Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Ice Storm of 2013

Last Wednesday (Dec 4th), it was a warm and sunny 72 degrees.  Owen and I waited in the warm sunshine for the school bus to arrive bringing the kids home.  They arrive in shifts- Madelyn and Adam first, and then an hour later, Julianne and Catherine.  We started dinner (at 4:30 -- because that is the only time to fit it in) and I headed out the front door to do a photo shoot at the park by our home (shameless plug My kids came outside towards the end of the session and ran through the green grass.  The only thing interrupting it was my phone buzzing.  I checked it and saw that we were under a winter storm watch from 6 pm Thursday through midnight Friday.   Silly weathermen!

It was the usual Wednesday-- Catherine had swim team, Julianne had youth activities for church.  There were dishes to be done, homework to be done and checked, piano recital pieces to be practiced for the recital on Saturday, stories to read, and more.  

Thursday, started out much the same -- only colder.  Like 40 degrees colder.  It was 38 degrees as the kids headed out to the morning bus rides.  I went to the gym to do my very last training run.  Trent and I had (for the 2nd year in a row) registered for the Dallas half marathon.  We had both done 10 weeks of training in preparation and were excited for the race on Sunday morning.  I stopped by the grocery store to grab milk because we had run out of it at breakfast and the store was full of people.  LOTS of people.  By 2:00, the drizzle had started and the cancellations started.  Both Julianne and Catherine had their swim team practices cancelled.  Adam had his basketball practice cancelled.  Now we were all home, with nowhere to go.  It felt so nice.  I wasn't going to have to spend hours in the car.  The kids could do some extra piano practice to finalize their pieces.  Trent got home from work and we had a nice dinner and quiet evening.  The only thing interrupting it was the simultaneous phone calls, emails, and texts when the announcement came that school had been cancelled for Friday.  Our first TEXAS "snow" day.  

Friday morning we awoke to the most beautiful snow covered yard, park, and street.  The kids were anxious to go out and play.  Our doorbell rang and as I opened the door immediately noticed that there was not a single footprint in the snow even though Adam's friend had just walked right across the yard.  And that was when we came to understand that when they say ice storm, they really mean ICE.  There was no soft powder-- only 3-4 inches of solid, hard, rough ice.  The kids still sledded down the hill and drank copious amount of hot chocolate.  By around noon, boredom struck.  We pulled out a new 1000 piece puzzle.  We played Mexican Train dominoes.  We watched the cartoon Grinch.  It was quiet- no cars on the road.  The only thing interrupting the afternoon was the buzzing of Julianne's phone.  

Julianne is a teenager and she owns it. It was a snow day and in her mind the perfect opportunity to hang out with friends.  Would I just drive her there? "Please, Mom.  Please.  Pretty please!!!!"  The begging became more earnest, the reality even moreso.  Our gate across the driveway was frozen solid into a drift of ice.  Even had we wanted to attempt car skating, we were trapped in the driveway.  "but Mom, I can walk."  Hmmmm, 3 miles in 28 degrees along solid frozen roads???  Tempting, but No.  Followed by saying no in every way imaginable for an hour.  At that point she got a huge smile on her face -- her friend was walking HERE!!!!!  to our house!!!!!

Catherine, Madelyn, and Adam played their sweet Christmas songs on the piano over and over and over getting ready for the recital.  Julianne had never been more glad that she left her flute at school so that she didn't have to practice.  

Our Friday night was quiet and filled with more movies (A Christmas Carol) and lots of laundry.  

Saturday morning it was 18 degrees.  The frozen tundra was unchanged from the day before.  The piano recital got cancelled.  The basketball game was cancelled.  The Ernst & Young Holiday party was cancelled. The Dallas Half Marathon was cancelled.  All the swim practices? cancelled.  All the birthday parties?  cancelled.  We worked on the puzzle some more.  We heard the same piano songs some more.  We were now watching Christmas movies on every TV in the house.  The cabin fever had arrived and we were all afflicted.  

The piano songs didn't sound quite so welcome anymore.  Teenager'itis set in once Julianne's friend left to walk 3 miles in 18 degrees to another friend's house.  I was awarded "MEANEST MOM OF THE YEAR!" for not letting Julianne walk as well.  

We watched Christmas Vacation with ALL the kids.  I described it to Catherine as "Trashy, but entertaining."  It hit the spot.  For all the crude comedy, it at least lowered our cabin fever for a few hours.  

Sunday morning it was 32 degrees.  Church was cancelled.  We were still stuck.  But it was warming.  We could here the dripping sounds of melting water.  And then Madelyn pointed out that we could here those dripping sounds so well because it was dripping IN the house.  Our gutters had formed an ice dam in one section and caused water to pool on the roof because the melting water had nowhere to drain.  (We had this happen once in CT so we knew what to do).  Everyone was enlisted-- boiling water and a bucket brigade to Trent who was precariously perched on a ladder, that was set on ice.  Two hours and lots of water and hammering later our gutters were ice free.  

Trent was on the phone nearly all morning and afternoon trying to see if there was a flight to get him to NYC for a meeting on Monday morning.  His original flight had been cancelled.  

Our friends (who were not trapped behind their gate) came over for lunch.   It was so nice to see PEOPLE!!!!  

We all longed for the freedom to get out of the house.  So once our friends left, we all started to work on the gate and the icy sloped driveway.  We got it CLEARED!!!!  and just in time because Trent got a flight that left at 5:10 p.m.  

I drove Trent to the airport.  The roads were awful.  The freeway overpasses were dicey.  But we made it and he made his flight.  

When I walked in the door, the kids were alive with excitement.  We can GO somewhere.  ANYWHERE!!!!!  I drove Julianne to a friend's and we went over to another friend's home to enjoy the company.

School was cancelled again for Monday.  

I ventured out the next morning to the grocery store so that I could do my regular Monday routine of cooking for the week.  There is a reason we don't do a week's worth of cooking with the kids around.  We went and saw FROZEN.  It was the perfect movie for our situation.  We had dinner with friends.  We worked on the puzzle.  (Why do they even make 1000 piece puzzles?)  I picked up Trent at the airport around 11 pm.  He made it back from NYC.  

School was cancelled again for Tuesday.  

Seriously?  It's a blur.  Driving kids around.  Entertaining kids.  Making breakfast, Making lunch.  All the while with Trent working from home on conference calls that we need to be quiet for.  I just tried to leave for the day -- with as many kids as possible.  Driving all around made it clear.  School would be back.  The question remaining is could we readjust?  

There was school on Wednesday.  It was a pretty tough morning routine.  No one but Owen wanted to wake up.  Somehow, though everyone made it on their bus (with LOW quality lunches).  Owen and I headed to the gym.  Trent just couldn't resist -- he finished off the last 70 pieces of the puzzle and then headed into work.

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