Friday, November 26, 2010

The White and Drifted Snow

I probably shouldn't have chosen "Over the River and Through the Woods" as our folksong to learn this month. Repeatedly singing about the joys of an old New England Thanksgiving seems to have brought the appropriate weather out to the Northwest, where the proper Thanksgiving weather ought to be gray drizzle.

The adventure really started on Sunday after church, when we noticed a few flakes of snow. How charming, we thought. It will soon turn to rain, we thought. Or clear up and get cold. And so Wondergirl and Bookworm and I continued with our plans to take the ducklings to the zoo on Monday, since we had yet to make a second use of the zoo passes Wondergirl got for us back in July, what with car problems and busy grownups and all.

On Monday it looked a bit less promising. There was actual snow on the ground. But surely, it wouldn't stick to the roads, would it? Not the real roads that more than three cars use? Besides, Wondergirl used to live in the Northwoods and knew how to drive in snow. So even though it defied all expectations and kept on snowing, we ventured forth, confident that the roads would improve as we got further into civilization.

The snow kept coming, and the roads did not improve, but we were well bundled up and had lots of food in the car in case of emergencies and made it all the way to the zoo, at which point it seemed silly to give up and go back. So we went in. We were half an hour past opening, and the first people to arrive. We decided to stick with the aquarium, which had the advantage of being interesting AND indoors. It was really quite lovely to be able to browse at leisure without having to constantly worry about losing children in the crowd. According to their preferences, D3 stood and watched the same window for nearly the whole time, while the others ran around three times over. There was only one other family there the entire time.

Which was not a very long time, because a zookeeper came out and informed us they were closing the zoo. But we could take our time and head back out when we were ready. Since I was trying to get home for an online class at one, this gave us about as much time as we had planned on. We emerged from the aquarium to find the snow had progressed from powdered sugar sprinkle to cream cheese icing thick.

The good news about the return trip was that there was no danger of injury, because everyone was traveling so slowly. The bad news was, I was in serious danger of missing my class at one. However, we all remained in good holiday spirits and sang all the verses of all the Thanksgiving songs we know, which is quite a few. And I parceled out lunch in slow sequence so that the children would have something to munch on or at least look forward to for the entire long trip home.

We did arrive in one piece and I raced inside to start my class only to discover it really started at three. Which was a pity, because the snow got thicker and thicker and the wind got higher and higher, and it became evident that a class started at three was probably not going to get finished. But I tried anyway.

DOB was at the office and thought, when things started closing down and they started sending everyone home, that he'd just wait for everyone to get off the road and then proceed home himself. He decided against it, though, and therefore arrived all the way home a short while before the power winked out for good. The next morning he thought he would venture forth and discovered a very large tree across the road, pulling down the power lines. He tried to go up the hill on the other side, but gave up when he went more back than forward. It was just as well, as just over the next crest was another tree down.

So we were marooned. Fortunately Their Majesties are well stocked with wood stoves and flashlights and even a generator (except they'd forgotten to get gas) and it really was only a modest inconvenience. Once the wind had died down we went out and inspected the damage to all our favorite climbing trees and climbed on them horizontally instead.

We figured it was a bad sign when Her Majesty called the power company and in the message about the outage it said, cheerfully, "Did you know that if you are without power for more than 120 hours, you qualify for a $50 rebate?"

By Tuesday afternoon the roads were reasonably clear, but there was no sign of light. We had finally persuaded D4 that the power being out was not the end of the world, and that a man would come in a big truck to fix it, a thought which gave him much consolation although he continues to be afraid of the dark.

On Wednesday Her Majesty and I had the bright idea of doing a Christmas present craft project for the kids, which it was great to have done, and I was reminded that the reason I am not the sort of mom who does elaborate, creative crafts to build warm memories with my children is that the warmth in those memories would derive from the increasing vehemence of my feelings and the creativity would be primarily manifest in the language used to describe this paper backing of lamentable heritage and dubious prospects that won't just come off the recalcitrant fabric already. I think we'll stick to memorizing a lot of holiday songs.

Anyway, the power came back on Thursday afternoon, and since all the baking parts of Thanksgiving were taken care of by people whose power was already on, everything went fine. Except that D1 came down sick and we had to leave early. But still, we had much to be thankful for.


awedmanor said...

I am amazed - you guys don't do anything small. You dive in and experience the fullness of it all.

And, somehow, come through it with a great story on the other side. Glad it happened again.

The aquarium trip sounds wonderful - taking as much time as you want to see the fishies or run around indoors. The travel back from there, and the subsequent enforced internment, don't sound so good.

Stay safe, and warm.


EB said...

$50 for 120 hours?!?!! Would that even pay for the gas for the generator? Heck, at that point I'd want the electric company to buy me a generator...

Glad to know you survived, spirits intact. :)