The Hubs has been temporarily transferred to Arkansas and we have been calling Jonesboro home for the last few months.
The weather in northeast Arkansas has been something that takes a little getting used to for this Midland girl. It’s as hot here as West Texas is in the summer, but add 1 million mosquitoes and so much humidity that I now have curly hair (seriously). And to say that we have been having “snow days” this winter is a complete misnomer. We have ice days here. Sheets of ice fall, leaving the roads as white and smooth as the Jackalopes rink.
And while it has been a little funny to watch the cars skidding along our street like hockey pucks, it has meant that the buses don’t run, schools have been closed and I don’t drive. So let the chips fall where they may, and get your poison pens ready to send me hate mail – but I loathe “snow days.” I especially detest five consecutive “snow days.”
We knew the weather would be getting bad, so we tried to prepare. But again, I’m from Midland. I did not know that I needed to buy industrial-sized bags of salt to coat the driveway. Getting out for Ash Wednesday service was treacherous and fortunately the only one to fall while we attempted to get into the car was Bodacious. But she’s little and still has a lot of cartilage. We also didn’t think about getting a heavy-duty snow shovel. A push broom just doesn’t cut it, folks.
I stocked up at the grocery store though. A ton of cocoa and popcorn. Lunchables, cheese sticks, dog treats, ice cream. Instant mac and cheese, bread, fruit and yogurt. We would not starve. Three gallons of milk. We would not thirst.
What we would do, however, was descend into total chaos. I am not a huge schedule person, but I do like some routine in my day. Up early, get Little Son ready for school and out to meet the bus at 7:19. First cup of coffee. Milk and cartoons for Bodacious. Check e-mail, Facebook and Zulily. After shopping, breakfast and dress the girl. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she goes to mother’s day out, so we pack her lunch box, fill her water bottle. Dress for gym. Sprint to car. Realize have forgotten my water bottle and/or my headphones. Back inside. Fight the dogs back into the laundry room. Drive daughter to school and go to gym. Lunch with the hubs. Home, housework, writing, back to mother’s day out, grocery or errands, home, snacks, open door for Little Son, snack round two, chill, coffee, tidy kitchen and start dinner. Followed by eating, cleaning, laundry, making lunches and more coffee. Baths and milk for kids, lay out their clothes and story time. The Hubs handles bed time and stories so I can watch trashy TV and drink wine.
There is no structure to an ice-apocalypse week. I repeat. There is no routine. Just be grateful if your power stays on.
Day 1. Lots of ice, some snow, sunny skies. Kiddos want to go play outside. You know we don’t have snow clothes. Put kids in sweats, soccer socks, rain boots, sweatshirts and jackets. Can’t find toboggans or mittens. Send Bodacious out with my sweat socks on her hands. After 20 minutes, I have managed to cram in most of Downton Abbey and dust living room. They have had enough falling on the ice. They are sopping wet, unbeknownst to me they have been running the water outside to make snow “experiments.” Inside, lay out a trail of old towels so they don’t get ice and slush on the wood floors. Strip them down – their hands are too cold to help – dry them off, wash said hands, pile all wet clothes into tub. Towel dogs off. Follow with cocoa, cartoons and coloring. Stay up two hours past bedtime but remember to dry ice clothes so they will be ready in the morning.
Day 2. Lots more ice. Cloudy skies. Kiddos want to go play outside. Warm milk, cereal, get clothes out of dryer, dress kids. Out they go. Oh, here they come. Sobbing. Of course. “Mommy I fell on my bottommmmmmm.” Suck it up son, I have not had coffee yet. Get on the towels! Strip them down, warm them up. Cocoa. Now my coffee is cold. Do you know the price of the Starbucks K-Cups, Son? Rats, wet dogs! Lunch. Cartoons and popcorn. They’re still hungry. Second lunch. Scooby Doo movie. Snack time. Wait? Where was my lunch? Time for crafts! Argh, you know I am not a crafty mom. Two hundred pieces of construction paper (I am not exaggerating) are on the floor with crayons and Sharpies. Where did those Sharpies come from? Markers are a huge no-no with Bodacious around!
Day 3 Eating ice cream straight from the carton for breakfast. And lunch. Have become invested in kid’s TV shows. Must know if Austin and Ally will get back together. Will I ever see the parents on Jesse? Did you know Stan from Dog with a Blog is a shelter dog? Too cold to shower or bathe children. Marker and crayon marks found on walls of kids’ bedroom. Message from Poppy, Little Son’s Godfather, “Weather in Midland is great!”
Day 4 Dadblastit! They just cancelled school here AGAIN. That’s four days in a row. My house and I can’t take it anymore. How many more construction paper place mats can I make? There are stuffed animals and baby dolls everywhere. My children, beautiful, precious fruits of my loins, have gone feral and Bodacious has dreadlocks. Little Son can reach the bread and peanut butter. I do not care about lunches one and two, he makes sammies for us all. I am trying to rally but I feel so alone, so isolated. My Midland friends are starting to send me frequent “how’s it going?” texts. I decide we should try our hands at sugar cookies and we rent three movies from direct video at $4.99 a pop. We watch them back to back, bite after bite.
Day 5. OMG. I want my mother. The Ice Storm from Hell is now officially off the rails. Today’s high is only 15 degrees. I am so tired and I want to cry. The skies are almost black. Making our second batch of cookies. Eating them raw. Son is sobbing because I won’t let him pee outside. Yeah, like I want to clean him up after he slips in it. Out of ice cream. Let the inappropriate TV watching and wine pouring begin. Maybe I will film Little Son crying in the floor while we ignore him. Even my dogs are looking desperate. Will my husband EVER come home?
Day 6. Saturday. Everyone is raring to go. Temperatures have warmed and there was a rain shower making all of Jonesboro look like a giant gray slushee. The kids and the Hubs are raring to go. I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to be touched and I don’t want to hear any punching, maniacal laughter, crying, scissors on paper noise or even any laughing.
We had a week-long break from the weather, followed by another stuck-at-home snow week. This time, I was better prepared. I spent $145 at Target on clearance art supplies, four sticker books, an X-box dancing game and six bottles of wine.