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jenni’s snowjob – month two

March 2, 2010

Snowpocalypse, Snomageddon, SnOMG; Biggie Snows, whatever you call it, the Blizzard of 2010 Parts One and Two brought the East Coast of the U.S. to a grinding halt this month. Stuck in a holding pattern, we did a lot of waiting, as you can imagine: Waiting for the storm to end, waiting to see if school would be cancelled, waiting for the illusive snow plows and for some, waiting for electricity to be restored to their homes. Weather experts proclaim this the ‘snowiest season on record’ which hopefully means we’ll have to wait a long time for a repeat performance. Personally, I never, ever, ever want to see this much snow in my yard again.

Those of you who live in places that see 80 inches of snow a year can laugh, but we were woefully ill-prepared for this weather catastrophe. We’re better prepared to deal with hurricanes and floods in fact I’m convinced that my county owns zero snow plows. Not only did most people not go to work, but the kids were home from school for eleven days. That’s right, ELEVEN DAYS.

It started innocently enough with a few small flakes. Soon, bare branches wore graceful, lacey coats of snow and roads were dusted with a white powder. In a place that is geared towards summer tourism snow can look almost comical as the surf shops, palm trees and boardwalk become snow covered. After a second storm, just three days after the first one, pounded us with more wind and another foot and a half of snow, nobody was laughing. We were literally trapped in our homes. Even those with 4-wheel drive vehicles were having a tough time. Because we live on a small street and don’t have a large vehicle it was looking as if we wouldn’t be going anywhere until possibly July.

What did we do with all that free time? I drank a lot of beer and ate some pretty awful food. We spruced up the inside of the house a bit and collected a large amount of old clothes and toys to give away, but the best thing I did was spend time with family and friends. Facebook was a real life-line as I didn’t feel so alone when I was chatting on-line with other snow-bound friends. My husband Jake and I both have jobs that require us to show up for work no matter what. Needless to say 1 didn’t see him much as he spent most of his free time shoveling, leaving me alone, with my three children, for the bulk of the storm. One of the first nights of the storm (while Jake was shoveling two feet of heavy, wet snow) my brother and I began drinking beer while chatting on Facebook with a bunch of friends. Periodically we’d have a ‘social’ and would post a specific time in which to drink and post a picture. It was so much fun that the next night, Super Bowl Sunday here in the States, I proposed a “Virtual Happy Hour”. Since all the Super Bowl parties in our area were cancelled, we had our own and made up some ridiculous rules (that nobody followed). In the midst of this, some good friends braved the awful conditions and walked the mile or so to our house in knee-deep snow to keep us company.

As the days progressed, cabin fever set in. During the second storm Jake and I decided that a monumental death-march-style walk was in order. We love to take long walks but the kids aren’t quite as enthusiastic. The conditions were pretty atrocious that day and it was probably dangerous to be walking on the road but we had to get out of the house. It was enjoyable, even though there was a lot of protesting and whining amongst the youngsters, but was cut short as the wind and driving snow proved to be a little much for our 3 year-old.

I felt like we’d hit rock-bottom the day I proposed we go outside and play waffle ball in the backyard. The ball is the same color as the snow and no one could find it so we started batting around snowballs. Then we moved to the swing set where we jumped off the swings and landed on our butts in the snow, which devolved into throwing snow down the slide and landing the same style at the bottom. Later that afternoon I watched two snowplows clear the road behind my house. It was torturous because there’s only one way out of my neighborhood and that road was still snow covered.

Finally, after eight long days, I was able to leave my neighborhood. I was never so happy to go to the grocery store in my life. The sight of different faces and scenery nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Once again, waiting gave me extra time with family. We grew tired of looking at each other’s faces, but I gained some precious moments with my kids that otherwise would’ve been missed. I also had the chance to chat more with some old acquaintances via the Internet. I’ve gained a better appreciation for my car, paved roads and even the fresh fruits and vegetables that I had to do without for several days. Waiting for the roads to be cleared was a lesson about gratefulness, patience and creative thinking so, I propose a social in honor of Snowmaggedon. Thank you for giving me something other than potholes and dirty piles of snow to remember you by.

-Jenni

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