Oh Winter, My Winter

Snow angel

“UGH”, my wife mutters (loudly), prompting me to STOP catching Pokemon and regard her as if I were an adult.
“What’s up?” I ask, one eye on her and one on the shaking Pokeball. My love is infinite but my attention span far less so.

“School is cancelled tomorrow”, and she levels a gaze at me that would make smaller men crumple into even smaller men as rockets of hatred explode from behind her. Cascades of vitriol, sour and bitter, are pouring out of her chakras like fountains. Small crabs and other creatures are swept up in the swelling tide of her frustration.

“Oh, huh”,  I say and go back to my game. She leaps across the room, decapitates me, and places my head on a Doc McStuffins’ Brand Head Spike for the world to see; stupid husband, the end.

While my head dripped goo on the carpet, I got to thinking: the snow day is essentially a spectrum, isn’t it? Parents with small children who clamor for attention (like ours) probably hate the snow day. Though my wife works from home, she watches the children, too, which affords her very little time to actually work. Our kids are 2.93 and 4, and they are needy for time, so at the end of the day, I understand my wife’s frustration.

But what about families who don’t have a work at home setup? A snow day is a scramble of finding a baby sitter or calling into work (if that’s even an option). A lot of the time you might have daycare, but the daycare closes, too. I actually work at a college, but we rarely close due to weather, so that offers little reprieve.

I should also point out that it wasn’t a “snow day” that prompted this blog post; it was a “cold day”. The temperature was going to be -5, with a windchill of “get inside the tauntaun, Luke”.

 

 

Snow day or cold day, everyone has an opinion on these days off, and thus was born the spectrum.

We Get It, You’re Old

“When I was a kid,” is a phrase that, like a sharp blow to the head, can make you roll your eyes. Every time school is cancelled due to weather they come in droves, finding a post to comment on about how bad it was when they were young. Common thoughts are:

  • When I was a kid, they would never cancel school because it was cold. We weren’t pansies like your generation.
  • When I was a kid, we walked 4 miles in waist-deep snow just to get a chance to look at some different snow.
  • When I was a kid, it snowed all year. It was literally an ice age. I am very old.

I see these posts, or hear it from random people around me, and I get it. I don’t remember schools closing a lot when I was a kid because of the cold. That said, I also don’t remember disco, McCarthyism, or Reaganomics, and that’s because we grow over time and our understanding of what’s “good” changes.

Yes, your parents sent you to wait for the bus in subzero weather and yes, you survived. There are a lot of kids though who don’t have parents who care. There are kids whose parents care, but can’t afford to bundle them up well. There are parents who work 2 jobs who need to drop their kid off at the bus stop an hour beforehand because they can’t afford or don’t have a morning babysitter. Things are different, people are different; shut up Frances.

As a dad, I know that if my kids had to wait for the bus and it was negative eleventy outside, they’d be staying home. That or I’d try to drop them off at school.

But kids in grade and high school like snow days. Surely other people do as well, yeah?

Grinch, Grouch, Grump

Unlike cilantro, I don’t believe that a snow day is a love-it-or-hate-it type of entity, at least not entirely. Where do you fall along this spectrum?

Are you a kid, a yeti, or a snowman? Actually, baby yetis could be all three.

I personally don’t mind them, if I’m able to stay home. My old job essentially never closed, so I had to go to work a few years ago when it snowed 2 feet overnight and the rest of the city was closed. That was idiotic and one of the many reasons I don’t work there anymore.

I understand why some people love snow days – they might get out of work and they can spend time with their kids. My best friend owned a snow plow for a few years and made BANK when it snowed and stuff closed. Yetis eat unattended children if it snows above 18 inches or is under 5 degrees below zero. I get it.

I also understand why some people don’t like snow days. If you have to scramble to take off work or find someone to take care of your kids, that sucks. If you have to walk, bike, or take public transportation to a job that refuses to close, that’s awful. If you struggle to keep your kids warmly dressed in the winter, you’re why we donate warm clothes to coat drives.

But if you just want to talk about how you had to hunt and kill polar bears to keep warm, or how younger generations can’t parent, then consider keeping your wisdom to yourself. Let kids have a day off to enjoy NOT having to stand out in the blizzard or arctic temperatures.

Just, if your kids are going to be home unattended or with minimal supervision all day, maybe keep your eye out for yetis.

 

 

 

14 Comments

  • christina Reply

    Lock up the pods! LOL
    Seriously though, I love snow days. In our house it’s always meant a cozy fire, movies, meatballs simmering on the stove and maybe some cookies. A perfect day to lounge around!

  • Herlina Kwee Reply

    I love making snowman when it’s snow day. In Atl, we didn’t get too much snow, so the snowman I got to made once or twice was skinny looking snowman. I am sorry snowman for bringing you into existence only for such a brief period. But, you did give me so much happiness in your brief life. 🙂

  • Jess Reply

    My frustration with snow days is the days of summer that takes out. My step son is in Colorado. When they take a week worth of snow days, that’s a week less we get to see him as per our custody orders. It’s a difficult and frustrating thing. The most frustrating is (as a teacher I know) that extra week normally just turns into a Wall-E or Trolls marathon as you honestly have nothing left to teach.

    I get it, I do, but it’s still frustrating.

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    This is hilarious, Tony. Clearly you are a humor writer. I’ve seen glimpses of this side of you in your more serious posts, but you have unleashed your inner humorist in this post. I love your ‘snow day spectrum’ and the snowman’s perspective made me snort my coffee. I am so old I remember the days when I walked uphill both ways, and since I grew up in northern Maine my nose was frozen shut, forcing me to mouth breathe, which triggered asthmatic breathing. Having said that I have a lot of sympathy for parents stuck finding childcare at the last minute or staying home with rambunctious children. Love your parting comment about Tide Pods. Priceless!

  • Carol Cassara Reply

    The spectrum. I mean. The spectrum! And a kid that is 2.93? You crack me up!

  • Debbie Reply

    A fun read Tony, especially as we swelter in a summer heatwave down here! I love the snowman quote and the spectrum analogy.

  • Jody Moore Reply

    As a Texan I cannot empathize with having to deal with two feet of snow. Hell, if we get an inch or two, they shut the universe down and raid the grocery stores for emergency provisions. (I usually stock up on sausage queso and beer.) Anywho, loved the post. You’ve got great humor in your writing. I’m probably a yeti on the spectrum.

  • Trudy Reply

    I don’t have children, I just hate dirty, slushy snow. It makes me think of what is mixed in there. I think I have an issue.

  • Laurie Stone Reply

    I like snow days, although it can be frustrating if you’ve made plans. That’s life in New England. On the other hand, it’s also enforced relaxation (when you have older kids at least) and that can be nice.

  • Carol Cassara Reply

    YEA, the post is all well and good BUT that pink jacket photo? It’s da bomb. She’s cute as a button and it was hard to get past her!

    • Monechetti Reply

      My children are far cuter than me, for which I am thankful.

  • Suzie Reply

    I loved this – so funny! I was a teacher for ten years and I used to love and loathe snow days in equal measure… I’d love it as I wouldn’t have to go into work (although I would work from home) and I’d hate it because of the angry complaints that would be thrown at us from parents who were in a difficult position with childcare, even though it wasn’t our decision to close…

    Can’t beat a good snowman though!

    • Monechetti Reply

      We have just missed all the good snowman-snow this year. My kids are disappointed haha. As for snow days, I work at a college and we NEVER get them. Such a pain!

  • Jennifer Reply

    First off….did your wife read this post yet? Stupid husband. The end.

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