• The Piquant Storyteller

Winter Staycation

Northwest winters look like how it feels to have a cold - drippy, wet, and miserable. A cold runs its course in about 7-10 days. Cold winter rain lasts for months. If you can patiently get through the winter, the rewards are well worth the wait. I love living in the Evergreen State. It is amazingly beautiful. Snow is unusual. Or so I have been told. I think we need to redefine "normal" because it has snowed every winter I have lived here. Every. Single. Winter.

I hate snow. At least you don't have to shovel rain. I have never enjoyed snow, nor did I ever miss it while living in California. My kids grew up in California. My boys were too little to remember Utah winters with snow. All they know is cool rain immediately followed by sunshine. We barely have adequate rain gear. Given enough snow, most of Western Washington will shut down. Given any amount of rain, California practically shuts down. Students eat outside year round in California. Except when it rains, sprinkles, or looks like a tear might be coming on. Then the students go inside to eat. Indoor recesses frequently happen. It rains so much in Washington that people have learned to dance in the rain.

Wally Weatherman predicted snow starting on Sunday. I didn't really believe anything would come of it if, by some miracle, there was any snow. And I was doubtful there would be any snow. We had several days in January with temperatures in the 60's. Sunshine only added to spring fever. It felt like we were back in the Bay Area where January days were often in the 70's. February would get bone chilling cold. March was a mix of cold and hot. The heat would sneak in and never leave again until November.

To my surprise, fat white flakes started to fall around noon yesterday. They continued to fall all day while never sticking on the sidewalks or roads. It was pretty and we had nothing better to do but enjoy the white magic from inside the comfort of our own home.

I was up at 3:30 this morning with low blood sugar. As I passed the picture window above the stairs, I noticed nothing but white. The street was not even visible under a thick layer of virgin snow. I was surprised no cars had been on the road yet. Sleep returned sometime between 4:30 and 5:00 am. Heath's alarm woke us up and I told him about the snow on the roads. He looked out the window and declared conditions too unsafe for driving Gavin to seminary.

Sleep was pushed away as I tried to do math in my head. When should I wake Gavin up to catch the bus around 6:30? As I turned on my phone to set a temporary alarm, I saw an email from Gavin's seminary teacher. She said no school equals no seminary. Rather than get up and banish sleep completely, I texted Heath the information. Sleep refused to descend on me. I couldn't figure out why I didn't get a phone call about the closure. The district website did show that school had been canceled for the day.

I tried to sleep and finally was comfortable when the phone rang at 5:46 am announcing the school closures. Ugh. I finally got up a little after 6:00 am conceding that sleep was futile. Parker came down at 6:30 wondering why I didn't wake him up. A devilish grin spread across his face when we told him the good news. Gavin was the next to emerge from his room. This is big. Gavin is Rip Van Winkle and could sleep through an entire weekend if we let him. The fact that he got himself up before 7:00 am is nothing short of miraculous. He said he felt like it was later than when he should be getting up for school!

Gwen followed suit shortly after 7:00 am. We braced ourselves for the stormy tears sure to follow. She is participating in her school's drama production. Auditions and the first rehearsal were set for this afternoon. Performances this Saturday. Gwen was surprised by the free day off. No tears though. She looked out the window and exclaimed over the amount of snow that had accumulated over night.

Heath measured unprecedented 8.5 inches of snow before 8:00 am. His parents live further north than us and had measured at least an inch more. School has been canceled for much less snow than this! Icy road conditions are what shut things down. I still can't believe this much snow has fallen here in Western Washington. It's not normal, but then again every single winter has come with snow, and that wasn't supposed to happen.

The boys had aspirations of serving our neighbors by shoveling their walks. They pooped out after our driveway. I just laugh. My kids don't have proper winter clothes, much less any experience with shoveling. What they have is the happiest smiles I have seen in a while. They are in and out dividing their time between playing in the snow and playing in the house.

I may hate snow but it is magical. Growing up in Utah, I took snow for granted. It was a fact of winter life that made me long for the warm sunshine that much more. One thing I love about the snow here is looking out the window to see people of all ages bundled up ready to play in the rare frozen treat. My teenagers are as gleeful as preschoolers. This is the third Monday in a row without school, and today is by far the most fun my kids have had. It's the best staycation ever.

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