1. Snow Day
I drive a lot. I get up in the morning and drive the kids to the bus. I drive Matty to and from pre-school. I pick the kids up from the bus and sometimes from school. I drive the girls to and from practice and games and Hebrew School and birthday parties and friends houses and around and around and around town. I am secretly concerned that I did something bad, either in this life or a past life, and that, like Sisyphus, I am being punished with a lifetime of driving there and back again in the minivan of eternal damnation.
Tuesdays are the worst. There is pre-school, followed immediately by Hebrew School 10 miles away, followed immediately by basketball practice for both girls back in town, with the practices staggered just enough to avoid any possibility of efficient driving or nutritious home-cooked meals. Most weeks, I find Tuesdays to be a bit too much and I wish for a good snow day so we can take a break. Sometimes, I get my wish, and you know what they say about that. As to the wisdom of being careful what you wish for, consider yesterday's itinerary:
8:05 a.m.: Throw kids in car and speed down the driveway to avoid missing the morning bus. Notice that the driveway is getting a little snowy. Wonder if it is time to plow.
11:30: Give in when pre-schooler declares in firmest manner possible that he WILL NOT be attending pre-school today.
2:30 p.m.: Realize that other children still need to be picked up from school at 3 in order to go to Hebrew School 10 miles away.
2:37: Wonder where eldest child is and if she would like to be picked up from bus rather than walking up driveway in 15 degree weather.
2:39: Notice that eldest child is now visible on driveway, making extra driving pointless. Demand that both children get in van to go get other children from school.
2:44: Back van out of garage while listening to eldest child comment on depth of snow drifts on driveway. Skid through first snow drift. Drive directly into second snow drift and get stuck there. Damn van.
2:46 to 2:54: Try a variety of skillful driving maneuvers, including strategic application of colorful language. Simultaneously lament the inability of the damn van to drive through snow deeper than four inches.
2:54: Accept impossibility of freeing van from snow and driving 4 miles to school in the space of 5 minutes. Call school and beg them to put kids on the bus.
2:55: Send other children inside to have fun while I suffer. Grab keys to plow. Start plow. Realize that surprising amount of snow on front seat of truck came in through partially open window. Close window.
2:56 to 3:09: While elderly plow warms up, grab shovel and attempt to dig van out of snow drift. Drive back and forth in minuscule increments until van finally breaks free of evil snow drift. Back van into garage, thereby clearing the way for plow to clear the way for the van to get back down the driveway.
3:10: Begin to plow for first time ever in life. Immediately get plow jammed in snow drift. Have obviously been upgraded from minivan of damnation to plow truck of damnation. Curse loudly in all known languages.
3:12 to 3:19: Spend two minutes driving back and forth in minuscule increments to free plow from snow drift from hell. Spend five minutes smushing snow drift with plow blade. Mental outlook improves markedly. Consider writing book touting plow-based therapy regimen.
3:21: Arrive at bottom of driveway in plow, having cleared drifts from right side of driveway. Note that neighbor is already waiting for the bus and decide to wait also rather than attempting to clear left side of driveway. Use extra time to call husband and celebrate Modern Independent Woman of the New Millennium initiative in plowing the driveway.
3:22: While talking plow talk with husband, notice sudden and ominous silence as truck runs out of gas. Truck is now completely blocking end of driveway, preventing all ingress and egress to those, like us, who do not own snowmobiles. Nearest gas station is two miles away. Temperature is 15, wind is vicious. Not interested in walking to gas station; probably not able to carry full gas can back from station. No timely solution in sight. Damn truck.
3:30: Get children off bus. Try to start truck one last time. Fail. Demand children don all available cold weather accessories for 1/3 mile walk back up driveway to house. Administer lecture CWP506 on the virtues of always carrying your mittens and hat with you in winter. Lecture starts with infamous line "Do you see now why I keep telling you to take your mittens . . . "
3:40: Deliver children to house. Grab gas cans (empty, of course; damn gas cans) and proceed to trek back down driveway to leave gas cans in car for husband, who will have to pick them up when he returns from work, fill them, empty them into the truck, finish plowing driveway, and return to move his car from the road back to the house. Pray that the issue is nothing worse than empty gas tank.
4:30: Return to house feeling like popsicle. Issue requisite phone calls & emails letting Those In Charge know that we will be missing from Hebrew School and all basketball practices tonight. Marvel at the lengths to which I will go to avoid driving kids around town. Settle in to enjoy unexpected time off from new career as taxi driver.
2. More reasons why little kids are fun
Here, just to brighten your day, are Matty's selections for the Valentine's Day cards and goodies he'll be giving out at preschool next week
Like Band-Aid worship and underwear covered in movie and TV characters, this is one of those things that I love about kids this age. They like what they like, and are still mostly oblivious to the gender bias of their stuff. At the same time that he's playing knights and dragons or laughing at jokes about people's butts being on fire, there is still a piece of him that loves, without embarrassment, the soft and fluffy stuff. So he'll be handing out Darth Vader valentines (there's an issue all on its own) and pink boxes of animal stickers. No worries about whether the pink boxes are too girly; no worries about giving girls Darth Vader cards that say "Be Mine." I got his kindergarten registration information in the mail last week, so I know this era is coming to an end, but I plan to enjoy it as long as I can. Maybe he'll even save a valentine for me.