Friday, December 9, 2016

The First Snow (Part 2)

Then there's the whole problem of snow removal.

Toward the end of last winter, I made the miraculous discovery that Sky loves the snow blower (and that he is finally tall enough to maneuver it on his own, which is actually pretty important).  Apparently the combination of the vibration (that fulfills his constant desire for proprioceptive input) and snow flying in chaotic but somehow predictable arcs (giving him an outlet for his visual stim which seeks to see just how things fly apart) makes for a really enjoyable way for him to spend time in the snow. Plus he gets bonus points for doing a job I detest (and that Ren doesn't do due to his back issues).

Me after blowing snow all over myself for the millionth time.
I'm not going to lie; I've been looking forward to taking advantage of this particular obsession of Sky's. Plus, this year, for the first time, since Ren is up and about (Iwillsaynomoreforfearofjinxingit) and therefore able to help with the challenging task of getting the snow blower working after the long spring/summer/fall hiatus, I really expected to have a relaxing afternoon watching everyone else work.

Hahahaha. I'll never learn, but you have to admire my never-ending optimism!

The afternoon actually went something like this:

  1. Sky and I dig two big snow shovels out from under the bikes and brooms and mower and assorted balls and other sports equipment.
  2. I start shoveling the sidewalk between our driveway and the neighbor's.
  3. Ren plugs in the snow blower and pushes the start button. Nothing happens. He repeats some version of this step many times.
  4. I make my way back to our driveway and keep shoveling as Sky rolls around in the yard.
  5. Ren starts cursing at the snow blower that won't start.
  6. Pink and Stow figure out that we are all outside and start putting on all of their snow gear. AGAIN.
  7. Now that everything is wet, Stow can't get it on by himself, so he starts screaming at me from the step in the garage.
  8. I stop shoveling to go help him get untangled from the mess of snow pants and scarf he has created for himself.
  9. Now Sky is throwing snowballs into the air and batting them with the end of his shovel, making a mess that covers the parts of the driveway I'd already cleared.
  10. Pink and Stow think this looks like fun so want my help in finding their shovels which are impossibly lodged behind all the small, handheld electric yard tools.
  11. Ren manages to make it so the snow blower is no longer making any hopeful sounds at all.
  12. Stow and Pink start shoveling the grass.
  13. Sky laments that he really wants to use the snow blower and gets mad at Ren for not letting him.
  14. I'm halfway done with the driveway and tell the kids they will get not screen time for the next century if they don't start actually SHOVELING THE DRIVEWAY!!!
  15. They look at me like I've lost my mind.
  16. Ren determines that the snow blower is out of commission and goes inside to make dinner.
  17. I totally lose my cool when the kids start chasing each other around the back of the house with their shovels overhead and finally manage to guilt them into finishing the rest of the driveway.
  18. I come inside and collapse in my chair convinced I now have bronchitis (I do).

Sigh. At least the snow is fun for SOME of us.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The First Snow (Part 1)

On Sunday, we got an unexpected four inches of snow. The first snow is always so magical. The gleeful sound of children screaming with frustration because they can only find one glove. The joy of discovering that the boots you bought on sale at the end of last season are already too small so two kids are wearing boots that are the “wrong” color and one kid has his toes curled up backwards. The excitement of foraging through various closets looking for snow pants that don't have holes and that kind of fit only to discover you bought the same size pants for the same kid THREE times. The thrill of children wrestling each other in the laundry/coat room as they fight to be the first one outside.

I mean, at least it's pretty.
Getting all three kids out the door that first day it snows is always a Herculean task. Hats, gloves, scarves, snow pants, coats, and boots--finding these things and getting everyone dressed in the bottleneck that is our laundry room and door to the garage is nearly impossible. Further, just about the time I get the third kid out the door, the first one is already ready to come back in. And, this is where it gets tricky. I mean, it takes so long to get them all bundled, I kind of just want to keep them outside for as long as possible--or at least long enough to sit down and, say, read a whole page of a book or go to the bathroom. 

The time I made them stay outside and it turned out to be a blizzard.
Because if we leave all three kids out in the snow for too long, invariably someone will get hurt. Someone (or two, or sometimes even three) will come in crying with snow in his/her face, shirt, boots. Plus, when they come in, they simultaneously want help liberating themselves from their snow gear, and they want me to make a piping hot cup of hot chocolate ASAP. In their rush to be the first in line for hot chocolate, they manage to leave a mountain of coats, pants, boots, hats, gloves, and scarves on the garage floor that is so huge I wonder if they took some of these things off the neighborhood kids.

Ren's makeshift clothesline in the garage as a last-ditch effort to keep control of all the gear.
The good news is that we've survived the first snow, and now all the necessary articles of clothing have made their way to the garage for the winter. Who knows? Given that we are now generally prepared, maybe we'll get lucky and won't get anymore snow.