The Absolution of Marissa Leone

Hey, everyone!  Pat yourselves on the back!  Once again, the spoon trick worked.  I told you it would, didn’t I?  Powerful things, those backwards jammies. 

When I say that the spoon trick works, what I mean is that the spoon trick works in mysterious ways.  You’ll see what I mean in a second.

First, let me just point out that the week after I first posted about snow days back in November, life was an emotional and meteorlogical roller-coaster.  We’d been in the snow, out of the snow, and back in the snow again, with power, without power, and back with power again, and connected, disconnected, and reconnected to the world again. 

Here is how it all went down:

Sunday night I let you all in on the secret to ensuring you wake up to a wintry-wonderland.  Not only did I type it up here, I told everyone I thought might care throughout the day–friends, family, people at church, kids I don’t know, anyone who’d stand still long enough.  At about 1:00 PM it started to snow.  Perfection.  Operation Snow Day was looking good.

But then, opposition.  As we’re all sitting at Bible study, staring out the window, dreaming aloud about all the wonderful things that go with not having to brave your icy commute in the morning (oh, btw, several girls in my Bible study are teachers or have school-related jobs), one “friend” pipes up with, “Get real guys, they’re not closing school for this.” 

Shock and awe.  Did someone really, I mean really, just speak against a snow day?  A SNOW DAY?  Like, OMG (where the G stands for gosh or goodness or gracious but not God because I don’t use that Guy’s name in vain).  How did this person (MARISSA) not notice she was surrounded by teachers? Didn’t you know me last winter?  Haven’t we been through this before?  With that kind of talk you’re just begging to get erasers clapped together right in your face.  Hhm…except that this is 2010 and nobody has to clap erasers anymore, thanks Expo markers. I’ll think of something, though…maybe I’ll empty my hole punch in your general direction…hhmmm….

Oh, yeah, so Marissa (who is typically quite lovely) is having her mental snap…Homegirl is originally from Minnesota and it seems to be that everyone I’ve ever met not from around here who is from somewhere like Minnesota or Michigan or one of the Dakotas, where wintertime looks like snow and not drizzly rain, likes to laugh at us as we attempt to cope with their native weather.  There’s a snowy-people v. rainy-people street war going down across the nation, folks.  You just have to know where to look.  I looked across the couch and found Marissa.

(I need to pause for a second and say two things.  Thing 1: There is a run-on sentence back there somewhere, but I’m not fixing it.  So there.  Thing 2: I love Marissa with my whole heart and soul–whatever’s not already taken up by Jesus and my family, anyway.  Several times a week I’m telling someone how much I love and appreciate that girl.  Anyway, she spoke against the snow day.)

So there we were, at Bible study, watching the streets fill up with snow and dreaming about sleeping past 7 AM in our backwards jammies.  Marissa kept on with her anti-snow day propaganda by stating several positive and hopeful things like, “Wow, it’s really coming down,” or, “Gosh, guys, it’s starting to stick,” only to follow them with, “but you’re still not getting a snow day tomorrow.” Rude.

I think my parting words to my dear friend were something like, “MA-rissa!  I have lived in this state for almost 30 years and most of those have included some involvement in the school system. I think I would know better than you when they’d be about to close the schools!”  (Doesn’t that kind of sass make you all want to be my friend?)  She just shrugged and got into her super-snow-safe subaru and drove away.

I took my thirty-minute drive back home, watching the snow accumulate the whole way and thinking about how lovely it was going to be not having to get up quite so early on Monday.  I got home, posted my little post, gathered my spoon, marker, and non-hooded jammies and went to bed.  It had stopped snowing by then, but I tried not to let that lend any credibility to Marissa’s claims.

Monday.  I don’t even like to think about the heartbreak of that morning.  I’ve decided this little snow day venture is a bit like waiting around for the Great Pumpkin.  He’s looking for the most sincere pumpkin patch, any hint of insincerity could ruin your chances of experiencing a visit. The spoon trick is similar.  You have to believe in the spoon trick for the spoon trick to deliver a snow day.  It’s possible the spoon trick might have heard one too many statements like, “Oh, come on guys, what is it with this spoon thing?  That’s ridiculous.”  And it passed us by. 

So while I woke up to more snow falling outside my window, I did not wake up to a morning radio DJ announcing school closures or even a 2 hour delay in my area.  Sheesh. Completely unprecedented.   The spoon trick had definitely delivered snow, but somehow the magic just did not quite reach the hearts and minds of the decision-makers out there.  “Get your butts in here,” they said.

So I hopped up early, blew through an abbreviated morning routing, rushed out to my car, put the key in the ignition, and then sat there listening to silence. Buttface wouldn’t start.  The car was forceably taking it’s own snow day.  Jerk.  Luckily, Dad’s Taxi Service had a truck with heated seats available to cart my booty into work, 30 minutes late.

And shortly after I got to work, this was the scene outside my window (sorry, but all these photos are going to be a little dark):

Look at that mess! (The snow outside, not my countertops.)

