My wine stockpile was nearly not enough to get me through Snowpocalypse. Turns out, I’m not much of a Doomsday Prepper. Day #5 proved to be especially challenging since Dave HAD to go to work and my minivan was the ONLY vehicle that failed to break out of the hood hills. What? But the opportunity to spend time augured in at home with my family was surprising and entirely welcomed. Portland hasn’t had a real snow storm in years. And when the snow fell, the media did what it does best – elicit panic and fear – so no one drove and businesses closed their doors.
Here is a sample of the good born of 8″ of frozen that stuck around the Portland-metro area for five days:
We met many neighbors for the first time. Sure, we had to help a poor bastard who thought his smart car could challenge a real snow-covered hill. As we began digging out his buggy, he actually said, “I don’t understand. This thing isn’t THAT light.” Dave later commented a cardboard box with four wheels would weigh more. He was nice. Just not smart – like his car. Overall, the Winter Blast brought folks out into the streets who were nice AND smart. Neighbors who typically spend their weekends on the ski slopes, or at their kids’ sporting events, or at the grocery store/gym/hair salon. They were OUTSIDE. Running, walking, shoveling, sledding, drinking Baileys-infused coffee…all while visiting with one another. There was a wonderful sense of community and the worst weather brought out the best in people. Especially the neighbors who came to my assistance when it was my turn to be The Poor Bastard.
Kids played in the street. In the MIDDLE of the street. Some of my favorite memories of childhood involve the fun I had with other kids – OUTSIDE. When the only rule was to be home before the streetlights came on. We always encourage our boys to play outside (though usually not in the middle of the street). I let Abe walk home from the bus. Alone. <Gasp>. We live in a calm and safe community; however, you rarely see kids actually playing together outside. Riding bikes, okay. Jumping on fenced-in trampolines, sure. But times are different. For safety’s sake, kids are quickly shuffled to each others’ homes – into playrooms, bedrooms, or basements to play Legos or worse, video games. Unless it’s a highly organized, well-planned activity, outdoor play doesn’t happen often enough. Especially in wintry weather. House lock-down meant we didn’t have to worry about cars on the streets (with the exception of the smart car). So kids dusted off their sleds and saucers and headed downhill. Who knew kids playing in the middle of the street could be so much fun?! It was an incredible thing to participate in.
We were all much happier with nowhere to go and no pending obligations. At least for four of the five days. School: canceled. Soccer: canceled. Basketball: canceled. Abe reciting the Ten Commandments with 15 other first graders in church: canceled. Our suddenly very open schedule left us in a bit of a quandary. Dave’s first comment Saturday morning was, “What do you want to do today?” As if my options were WIDE open for once. In the end, I was able to do a LOT over the course of five days: cook and bake with The Dirties, leisurely put puzzles together, catch up on laundry, organize the boys’ closets, spend time playing cards with neighbors, read and write. Oh, and sip wine. Things that I normally have to make time for became welcomed reprieves. I didn’t wear make-up for 96 hours. I even forgot how long it had been since The Dirties had baths until I caught a whiff as they were putting on PJs.
So, while structure and schedules are usually good things, taking a break from it all occasionally works too. Snowmaggedon 2014 served as a great reminder to plan some days with no plans and just see what happens. Warmer temperatures yesterday FINALLY began melting away the ice, but happy memories of stuck cars and spontaneity and tired childs with rose-colored cheeks are sure to stick around for a while. Especially with the kids back in school!