Me and My Boy: Nine Rounds with the Driveway

Driveway1So I haven’t had the pleasure of firing up the snow blower in several years.  I mostly make sure I am feverishly working on some other indoor project when it’s time to shovel. Or I have a baby and nurse that baby right through winter so I always have a reason to stay comfortably sedentary on the couch. (Currently that baby is done nursing but she is a 19-month-old holy terror that needs to be watched AT ALL TIMES. And I am happy to be the one to do it during shoveling time.)

But yes, another smack of this never-ending blast of winter hit the Midwest and left Ice diverted on a plane from Nashville to Dubuque.  Dubuque is not O’Hare. O’Hare is where his car was parked.  He was supposed to get home the same day. Not 4 or 5 in the morning the next day by driving himself and several others heading in the same direction in a rental car.

When the situation was discovered it was a momentary realization…”Oh, crap.  Me and my boy have to tackle this ourselves.”

Being the domestic Goddess I am, I had been busy all afternoon.  I knew it was snowing like crazy but had no real knowledge of how much had hit the ground til the garage door went up.  God bless Techno for heading out there first despite five minutes of pre-teen grumbling, over-exaggerated sighs and protests. Meanwhile I searched for my warmest socks and my serious snow-shoveling boots.

Techno got one shovel in the snow. One. This wasn’t happening.

I tried to reach Ice for directions on how to fire up the beast of a snow blower we have. It’s got some serious horsepower and kind of scares me a little. He didn’t answer.

We had to figure this out ourselves. Remembering that I had been in charge of this detestable job one other time when he was out-of-town and written down the highlights I searched the junk drawer for this nugget of gold.  BINGO!  I hit pay dirt.

Techno and I stood in the garage reading, double-checking and doing.  We got that baby humming like a Maserati and then clicked the choke one too many times to the left and it died. So close.

We tried again and this time got it working. We were excited.  And Techno had just come off his Dad’s Snow Blower Training Academy recently so he knew how to operate it.

The city’s street plow was just barreling through when we finally made it out.  So I had a fresh mound of ice chunks and snow that stood at least three to four feet tall at the edge of the driveway to play with. Good times.

Techno carefully navigated the driveway and threw that snow. I huffed and puffed at my chosen station like I was Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies. Turns out there is catharsis in showing that driveway whose boss. I haven’t seen the pavement on the driveway for weeks.  And once I saw a glimpse of that wet brown concrete it was like a sign that there IS life after winter and I was in a HUGE hurry to get there.

The feeling of accomplishment while working with Techno and tackling this task we both were feeling ill-equipped to handle was pure joy.  I was so proud of him for not only following but remembering his Dad’s instructions and being such an enormous help. An hour later we were victorious.

Bring it on.  No really, just stop.

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Six Ways a Stay-At-Home-Mom Stays Sane During the Polar Vortex

Okay, who even knew that the word “Polar Vortex” existed three months ago? Google this: there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the “2014 North American Cold Wave.” Makes me want to crawl into a vat of hot chocolate and  warm up.

Source: Businessweek.com

Source: Businessweek.com

I remember when snow days actually meant a day off from school because there was just A LOT OF SNOW. Not temps that would freeze my eyebrows on contact.  Kids could head outside and get some of the zoobers out.  (Technical term, I know).  You know sled, make snow forts,  hit each other in the eye with snowballs.

After looking back on the five-day break my kids just had off from school here in the Midwest there were a few key things that helped me get through the frigidly cold and claustrophobic days.

1. Exercising – In a moment of sheer madness I accepted an invitation online for the “Plank Challenge.”  A way to torture my midsection that seemed like an interesting idea on January 2nd. But it proved to be a great idea to build up a little sweat and some endurance during this time. Each day brought an increase in the time to hold the plank, eventually working up to five minutes.  Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll get there.  But it was fun to involve Techno and Twinkle and watch them do the same. It also inspired me to add a few other fun exercises we can do together as well.  Jumping jacks and squats were never so much fun.

Source: Health.com

Source: Health.com

2. Reading – Travel magazines…and LOTS of them! If I couldn’t be in Turks and Caicos I sure enjoyed looking at the photos and enjoyed someone else’s good fortune to be there!

3. Sleepovers with some of the kids’ friends – It was great to break that brother/sister sibling tension with a little buffer.  Having some other kids around broke up the monotony for them and me.

4.Car trips to break up the day– Gotta make a trip to the bank?  Whoo hoo!  What else can we do? Drive through for coffee? Stop at Target and scan aisles for things we don’t neCoffeeed like sparkly paperclips and Hello Kitty lip gloss? Perfect. And I think I can stop for gas and hit the Redbox to pickup a DVD for the evening.

5. Daily Boggle matches – Matching wits with my kids is humbling.  Two rounds with my nine-year old and she had found two six letter words and beat me!

6. Counting our blessings that we don’t live in Atlanta, Georgia – It was surreal watching news of 18-hour highway backups and traffic jams, a baby being born in the car amid the snowstorm and children sleeping overnight on school buses and in their schools. In the Midwest we are more than equipped to handle winter!

The kids dreaded going back to school this week after being so out of the daily routine.  And truth be told their Mom missed them a little bit.

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