And it just kept accumulating throughout the day.  After a couple hours, it looked like this:

And then this:

We heard rumors of other districts sending their kids home early.  Our high schools sent people home before the end of the day.  Jealousy grumbled throughout the building.  When we heard about the city bus that had lost traction, hit a building at a local university, and rolled over, we all got a little nervous about our commutes.  I mean, a city bus driver is a professional driver.  I am a professional wrangler of goofy children. If that guy didn’t make it, I clearly did not have the skills to make it home.  (But then I remembered that the truck with the heated seats was scheduled to come back for me at around 4 PM.  Everyone else, though, was in charge or carting their own selves home.)

So I hung out, taught some things to kids, made paper snowflakes and built a snowman with one of my little friends who is on the Autism spectrum and was pretty sure that going outside in the snow was the first step in his journey towards frost-bite induced toe amputation. The speech therapist and I told him this was not the movie Alive and that we’d not be leaving him up in the Andes by himself.  We were going outside for 20 minutes with coats and gloves and scarves and boots and we were going to PLAY, dangit.

So we forced him to build this snowman:

We didn’t stick around long enough to give him a name, but there’s something about him that says “passive jubilation,” no?  He just screams, “Meh.”

In all the ups and downs of the day, the dread of watching the snow accumulate and feeling like a trapped rat, the terror of looking on as minivans try to take the hill by the school at full-speed, and the back and forth, will-they, won’t-they nature of wondering if you’ll get sent home early, it comes to light that even though my school district and I did not get a snow day, someone else did.  Someone who had mocked the spoon trick earlier in the day got to stay home from work due to inclement weather.  Um, ‘scuse me? I distinctly remember being told that the snow was no big deal and that people out here just don’t know how to drive in it.  Hm, avoiding the roads due to safety concerns.  Is that something Minnesota would be proud of?

I’d have been really upset about this but there was a deisel outside with heated seats waiting to take me home.

And the title does imply that somehow I find it in my heart to forgive Marissa for turning her back on me in my hour of need, so let’s get on with it.

Ack, so Monday was a downer.  Dad drove me home. Eventually that evening we lost power.  Then it came back on.  Then we lost it again.  Then it came back on again.  Then we lost it for quite awhile, but then it came back.  But then we lost it again at 1 AM.  The good news is that before we’d left school that day, the district had already decided to call a two hour delay.  And then, before I’d even had the chance to go to bed with my spoon, marker, and jammies, they’d called a full on snow day.  At last!!  The dream we’d been waiting for!! 

When the power goes out at 1 AM and it’s 15 degrees outside, things get chilly inside.  We all had to cuddle on one couch under three blankets.  Shortly after I called my parents to say we’d love to take them up on the coffee-delivery offer they’d made the night before, we decided it’d be way nicer to spend the day on the water in a home with heat and power. When the coffee showed up we told my dad there had been a change of plans.  Back into the truck with heated seats!  Dad called us barnacles.  I think his words to my mom were something like, “I’m like a log tossed in the sea…and I’ve picked up these barnacles…” 

Whatever, I was happy to barnacle it up with a view like this:

And looking at this kind of thing makes a barnacle very happy:

We lounged, we loafed, we mooched snacks.  We made breakfast, they gave us coffee, and we got to shower.  Did it matter that an hour after we got there our own power had come back on? Nope.  That house had to still be pretty cold, right? Something like eleven hours without heat? We were sure everything inside was covered in a thin layer of frost.  If I’ve got a free day off with a waterfront view, the last thing I want is to go hang out on a freezer-burned couch and think about all the laundry I’ve got to do. So we loafed on. 

It was enjoyable and I highly recommend it. The only issue with the whole day was being thrown back into the instability of not knowing whether you should persist in risking an overnight eye-injury by sleeping on a spoon or if you could plan on sleeping in to your heart’s content in complete safety.  It’s a rough way for your mind to spend an afternoon.  The good news is before we got too far into the afternoon, the school district called another snow day.  Glorious! This just turned into the longest Thanksgiving break ever. Exactly what I’d hoped for.  Instead of just a three-day weekend or a regular two-day weekend with a two-hour delay, we’d gotten a one-day work week and then a six-day holiday break. Six days!  I got to hang with my parents at the beach, eat their food, and watch their giant TV.  I’d left most of my school stuff at school, so I couldn’t do any work even if I’d wanted to. My parents even did some grocery shopping for me so I wouldn’t have to brave our icy driveway.  (Have I ever told you they’re the best? Because they are.)

The only REAL downside to the whole thing was the end of my friendship with Marissa. That’s been rough, but I had six days off to get over it. I hardly ever think about that girl anymore.

Kidding! Who can hold a grudge with six days off? Not me. I just hope she’s learned her lesson. This looks like it’s shaping up to be a rough winter and I’d hate to have to cut anyone out of my life mid-January. 😉