? This white shit is over here too? What the hell?”

And then I grabbed her and marched her home.

But how did she get out? Here’s how: Alex shoveled all the snow off our side porch and path to the driveway, which was awesome of him and much appreciated, but he threw it all into a big pile on both sides of the gate leading into the back yard.

I have no idea what that horrible stain is.

Basically, that dumb dog* just had to step over the gate and run off.

Of course, as soon as I got her back to the house, I had to tweet about the incident. ‘Cause that’s what I do.

And then I Facebooked it, because some outrages
have to be shared with friends from kindergarten too.

After I did that, I took steps to make sure that she wouldn’t escape again. This took the form of a post-it note stuck to the back door. Because I would have been way pissed at myself had I come home from dropping my kids off and mindlessly opened the back door only to have to chase her down the street again.

“DON’T LET THE DOG OUT.”
Yeah, I’m aware the dog is out there. I took this photo much later in the day.

Sam astutely noticed that there were no doggy footprints leading to the gate, but after casing the yard, I had to assume that was her point of egress because I couldn’t see any other logical place. So once I had dropped everyone off at school, I headed outside with my shovel.

Incidentally, just because a dog can walk on snow without leaving footprints doesn’t mean that a grown woman won’t repeatedly sink into the snow up to her thighs. Which, in case you’re wondering, makes it very difficult to shovel. Thankfully, I only had to shovel that one area, and did not have to dig a trench around the perimeter of my fence.

Being a super detective, I determined that the snow bridge was indeed her point of exit based on the Cassidy-fur stuck on the fence. (Plus, later in the day, the neighbor told me that she’d watched the whole thing from inside her house.)

Try to jump THAT, Cassidy.

I feel a lot of glee when I look at this last photo. Good luck getting out of your prison, you bitch.*

* But I love her.

DCMM: In Defense of DC-Area Snow Wusses

As we residents of the DC Metro area freak out about the snow, the snow!, OMG! THE SNOW!, people who live in more regularly snowy parts of the country laugh and laugh and laugh at us.

“We get that much snow every winter,” they say. “We don’t cancel school and work every time it snows,” they say. “You guys are wusses,” they say.

Okay. Fair enough. But I do have a few rebuttals. First of all, you may get this much snow on the ground every year, but does it all fall within five days? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

As someone who grew up in a place with snowy winters (Utah), I also think the sheer level of panic that comes before each snowstorm is a little ridiculous. But here’s the thing: The DC area is uniquely situated in that we don’t get enough snow to justify huge snow-coping budgets, yet we still get enough that it is a problem when it happens. All the snow-removal budgets in the area were already blown after the first big snow in December. We just don’t expect to have to worry about snow as much as we have this year.

Also? Just because you are used to feet upon feet of snow each year, we are not. After our last snow, this officially became DC’s snowiest winter on record. I think we deserve a little bit of leeway for getting so much more snow than we are used to. Say, two inches of snow is not a big deal, but if you dumped two inches of snow on Puerto Vallarta, they’d freak out too. Because they’re not used to it. Cut us some slack.

I will also say that these storms were genuinely a big deal. People were without power for days on end, ending up with 40-something degree houses. Plows were recalled because it was too dangerous for them to be out. Even once the snow stopped, sidewalks are completely impassable and lanes in the roads suddenly peter out due to snowbanks that just can’t be contained to the shoulder. Even Mr. Chicagoans-Go-to-School-When-It-Snows-Obama referred to the storm as Snowmageddon.

Oh, there’s something else too: people in this area are kind of wusses when it comes to snow. And you know what? That’s okay.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean’s family did a lot of whining and had a lot of fun throughout Snowmageddon 2010. Check it out at Stimeyland.

Tenacity, Part III


*****

I tried really hard to capture a Tenacity photo of Sam, but he’s too tall to look tiny in the snow that he’s willing to walk through. And it’s not that he’s not tenacious, but he takes the smart route. Instead of plowing through waist-high snow, he walks atop the packed mountain of snow next to it. Which makes for a good photo, but none that I can refer to as tenacious, per se.

Also, yes, I know it snows other places in the world. So I’m defending the DC-area wussiness when it comes to snow over at DC Metro Moms Blog today. And I grew up in a place with snowy winters, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m saying. But I will freely admit to being a wuss.

There’s a Helluva Lot of Snow Out There

There were two things I wanted from this latest snowstorm:

1. I wanted my power to stay on.
2. I didn’t want my roof to collapse.

So far we are two for two.


This was the scene at my house yesterday after it stopped snowing. At the time that I took this photo, I was standing in crotch-deep snow in my back yard. I was busy pursuing Jack in his effort to get to the little house in the way back of the yard.

I didn’t make it. Jack did.

He’s the black and blue dot in the doorway.

I was dumb enough to make some offhand jokey comment about, ha, ha, you guys should clear a path to the little house. Twenty minutes later, Jack was there. He didn’t make it until after the neighbors leaned out of their window and shouted, “Are you crazy?” and I had to admit that we were.

It’s really crazy out there. It’s a little crazy inside too. We’ve all been trapped home together with little respite since last Friday. Alex works for the federal government, so what with school and his work being canceled all week so far (and tomorrow), we’re starting to lose it.

Alex spectacularly lost it when we went out in the snow to play and he went flailing off through the yard with the dog in hot pursuit in an effort to burn off some energy.

This photo is for you, Jen.

Then he fell flat on his face in the snow.

It couldn’t be more awesome.

Other members of our family were losing it other ways. For instance, here is Sam beating Jack over the head with a giant icicle.

You know it’s bad when Sam tells Jack to stand there
and be beaten with an icicle and Jack agrees.

Really. We’ve got to get out of this house soon or there WILL be a corpse.

And the dog will likely be feasting on it.

I like that it looks like she’s swimming in the snow here.

Seriously, she’s freaking out. Although I suppose I would be too if I had to go to the bathroom in three feet of snow.

Weather gods willing, this is the end of it. Hopefully we’ll be able to shovel our way out tomorrow, Alex will go back to work…sometime, the munchkins will go back to school…oh holy cow, on Tuesday, and someday the sun, the glorious sun will come out and melt all this crap.

Because I just can’t take much more of this.

And neither can the rest of sad, sad Team Stimey.