Guest Post: Busy in Bristow: Snow Days

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On my way to work yesterday, the D.J. announced the weather closure for Fauquier County Public Schools, and I looked at the sky wondering if I’d missed something. Nine hours later, pulling out of the parking lot at 5PM, large but insubstantial flakes fell on my car windshield. It must have been kind of cool for the kids and teachers in Fauquier to get a veritable free day, but I’m sure the parents were less thrilled.
What’s going on folks? Isn’t it supposed to snow? This weekend, they predict a low of 15 degrees, but every time a front comes through – something that’s dumped down a whopper in Washington state or a doozy in Denver, the temperature in Virginia rises from the teens to something awful like 34 or 38, where it  hovers just above “colder than crap” but too warm for snow. We haven’t even had a respectable icing this winter. You know, that dazzling ice that blinds you the next morning as the weak sunlight shines on it … the frozen layer that encases the branches on your prize dogwood … a good, old heavy coating that threatens to break limbs of all kinds and wreak general havoc on Dominion Electric.
For us teachers, snow days mean hunkering down under the covers for an extra hour or two of sleep, then meandering – lazily – out to the kitchen to make coffee while our progeny poke around in the video cabinet to watch their second Disney DVD of the day. Snow days mean sitting on the sofa, holding a steaming cup of coffee in our hands flipping through the pages of a book or newspaper for all of ten minutes or until the youngest can take no more ribbing from the oldest and dissolves into a high pitched whine that lasts until nap time, which we push up from 2:30 to 1:00.
Snow days mean the older kids are in and outdoors, along with our expensive heat, oil purchased for $4.00 a gallon at $600.00 a bill. With them forms a trail of water from boots that weren’t removed in the mud room but are instead discovered on the only “good” rug we have in the house.
Snow days mean we’re already wondering at 1:00 if we’ll get the next day off too, or whether or not – after one day’s reprieve from the regular grind – we’ll be back in our routine, shoveling out the mini-van and shuttling the kids and ourselves back to school.
I remember snow days pre- kids. My husband and I used to loll around the house clad in the same pair of pajamas for as many days as the white stuff fell from the sky. We live on a quiet, dead-end street, and it’s easy to forget about the outside world when it snows and the road outside goes unplowed. He’d overdose on ESPN and I’d read books until I fell into a literary dither.
Snow days pre-kids, we’d make stacks of pancakes and a pound of bacon, which warded off hunger until 4:00 or so when we’d eat junk food and watch Oprah, and two hours later, pull some processed food out of the freezer for dinner.
Once, pre-kids when we were able to confirm that school was closed for the remainder of the week, we headed to the ski slopes with other teacher friends, and nothing felt better than the sun shining down on my face that “free day” snatched from the jaws of January’s doldrums.
Snow days with kids are a different story. When ours were babies and toddlers, we’d enjoy pajama wearing and family time, but if I’m honest (and by this time reading my blog, you know I will be), sometime around noon and the day’s thirtieth block tower, the shine wore off, and – having been awake for six hours – I’d start to fall asleep on the toy room floor, my drool mixing with theirs.
Now that the kids are older, we are again able to sleep in because they can climb counters, pour themselves cereal, and operate simple, non-life threatening electronics.
But after the second movie and tenth board game – with eight hours stretching ahead of you like an open field of untouched snow – you begin to hope that the stinkin’ white stuff will stop and the blasted schools will clear those parking lots.
At 3:00PM, you consider calling your building principal and asking to shovel the lot yourself – anything that will get you out of the house and away from the hours of sibling bickering. At this point, you start to understand the plight of Washington, D.C.’s working drones who – at first sight of a snowflake (and in Fauquier County’s case, at first hear) have to scurry around for childcare on these days – or take leave when the day turns out to warrant a vacation rather than resemble one.
Yes, we’ve missed another chance at a snow day in Prince William. And today, while the sun shines brilliantly, I wonder if this winter’s snow will ever fall._________________________________________________________________________________
Kathy Smaltz writes for BristowBeat.com the original copy of this article can be found at their website and is reprinted with permission.  BristowBeat provides hyperlocal coverage for readers in Bristow, VA and the surrounding areas.  
Like many moms, Kathy drives a mini-van full of booster seats and Disney/Pixar DVD’s. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids, ages 10 and under, to school and activities, she teaches for Prince William County Public Schools, writes fiction and poetry, and blogs about the challenges and rewards of being a mom to young children.