Friday, January 17, 2003

Why I Hate Snow Days (or...Why My Kids Look At Me Funny)

If you live in East Tennessee, it's a common occurance. Whenever a big nor'easter is headed our way, predicted to drop 10-15 feet of snow, Knoxville goes into a panic. Grocery stores are attacked...well, read the below post for a description. Anyway, the whole city digs in.

Now I grew up in Fountain City, which is a northern suburb of Knoxville. At the time, quiet, peaceful (still is, mostly). Nice yards, streets not too busy, lots of kids. When it snowed back then, which seemingly was more often than now, my brother and I would get out and...well, do what kids do in the snow (no, not That...). I think we even have some old Super 8 movies of us throwing snowballs at my dad who was filming from behind the kitchen screen door.

Ok, fast forward 25 years. I'm married, 2 kids, my wife and I have jobs on opposite ends of town. My son, C., is in elementary school, and my daughter, E., is in daycare. When the alarms start ringing and the oxygen masks start falling from the sky, we both have to figure out how best to get the kids and get them home. In today's case, that involved a big do-si-do of picking up, switching cars while she attended a late meeting, and praying fervently that the roads would offer just enough traction to keep me from ditching the van. Later my wife made it in from her meeting, and everyone was safe.

My son wanted to play in the snow - makes sense, right? I did when I was a kid, so there's no reason for him not to want to go out. But now, I can't stand the stuff - sure, it's pretty, but's cold. My fingers and toes freeze, everything gets wet... "C'mon, guys, back inside."

When did I turn into an old fart?

Who am I to conciously or subconciously deprive my kids of one of life's most traditional pleasures? More to the point, why have I come to despise this stuff that blankets our lives?

Well, I've tried to think about it and I'm not sure. A big thing is the inconvenience and disruption of scheduling. Tomorrow, C. was supposed to spend the day at Ijams Nature Center day camp, while his school was taking In-Service. Well, that's out, and he's not happy. I have work to do, my wife has work to do...things get pushed back that push other things back....bother.

Another thing is my ongoing, 24 hour (you think Jack Bauer has it bad?), constant state of worry about their health and wellbeing. Just getting home was worth another ulcer, and it was actually not bad driving. Outside, there could be CARS SKIDDING DOWN THE STREET, or SNOWBALLS WITH ROCKS IN THEM, BREAKING YOUR BACK ON THAT DOWNHILL SLED RUN or the dreaded YOU'LL CATCH YOUR DEATH OF COLD. The dangers are legion, and unless I'm right there with them, I might not be able to help them.

Then there's the boredom factor. Snowmen never turn out right, there's only so many snowball targets...after a while - *yawn*, whatever, let's go inside.

There's just no magic in a snowfall for me anymore. It's a hindrance to progress, a source of danger, not interesting, and oh's freaking cold! (Did I mention that?) And I feel like a Grinch for not leading the charge outside and setting an example.

Well, it looks like we're probably socked in for a day or two. If you look out your window, and you see a tall bored guy sulking while his two anklebiters get clipped by a skidding snowplow, that's us.

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