Okay everybody – I would like you to think of these next 1,000 or so words as a public service announcement, you know, like those broadcast announcements warning you of imminent danger, only without the color bars and piercing screech.
I feel it is my duty to detail what I have experienced the last 48 hours in the hope that it never happens to you. Yes we have been snowed in for the last couple of days with two kids and a dog and man, I barely held it together!
Readers from storm prone areas, pay special attention because these are the 10 things you are going to need to survive snow days. Now why is this important? Well it’s only the beginning of February and I don’t care what that punk-ass Punxsutawney Phil saw, I’m telling you to be ready. So to the Scout motto of “Always be prepared” we will add the Good Enough Mother motto, “With wine and a corkscrew”.
These 10 Tips are guaranteed to keep you sane in the snow so I want you to read this piece, post it on your wall and memorize every word. Trust me you will need this advice one day! So here goes:
SLEEP LATE: Our school district notifies us of school closures by email or text, usually by 5:30 in the morning. Rarely does this come as a surprise because the town crier (Cole) will have already warned me of the impending precipitation. Minutes after the official school notification will be this unofficial text from my daughter down the hall, “snow day J”. Of course she knows because she’s been up all night checking the school website. That will be the last I hear from her until about noon. But this is precisely what you want. You need to make a serious dent into all those hours of togetherness and what better way to do it than rapid eye movement sleep?
STOCK UP ON FOOD: I am not talking about fruits and vegetables here; eat those on regular days. Snow days are for throwing caution to the wind and enjoying the unexpected. On the first of two snow days, I got up and made an enormous breakfast for the kids with hoecakes, bacon and omelets thinking that would tide them over for a few hours. It did not and just like Lamprey eels they were back with their mouths open for more. Because I didn’t listen to the town crier about the coming storm, there was a serious shortage of comfort (read: quick) food – no tater tots, corn dogs or White-Castle Cheeseburgers from which to choose. That meant I was slaving over the microwave yet again and using my imagination… here’s what I came up with!
By the time lunch was over, I had done enough cooking to last the rest of the year (yes, I know it was just two meals). So Cole helped himself to all of my 320 calorie Lean Cuisines. When I got word schools were closed again today I gave up. Today at some point Cole came to me with a mouthful of food. Shirtless with a six-pack he doesn’t need to work for, I asked what he was eating. “I’m on my fourth, mini-Red Barron pizza.” he pronounced. It was 11:15 am, and another clue that it was going to be a long, long day.
MAKE GETTING OUT OF JAMMIES OPTIONAL: I’m not a complete derelict, though our home does look likes a frat house on a Saturday morning, minus the beer bottles and naked babes. But yeah, we relaxed a few of the rules. We made sure to brush our teeth but combing hair was optional and the kids stayed in their jammies for two days. Yes, that means no shower or bath. So put me in mommy jail.
HAVE VIDEO GAMES HANDY: Now if you have one of those rules that there are no video games during the week, well I just feel sorry for you on this day because after you have been asked to cook another meal or forced to watch Sponge Bob takes Bikini Bottom for the 6th time, you will be BEGGING for them to get their hands on an XBOX controller and stare blankly at the screen. Don’t fight the feeling.
HAVE CANDY ON HAND: This is the proverbial carrot AND stick. You want them to pick up their rooms, offer candy. You want them to stop screaming? Offer candy. You want them to do dishes and sweep the kitchen floor before dad comes home? Threaten to take candy away. You see where I’m going with this? Think of candy the way you would a naughty lover. Use it to weaken resolve until you get your way. Of course, you’ll be kicking yourself when your hyped-up kids are teaching the cat how to scale the screen door, but it feels so good while you’re doing it.
HAVE SNOW GEAR AT THE READY: This was one of my mistakes. After all the Lean Cuisines and M&M’s have been eaten and you’ve slain all The Flood in Halo 3, you must get them out of the house and out of your hair. I had to say “GET OUTSIDE” five times, and threaten them with no heat for the night before they finally took me seriously. But then we wasted valuable time tearing through every closet in search of pants, boots and gloves. When we found the stuff, I was so ready for them to get outside I said, “Go, go, forget the hats just go! And take the dog with you!” In my defense, it wasn’t that cold and I unlocked the door a short time later.
YOU NEED A HIDING PLACE: Mine is my closet, but those kids are like bloodhounds, they know exactly where to find me. My suggestion to you is to switch it up a bit, keep ‘em guessing. Move stealthily between your office and bedroom to under the bed or out on the roof. Don’t give up you hiding spot unless someone is screaming and you see blood or projectile vomit. Explosive diarrhea might be another reason to come out of hiding.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX: One time in the snow was enough for both of these kids. The problem is once inside, now what? My son doesn’t sit down and watch TV, he paces, which meant he divided his time between the room with the big screen and then coming to my closet/office where he would then relay to me what was on the big screen. Needless to say my train of thought kept jumping the tracks. So I gave him a job. I asked him to take my camera and to point, laugh and take pictures of those stupid speed demons who assume the ice on the road was no match for the rubber tires of their SUV. It made him feel important and fed our basic need to laugh at others and feel superior.
MAKE THEM HELP WITH THE CHORES: The rational behind this is twofold. If they were in school all day, the house would be pristine. But the fact is they are there, leaving wrapping papers, yanking half-eaten muffins out of the dog’s mouth and concocting cherry slushies with ice and grenadine and Splenda. Why should you alone have to clean up that colossal mess? So I shoved a sponge in Casey’s hand and the broom in Cole’s and told them to clean the kitchen before dad got home. The second part of this was the unintended consequence. They were both so fearful I might assign another chore that they made themselves scarce the rest of the afternoon.
MANDATORY NAPTIME: You heard me right. If your kids are young, great, you go down when they do. If they are older like mine, when they’re on the run from more potential chores, take the opportunity to sneak back into your room and lock the door. There you can read your trashy novel or pulp magazine, pluck your eyebrows, shave your legs, jump on Facebook or close your eyes and go to sleep. You’ve spent all day cooking, cleaning and entertaining; heck even circus clowns get a dinner break. Don’t open the door unless you hear screaming and see blood or projectile vomit and, well, you know the rest.
But what about you? What are your tips for surviving the never-ending snow days? Come on now, share! I need some more tips – it’s going to be a LONG winter!