Two Teens And Their Mama: Snow Day Adventures

Friday, January 15, 2016

Snow Day Adventures

Although we've yet to see a good snowstorm, we're deep in the throes of winter, so today I decided to link up with Mamakat's Writer's Workshop and share what snow days were like when I was younger, and what made them memorable.

Honestly, snow days have been pretty rare in my life.  I spent my first five years in California, and then the next five in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Not exactly your best spots for snow activity.

I was four the first time I saw snow, and it's one of my earliest memories.  My family took a winter trip to Lake Tahoe, and my Uncle David decided to build an igloo for the kids.  My father and the uncles spent all day forming ice blocks and creating the igloo.  Our job was to drink hot chocolate and stay out of the way. Considering they were city slickers with not an ounce of igloo building experience, I remember that they did a great job.  We spent many hours the rest of the week climbing in and out of that igloo, hiding and making up stories of Alaskan adventures.


After that trip, snow days were mostly non-existent until we moved to Seattle when I was in 5th grade.  Yes, the stories you've heard about Western Washington and its snow issues are true.  The city completely shuts down when even the smallest of inches accumulates.

In our defense, there aren't a lot of snow plows, and the entire region is built on a hill.  A lot of very steep hills.  And we don't have much winter driving experience, so snow days just become one big bumper car situation.  It's best to stay home until things melt in a day or two.  Hence the shutdown.

Unless you were my school district back in the 80's.  School getting cancelled was a rarity, but one we eagerly anticipated each winter.  

The first time I ever heard my mother swear happened on a snow day during my Sophomore year in high school.  It was really coming down, but school hadn't been cancelled yet, and my mom, ever the rule follower, told us to bundle up and get in the car.  My dad was fond of VERY big automobiles, my mother was a California girl, and neither one handled icy conditions well.  Upon turning down the hill from our house, the Buick went into one long skid.  Mom yelled s*%$ as we slid ever so gracefully into the ditch.  My brother and I were so hysterical at hearing our mother utter a swear word, that we didn't even realize we'd gone off the road.  A few big pushes and we were out and on our way.  By the time we reached the high school, they had decided to cancel classes for the day. We were ecstatic, but by mother has never been so mad.


My best snow day adventure is also my scariest.  The winter after we were married was one of the snowiest Seattle had seen in many years.  I was working in Bellevue, normally a 45 minute drive from our apartment.  On a mid-December day, I was already at my job when the flakes began to fall.  G called the store and suggested that I head for home sooner than later.  But I was a fairly new employee with a long list of things to do, so like any good newlywed, I ignored him.  Five hours later I glanced outside and was surprised to see that 10 inches had accumulated.  I had no boots or gloves, but I did have a brand new Honda Accord with front wheel drive and good tunes on the radio, so I decided to go for it.  Not my smartest decision.

At 4pm I called G and told him I was on my way.  Six hours later, my poor husband was preparing to call out the cavalry. No cell phones in 1990, so once I left work we had no way to reach each other.  

As I boldly ventured out onto the streets that afternoon, I found that hundreds of people had abandoned their cars, right in the middle of the road.  No snow plows + 10 inches of snow makes for stand still traffic, so people just gave up and walked home. But I was 40 miles away, so I weaved around and pressed on.  An hour had passed before I even got to the freeway, where I was greeted by more abandoned cars.  I crept along, slipping and sliding, but determined to get home.  At one point my car did a full 360 pirouette across two lanes, came face to face with a semi truck, and kept on going.  I always picture the Swan Lake Suite playing as I remember that slow motion moment.

Three hours into my journey, and not knowing what lay ahead, I decided that I probably should get some gas. I slowly worked my way off the freeway to a station, only to find that their power was out.  No pumps were working.  And their payphone was broken.  In the words of my mother, s*%$!!!!

At the five hour mark, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my chances of making it home alive. Except I really had to pee and I was starving, but I was too afraid to do anything but keep going.  As I finally slid into the driveway, my pacing husband asked "what took you so long?"  I had to restrain myself from punching him.  I was so traumatized, I didn't go back to work for three days.  

And now, 25 years later, here I am, living in the middle of a hill again.  Even though I have a "mommy tank" with four wheel drive and big tires, I still don't like to venture out in the snow.  My family makes fun of me, but I don't care.

They've never been face to face with a semi truck while Swan Lake Suite is playing. 

Ahhh....snow days.

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Head over to The Blended Blog today for our interview with Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom. You're sure to learn something new about this creative, fashionable blogger!


36 comments:

  1. I loved snow days when I was a kid and got to miss school and play in it but not when I have to drive it. I can imagine how panicked G was...it's hard to remember how it was without cell phones especially when a dangerous situation ensued. You have the best stories by the way!

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    1. Thanks Carrie! I have a hard time remembering what it was like before cell phones too.

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  2. I loved reading your flashback stories! The story about your Mom is so funny! How terrifying about your long drive home from work. That would keep me inside every time it snowed too! Have a great weekend!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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    1. Thanks Jill. It's strange how I still hate driving in the snow after all this time.

