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The Ursine Definition of “Blizzard”

1 year ago

1158 words

Non-photo: Usually I don’t put a photo up to be dramatic and get your attention. Today, however, I lack a photo because I was too busy being panicked about the snow and had no time to snap pics. However, I’ll make a deal with you: I will break out my camera tomorrow and take pics of the storm as it progresses. That way you can be a part of the action! Share my pain with me, Dear Reader! Share my pain!!!!


Ok ok ok… This isn’t about me. This is about the boys. This is how “Blizzard” has translated in their minds this weekend.

Blizzard means batteries in all the toys

So, last week we thought that we were going to get some sort of snow on Thursday. Ursa Minor and I were taking bets as to whether or not he would have a snow day (if there is a 2-hour delay, they close his preschool). I told him that if he had a snow day, I’d put batteries in all of his noisy trucks to pass the time. He was delighted by this… until he had to go to school on Thursday.

Fast forward to Sunday morning and my coughing down my coffee as the weather lady started in on the forecast. “You need to start at a foot and then we’ll go from there. Most of us will probably see 18 inches at least.” Lord, oh Lord… I conveyed this to my husband, with Minor in earshot.

“They are calling it a blizzard. At least a foot,” I said gravely.

Minor, gleefully from the living room: “YAY! THAT MEANS WE GET BATTERIES IN ALL THE TOYS!” 


God save me, please.

At the end of Sunday School, the children gather ’round a candle and say a little prayer of thanks, sharing with the group. What was Minor thankful for? “I’m thankful for the snow day,” he said. “Because Mommy is gonna put batteries in my trucks.”

The Sunday School teacher said she snickered when she heard it. “It was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Sure. She ain’t the one who is gonna get the headache.

Blizzard means Mommy is available to play*

I was, as you can understand, crazed today trying to get everything done before hunkering down for the store. Most importantly, we needed to have oil delivered (it came), I needed to put gas in the van (check) and I needed to make the all-important Wegmans run while both boys were in school. There was also business to be done that had nothing to do with storm preparation, including a trip to the post office and two calls. Did I mention that Minor had his drum lesson today, because of course he does?

But I was all game for it. I was in full-blown superwoman mode. Mommy Reaganing, even! So when I got a package in at the post office just before closing and just before drums, I got into the car and did a little dance: “Mommy is getting it all done! Yeah!

Major: “Oh yes, that’s great! That means you will have time to play with us tomorrow!”

Minor: “Yes. If you got it all done today, you don’t have anything to do tomorrow!”

Major: “And you are putting the batteries in the trucks, so that’s even better!”

Lordy. Yes, I know that children at this age take language with concrete understanding. Yes, I’m a big fat fool. No, I didn’t disappoint them by explaining that Mommy has another ridiculous list of work to do tomorrow. I… will probably be up at 5 tomorrow…

Blizzard means meatloaf, maybe

Upon getting a full understanding of the impact of the storm, Mom and I got on the horn and immediately started talking menus. She’s going with cornish hens tomorrow, which I thought was an awesome choice. Elegant, flavorful, will make the house warm and smell awesome. Who doesn’t want that? I presented this idea to my husband and children, telling them how great it was, and they vetoed it outright. Meatloaf, they said, was a more appropriate meal.

“We like meatloaf,” Major explained.

“Yeah, even I like meatloaf,” Minor concurred.

“Much better than hens,” The Husband, forever to be known as Brutus, concluded.

Over tonight’s dinner, Major looked pensive while picking at his tortellini. “Mommy, I don’t think our stove is going to work tomorrow.”

“Why not?”

“Because we’re not going to have power.”

The Husband and I knocked on wood. “We are going to hope and pray on the power tomorrow, sweetie. As long as we have power, we will have meatloaf.”

“Well, but, if we lose power, does that mean we won’t eat?”

I explained to him how I practically bought half of Wegmans and stuffed it in the fridge today while he was at school. We’ve got food for hot and cold circumstances. But the power is a source of anxiety. It’s the one thing we simply can’t control. I lit a candle at church and said a little prayer, which is all I can really do about it. Otherwise, we are ready to face our 5th blizzard as New England residents.

For those of ya’ll who have never experience this, Blizzards are fascinating, fearsome things. The heavy snow is enough on it’s own, but then you add the consistently cranking wind and it becomes something else. The way the trees move, the way the windows rattle, and the way the world looks (blindingly white, with little sight beyond a few feet) is a powerful reminder of our small stature in the world. I always think about the colonial folk, whose ghosts haunt this place and houses still proudly stand, and wonder how the hell they did it. How did they stay warm, how did they dig out, how did they keep going winter after winter? It’s no wonder the toughness runs so deep ’round here. New Englanders really are born of a particular stock.

Anyway, we are here and we are warm and we are ready. This little farmhouse has stood for 100 years and has seen many, many blizzards. It’s strong enough to stand up to tomorrow as well. What does that mean for you? Well, as long as I have power, I’ll take pictures and post them, so stay tuned for a bonus post tomorrow. If I can get my life together, maybe I’ll post to instagram or twitter or something… you know, to keep it lively. 🙂 If I lose power, I’ll let you know. No matter what, I’ll post on Wednesday if only to tell you how the clean-up efforts are going.

So, if you are in the path of the storm, I wish you warmth, power, luck and excellent entertainment for the next day or so. If you aren’t in the path, I hope you’ll keep us East Coast folk in your thoughts and send us warm, positive energy!


2 Replies to “The Ursine Definition of “Blizzard””

  1. Coincidentally enough I put on an acoustic winter playlist before clicking on this post. Your little ones sound completely adorable (I’ll admit I aww’d when I read Minor’s prayer in Sunday School) though I feel you on the headache accompanying the toys with batteries in. Unfortunatly my kids figured out that “Granddad will fix it” when the batteries died. Sure enough, same day + new batteries = Granddad fixed it. I hope the storm is not as bad as predicted, you all stay warm (headache free) and you get to see your little ones bounding through the snow.

    I keep re-reading Adam Gopnik’s Massey Lecture series “Winter” where he reflects on the different types of winter. It always makes me think of the time when winter was survived then changed into a time of recreation and now a season barely tolerated and more of an inconvenience. I think we are most fortunate to witness winter through a window, we forget it’s ferocity. Quite humbling.

    Stay warm my friend, I am sending you lots of hugs, laughter and bellies full of warm comfort food while this winter temper tantrum passes through.

    1. Thanks for your warm thoughts! They clearly worked!! The storm tracked more westerly, so we got less than originally predicted. The Husband went out with the snow blower this morning and he thinks we got only the foot of snow, rather than the 18-20 we were really supposed to get.

      Accoustic winter playlist, huh? Instrumental only or are there people crooning on that thing? Is that on Google Music or something else?

      I will have to look up Adam Gopnik’s lecture. That sounds like an interesting read! It is true, we take winter for granted. I try my best to see it as a time for reflection and regrouping. It’s hard when it means that the kiddos are never in school, though. This is just a tough age for snow days, I guess. 🙁 Especially when they have such easy access to battery-powered toys!! Roar!!!

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