A couple of years ago we had a bit of weather I like to remember as “the Snowpocalypse.”  The news has been referring to it as “Snowmaggedon.”  For reals.  (And I’m gonna take that as confirmation that I’m awesome.)  It snowed for days around here.  My car had varied strata of snow deposits on top.  You could excavate the lower layers and make little snow caves while an icy sheet would support a roof bearing more snow. You could carve little penguin and yeti houses inside.  (Hey, you know what? We were stuck in our apartment for days.  DAYS.  I needed something to do.)  

But anyway, it snowed today.  I think it’s still snowing, actually. I am not hoping for a Snowpocalypse II, but I am hoping and praying with all my might for a snow day tomorrow.  That would make for THE most excellent Thanksgiving week ever.  One and a half days of school (or less, if it decides to keep snowing through Monday)…I’m just sayin’, is all.  We prayed for it at Bible study today.

Snow days to most teachers (except those silly ones that don’t like to have to make up days later, weirdos) are like little unexpected gifts from God to let you know He loves you and cares about your mental health.  They are little rays of hope–cold, icy hope. 

FYI, as I’m typing this, my roommate says, “I don’t even want to think about how broken-hearted I’ll be if we don’t have a snow day tomorrow.”  She’s trying to figure out how we could gather up all the snow in our yard and dump it in the superintendent’s driveway. Aside from those drastic measures (which could possibly be construed as some sort of harassment), we’ve got a few more “practical” things we do here. Because they go so far in helping me keep on keepin’ on, I take several steps that I hope will push the likelihood of a snow day from “possible” to “probable.”  I’m sharing with you these secrets in the hopes that you’ll support my campaign for a snow day tomorrow.  They are complex.  If you miss a step, you risk ruining the whole thing.  I’m not playing around here, people.

Step 1: Sleep with a spoon under your pillow. (Easy enough.)

Step 2: Place a marker on your windowsill pointing east. (Slightly more complicated…find a window, figure out which way is east, point your marker tip thattaway.)

Step 3: Sleep with your jammies on inside out and backwards. 

Did you get that? Inside out AND backwards. You should be able to look straight down and see all your tags waving up at you. 

That last step is the one that’s always the most complicated for me.  I have to actually hunt around for different jammies.  Usually I wear a hooded sweatshirt to bed and one of those guys inside out and backwards easily becomes a near-death experience.  I’m willing to risk a spoon possibly digging into the side of my head, but I’m not risking my life for a snow day.

Wait, did you not believe I actually did this?  I totally do.  And my teacher roommate does, too.  This will make year three, and let me just tell you that this method brings results.  (Well, except for that one time that our other roommate, a non-teacher, put her marker in the windowsill facing west.  It was a dark day. Actually, I think it ended up being a sunny day, and therein lies the problem.)

And not only do we put the snow day plan into action in our own home, but I try to spread the scheme around to anyone who seems willing to engage in the silliness with me.  I tell all my kids at school. 

“But what if I can’t do that part? What if my mom won’t let me wear my jammies backwards?”  Well, child, then you need to decide how important this snow day is to you. Do or do not, there is no try.

So, now you’re in on the plan.  Some words of caution: use the technique wisely.  You’ve got to wait for snow to be forecasted. If you start to abuse it by whipping it out in May or whatever, you can expect it to lose its power and you’ll have ruined it for all of us.  I’ll personally make sure you don’t sleep easy. Um–I mean–you’ll  have to live with the guilt that comes with depriving children of the joy that comes with an unexpected day off to play in the snow.  And you’ll have deprived me of free day off in the dark days of winter, right when I need it most.  Think about your choices, is all I’m sayin’.   Think about your choices, and then go grab a spoon, marker, and non-hooded set of jammies right now.  Think of the children.

I’m going to go hose down the streets around the bus barn now, see if I can’t push “probable” into “certain” without getting arrested.

Visions of Fall

If you were to look in the photo album of my brain under the heading “fall,”  this is what you’d find:

This is the side yard next to the old hotel in Hooper, WA.   It just needs some pumpkins scattered around the tree trunks to look super harvesty. 

Flip through a couple more mental photos and you’d find this:

And this:

Those are both overlooking the Snake River.  Ok, keep flipping, keep flipping….there…Palouse Falls:

Somehow over the years my brain has begun to equate “Fall” with “Eastern Washington.”  Not just Eastern Washington, though, the Palouse region.  And not just the Palouse region, Hooper.  

It’s probably got something to do with this:


And this:

What’s left of the thing that got hunted.

Hunting season kicks off in October and every October several members of my family set up a secondary residence in Hooper, where our cousins live.  I don’t hunt, but I also don’t like to miss out on opportunities for family togetherness.  Or opportunities to see pretty, ranchy things like this:

There is a surprising lack of fence-posts and barbed wire in my daily teaching life.  It’s weird. 

Also missing in my daily life–these guys:

Kirstin came to Hooper with me this year and we tried to make friends with these guys.  We tried our hardest.  There was some small talk involved, we asked about their families, and inquired about their hopes and dreams.  We pulled out all our best material, batted eyelashes…no dice. 

They rallied their buddies and charged us.  See:

We had to run for our lives.  I think it was the eyelash-batting that did us in.  As a redhead I’ve actually got red eyelashes (that I keep carefully concealed under layers of mascara, for everyone’s safety), and it’s possible that all that blinking and batting stirred up some latent-anti-matador instincts.  They couldn’t help it.

Okay, so they didn’t actually charge us, it was a slow saunter.  But still, I know I was intimidated.

Either way, those guys are a permanent part of my visual reference for Fall.  There’s something about the clear crispness of the air over there and the turning leaves against the warm tan of the dry grasses…it really leaves an impression.  Oh, and there’s this one last image:

Big ol’ pile a deer skin.  Yep, that’ll stay with ya.

Happy Autumn!