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  3. I wish we had snow days :( I would love to be stuck at home. I remember a time in University in Quebec City and there was a blizzard...we opened our basement suite door the next morning to go to class and there was a 2 foot imprint of the door in a massive pile of snow blocking us in.

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    1. That would be kind of cool. Did you have to dig out?

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  4. Lana - man alive that must have been quite the drive home. Good on you for persevering! And for not punching out your husband upon arrival.
    Growing up in Vancouver my snow history is similar to Seattle's. We shut down on snow days. I had at least 3 snow days and they were HUGE. Huge. I can remember returning home from Hawaii after Christmas vacation and being beyond delighted that the vacation was still on. No school! Yay! Between you and me - I hope we get another one before winter's done!

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    1. Me too Kelly! There hasn't been enough snow around here lately.

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  5. Yikes! That does sound scary and I've lived in Quebec...aka the North Pole.

    I think snow is much worse when people aren't accustomed to it or don't have the ability to deal with it with salt trucks or plows.

    When we lived in BC on the Island the very day we moved there they had a massive snow storm (well massive for BC) that shut down everything. Cars were abandoned like you wrote. It stayed like that for almost 5 days. Coming from Quebec it was so weird for us to see how some snow could cause the world to end.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I can't imagine abandoning my car - but it still happens here!

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  6. O.M.G.!!!! That is so crazy, I was right there with you when you were describing it. Glad you got home safe, and I think it was perfectly okay if you had given your husband a little throat punch ;)

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    1. OH and I didn't ever see snow until Mr. and I decided to start snowboarding about 6 years ago, LOL. Some friends said, hey we're going to Utah to go skiing want to go, we said sure, we don't know how but sure, LOL.

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    2. I love that you just went for the snowboarding!

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  7. So glad your pirouette ended the way it did, and you are here to write this tale! Ugh. I think you have a lot more courage than you lead us to believe!
    Unless we go against the status quo in the next few months, my family will have been in the Montana school system for 14 years without experinecing a single school closure for a snow day.

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    1. You guys are much better prepared than we are, I think!

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  8. I loved snow days up until 2 years ago when we had record snowfall and my kids were home more then at school the whole month of January!! Lol!
    Jaymie
    www.jaymieashcraft.com

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    1. Yeah, I was usually ready to send my kids back after one day off!

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  9. Your flashback memories are great! I also have very fond memories of snow days. I wish we got more of them here in London than we've had in recent years. xx

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    1. I think your climate is very similar to ours - not much snow.

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  10. That sounds like a harrowing ride home from work. No wonder you didn't go back for three days! Everything in TN shuts down for snow too but I don't see any in our near future. Yay!

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  11. I've lived with snow all my life, I wouldn't mind a few easy ones...last year we had so much snow that it actually shut down our transit for 3 days (that is wild, we've never had it like that) we had White Juan in 2004, where we had massive snow fall in less then 24 hours. I would not want to drive in the snow, it's pretty scary ... I hope you don't get too much this year xox ♡

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    1. So far we haven't had any other than a few flurries. I imagine you've had your share!

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  12. I can only imagine how funny/shocking it would have been to hear your mother's first swear word when you were a teenager! LOL My kids heard them in utero... ;)

    I love the image of Swan Lake and skidding sideways into a semi...that would be something to leave one traumatized for a long time to come! Thanks for sharing this fun memory! I've been dreaming of a snow day so I can have a day off from work...alas, nothing yet...

    Happy Sunday!

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    1. None for us yet either. Since I work from home, I probably wouldn't get the day off - although I could talk to the boss!

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  13. Replies
    1. It is pretty fun if you're not driving.

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  14. Fun memories to cherish. Stopping by from mamakatslosinit

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  15. Oh my gosh, driving in ice and snow is the absolute worst! I would have wanted to punch my husband after that horrendous drive too. Thank goodness for cell phones now!

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    1. I know - I can't imagine life without one! Thanks so much for the fun prompt.

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  16. That's what I love about you! You can take a near-death experience and turn it into a ballet. Have a great week Lana!

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    1. Rena, you crack me up. I never thought about it that way. Trust me, it's taken over 25 years to be have anything positive to say about the experience :)!

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  17. I've had some harrowing snow adventures myself! And with a Honda at least once. Scary.
    We haven't had any big snowfalls here yet but there may or may not be one this weekend.
    Ugh, why not on a Monday?

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  18. Great storytelling. I could just "see" your car spinning around to Swan Lake. Reminds me of a crazy scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where something similar happens. At least snow and ice make near-collisions graceful and a form of art!

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  19. Omg what great memories. That 6-hour getting lost due to snow was awful. My small hometown in Albania always was snowy in the Winter and now I live in Michigan with more snow. But for a few years I lived in the capital of Albania with mild Winters but yet it gets so chilly there when it rains and it rains a ton. Albeit no snow, so I missed it. I still hate driving in the snow though even when I am driving a four wheel drive car. And I had no idea that everything shuts down in Washington when it snows. You are an excellent storyteller.

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