Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Beauty of the First Snowfall

There was snow when the kids got up Sunday morning. The kind of snow Mike and I like -- which is, barely any snow. But snow's snow, and Ryan and Cara were determined to play in it. So, starting at about 7:30 a.m., Ryan turned into Broken Record Ryan: "I wanna go in the snow (skip) I wanna go in the snow (skip) I wanna go in the snow..."

After an hour of this, and a couple cups of coffee, I told them I would embark on the one-hour search for the boots, gloves, coats, etc. Why did I not have it all at the ready? Leave me alone.

A week prior, we were in Florida. So I spent the week getting us back to our normal routine (if you can call living in hellish chaos a routine). Enter the one-inch of snow to throw the whole routine off.

We had been using our fall coats up until Sunday. With the snow I was now required to go in the basement to get Cara's winter coat, the attic for Ryan's coat (it was a hand-me-down, so it was still in the hand-me-down bin, OKAY?!?), the basement for the gloves and scarves, back to the attic to search for Cara's boots, which I had forgotten I gave away during the summer because she outgrew them, back down to the basement to see if she'd fit in my boots (which she didn't because her 10-year-old feet are bigger than mine), back up to Ryan's room to look for a pair of boots for him, and then back to the basement to keep looking for his boots, which were in a drawer with scarves--that's how little HIS boots are.

Mike was on the sofa with the Sunday chat shows on TV and the laptop on his lap. He was not engaged in this mayhem, nor was he being asked to assist. Yet, this is what we got:

Mike: "WHAT are you doing??"

Me: "They want to go in the snow."

Mike: "Are you crazy? What snow? There's one inch of snow. And they'll be in it for one minute before they want to come back inside."

Me: "They're CHILDREN, and children like to play in snow. It's not like they're asking YOU to go out with them, so REE-LAX!"

Mike: "This is stupid."

After I thanked him for weighing in, I got Cara and Ryan out of the house. Cara wore her fashion Skechers boots from last year. They have a heel about two inches high, which is great for snow play. Ryan, meanwhile, resembled the little brother from "A Christmas Story." I was surprised he could move at all, I had him so covered up. But he suffers from miserable eczema with the cold and, trust me, I suffer with it too when he wakes me up at 3 a.m. whisper-whining, "I'm itchy. I'm itcheee."

I got them out, started to clean up the breakfast dishes, and Ryan started pounding on the door. I opened the door, letting a gust of cold air into the house. "We need the buttons for our snowman's eyes and a carrot for the nose!"

He had dug out some buttons from my "sewing box," which is really just storage for all those extra buttons that come attached to new clothes. But now said buttons were nowhere in sight. I checked the main floor, the basement, the kitchen. I opened the window and was like, "Ryan, what did you do with the buttons?" He says nonchalantly, "Oh, they're up in my room. I left them there when I got dressed." Thanks, son.

I get the buttons, and a Grimway baby carrot, which I knew would work just fine because they lose interest in projects like snowman making pretty fast--this wasn't going to be any Frosty replica. I opened the door, letting in another gust of cold air, and told him to go play for a while. Two minutes later, Ryan's pounding on the door again. I opened the door, the gust barged its way in. "Cara isn't doing the buttons right!"

Oh, God. I did the mental countdown before I heard Mike again.

Mike: "What did I tell you? A waste. They're never happy!"

At that, Cara came marching up to the door, trying to explain her reason for arguing with Ry. Then Mike yelled out, still from the sofa in the basement, "You'll both be in your rooms cleaning for the afternoon! Get along!"

The prospect of cleaning their rooms all afternoon scared them straight. I got back to cleaning the kitchen.

Two minutes later, more pounding on the door.

Mike: "WHAT is going ON!?"

I opened the door. At this point, it was making no difference in the interior temperature of the house.

Ryan: "Can we have hot cocoa?"

Me: "Ry, I wouldn't come to this door again for a while if I were you...."

Mike: "That's IT! In the house! To your rooms!"

Ryan: "Aaaaah!"

He ran to the backyard. Not to be heard from again -- for a good 12 minutes.

Sleigh bells ring, are ya lis-nin'?

--Catherine Schetting Salfino