The past few days, with our neighborhood shrouded in ice and the air temperatures legitimately cold and not just “cold for Texas,” have felt like snow days, even though we don’t have kids and work from home, and probably wouldn’t have done much outside the house this weekend, anyway.
The thing is though, a really good snow day exists outside time, as if the Universe is granting you a bubble of sparkly white magic for you to exist within for a few hours, and in those hours there are several things that must occur:
- You must drink hot chocolate. Whipped cream, marshmallows and peppermint-stick stirrers are all options that may or may not be added, but the hot chocolate itself is crucial.
- There must be a dog, preferably two or three, to cuddle with, play with, coax outside for an elimination break, and lure back in when he/she/they figure out that whuffling snow is super-fun, only to dry (their paws) wait, and repeat.
- Board games are required. If you are not alone on your snow day, you must gather whomever is present and play a board game, possibly two. Lately, we’ve been playing Gloom and Hunting Party a lot, but any board game will do. Yesterday we played Ticket to Ride: Europe.
- A good book is essential. Snow days are perfect for curling up with a good book (bonus points if you manage to do the cocoa drinking, book curling-up-with, and dog-cuddling all at once) and getting lost in someone else’s life for a while. Because I’m perverse, I often like to read “beach” books in the dead of winter, and books with a winter setting in the heat of summer. That said, last year when we had an ice storm, I re-read The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Bad television reigns supreme. Yes, we have 450 or so channels, including every single premium movie channel known to technogeeks everywhere (although no Hallmark Channel, because Uverse.) Yes, we also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. But those SyFy Channel equivalent of “B” movies, the ones that typically include either John Rhys Davies or Robert England, bad CGI, and young actors who can’t, you know, act? Those are the perfect movies for Snow Days. (So are old musicals. The Court Jester got me through many a blizzard when I was a kid.)
- Comfort food is key. To feed ourselves and our friends-turned-temporary-refugees during this ice storm included macaroni and cheese (from scratch), chicken and sweet potato soup, homemade cinnamon bread, and black bean chili with homemade cornbread. We also had a pot of hot cider going most of the time.
As an adult, having a snow day you get to actually enjoy is a rare thing. I don’t miss wading through chest-high snow to get to school, only to find a sign saying, “Buses can’t get through, no school today,” as happened once or twice when we lived in Georgetown (school was only a block and a half away), but I do miss the freedom that came once I’d waded back home, greeted my mother, and stripped off my coat and boots.
Often, she’d put me to work in her store, putting price tags on things, or tidying things, but just as often, she’d make me a mug of cocoa and send me upstairs to my room with a book or two, and I would spend the day with my poodle mix warming my toes.
As I write this, the ice that melted off our roof is re-freezing, and I am sitting on the bed with two of the four dogs who currently live in this house. (The other two are in their crates for the night.) Tomorrow will be chilly, but regularly scheduled work will resume.
We’ve had our weekend of snow days, and it’s been lovely.
Even better? Unlike school children, we don’t have to make them up at the end of the year.
Today’s Santa: Another Cracker Barrel purchase, I bought him three years ago because he reminds me of something that might have been carved from drift wood.