Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Into the Vortex

Our first winter here five years ago, it snowed in early November and didn't melt until March. That was the winter of Ren's first spine fusion, so he didn't leave the house those four months except for the occasional doctor's appointment. In the meantime, as a novice to the ways of the Great White North, every time it snowed, I managed to make the entrance into our driveway smaller and smaller until I could barely fit the car between the two massive piles of snow I'd created and feared would never melt. (Here's a blog post about the various sensory bins I made to cope that winter). That we didn't pack up and move south after that first winter kind of blows my mind now. With Ren out of commission and the kids five years younger (so 9, 6, and 2), the polar vortex of 2014 was a long winter of snow shoveling and single parenting for me.

In the intervening five years, winters here have been pretty mild and the kids have become more self-sufficient. Sky loves to snow blow and Stow loves to shovel, so the snowfall we've had has been utterly manageable. This week that all changed, though, because in the last 10 days, we've accumulated more than 18 inches of snow and find ourselves staring down another polar vortex, one that looks to be worse than the last one. With windchills expected to get down to -50F or lower, schools are closed; work is closed; even the US Postal Service is closed. After a few dumps of snow and temperatures too low for any of it to melt, this place is starting to seem a lot like Hoth. I'm thinking about trading one of the cars in for a tauntaun. Tauntaun's seem somehow warmer. And, fuzzier.

Started our polar vortex "party" on Tuesday night with an indoor cookout.

Our main goal, this go around is to keep everyone in the house, especially Stow who likes to wander when stressed and who often refuses hat and gloves. To that end, we started by making a list of things we could do once homework and morning jobs were done.

The list they created for Wednesday.

Same sensory bin, five years later.

Car World, apparently.

By 10 am, we'd gotten through most of the list, endured three meltdowns, and broken up one brawl. So, then we stepped it up a notch and started to use the cold to our advantage, if it's possible to do that when it's -26F with a windchill of -50F.

Freezing boiling water.

Freezing bubbles.
Waiting for water to freeze.
Almost frozen and joined by pineapple.

Welcome to the Arctic!
I was so busy trying to keep Stow occupied that I totally forgot to put the chili in the crockpot, so all hands helped. Stow manned the can opener while Sky cut veggies and Pink browned the ground beef. Ren did some magic with onions.

Browning the beef.

Demonstrating how to cut a pepper.
It's not even noon on the first day yet (school and work are cancelled through Thursday). I started this post last night and squeezed in these sentences while the kids play "Don't Rock the Boat" and "Quick Cups." I have no idea how we will get through 36 more hours of this, but at least we have heat and a kotatsu.

Catan and kotatsu
If you don't hear from me again, you'll know I didn't make it.


Stephanie said...

Mine have managed to ignore me until just after noon, so I was able to get some work done. One child didn't wake up until 8:30, and my normally early-riser didn't stumble out of bed until after 10:00. Thankfully, the early-riser is watching movies, and the other child has decided to make rice krispie treats.

I haven't gotten off totally easy, though. My dogs seem immune to the fact that they cannot go outside every 10 minutes for an hour at a time, and have been bugging me endlessly to go outside yet again.

Also, before long, I'm going to upset the entire Under 18 Population in my house and institute "Clean Your Rooms Before Mom Loses Her Mind", AKA "I'm Tired of Carefully Picking a Path Across Their Floors", AKA "You're Bored? Oh, I Can Fix That". I'm sure you'll hear the protests all the way up in the Great White North.

Mom on the Edge said...