What to do when You’re an Adult with a Snow Day

Nemo found us.
Nemo found us.

We didn’t know we were looking for him, but Nemo found us and brought with him some friends: snow, sleet, winds, ice, closed offices, and a long weekend.

Booya!

When you’re a kid, snow means endless possibilities all of which allow you to throw off responsibilities, built forts and live in a world of storybook make believe. When you’re an adult, the opportunity to stay out of the office, off the roads, and forgo errands opens the doors to all sorts of “grown-up” activities. Here are a few thoughts about how to spend your snowed-in Nemo weekend.

Turn your living room into a yoga studio

Or a personal gym. For the last year, I’ve been receiving daily (or is it weekly?) emails from Women’s Health and Shape magazine with smart, fast, efficient at home workouts. They’ve been accumulating digital dust in my inbox as have the various resistant bands and kettle bells I’ve collected over the years (in my defense — I do have a gym membership that gets exercised 5 times a week). But the blizzard was a good excuse to see if that 8 minute workout really does the trick… summer abs, here I come, courtesy of Nemo.

Learn how to work your curling iron

I’m infamously terrible at using styling appliances. Even an eyeliner pencil has been turned into a near weapon in my presence. I thought the mastering of a diffuser to dry my curls was monumental. And then for Christmas, a thoughtful friend gave me a curling iron to “help me tame my tresses on opening nights!” I think I thought this was a good idea…. until the 3rd degree burn on my ear and the malfunction that somehow turned the curling iron into a flattening iron. How does that work?

By the time Nemo rolls through, I’ll be a styling pro.

Get crafty. Make your own Valentines!
Get crafty. Make your own Valentines!

Make homemade Valentines

It’s only a few days away, and hallmark isn’t what it used to be, let’s face it. Why not get crafty? Or, there’s always macaroni picture frame if greeting cards ain’t your thang.

Cook a big pot of soup

Or throw together a hearty cassoulet. If home-cooked meals are something you haven’t had a chance to do for a while, there’s no better excuse to make a big pot of some comfort food.

and now for my favorite…. last but not least….

Revert to being an 8 year old

Carelessly, frolic in the snow. Go sledding, build a snowman, make snow angels. Get as close to getting frostbite on your nose and fingertips as you can, and then come inside, shake off the snow, mull some wine or spike your cocoa before curling up in front of the fire, with your blankie.

When all else fails, reconnect with your inner child and go sledding
When all else fails, reconnect with your inner child and go sledding
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And Here We were Worried About Tsunamis on our Vacation

We were heading into tsunami zone. Little did we realize there was more to worry about at home

“You realize you’re heading straight into the heart of tsunami country,” my mother warned when we finalized our bookings for a family vacation to Tofino, British Columbia.

Tofino is a small town perched on Clayquot Sound, on the far west coast of Vancouver Island. In March 2011, when we were starting to consider the area as the celebration site of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, there was a tsunami warning. People were evacuated. My mother thought twice.

“There’s only one road out of the town — the road along the coast. Oh! And there could be an earthquake!”

Nevertheless, we decided that the first growth rainforests and the pounding pacific, ideal for sea-kayaking and surfing, were worth the risk of a tsunami. But my mother packed her flippers, just in case.

The night before we left, I wrote a note to a friend: “Providing my kayak doesn’t get flipped by a whale, I don’t end up in a back brace after my intensive yoga retreat, or my surfboard doesn’t get swept out to sea, I should be back by Aug. 27. We’ll catch up then!”

I was more worried about my surf board being swept out into the Pacific than a hurricane back home

In all the things we tried to prepare for, it never occurred to us that we’d have to leave the earthquake and hurricane survival kits at home for our house sitters. Even though we’ve had numerous flights cancelled due to inclement weather, it never occurred to us we’d be stranded on the far, far west coast because of a storm named Irene.

It’s true that there is only one road that cuts through the heart of Vancouver Island, taking people from the more populated cities on the east coast to the rugged, untamed, ancient west coast. If you want to get from Nanimo and Tofino, you have to traverse 125 miles of narrow, winding asphalt with a maximum speed limit of about 40 mph.

To get to that road, you have to take a 2 hour ferry from Vancouver.

To get to Vancouver from New York, you have to fly 3,000 miles.

This storm looked pretty serious, and we're stuck 3,000 miles from home

Basically, to once again quote my mother, if we’re in Tofino and something happens back at the ranch, “we can do fuck all.” But what were the odds that something would happen back home and we’d have to hurry back? Small, surely. And then Brian called to tell us about the hurricane baring down on New York.

For the first time in 10 days, we flicked on the television and logged on the internet. Panic quickly followed. Our flight was cancelled. There’s no way home until Tuesday. What will happen to the old willows by the stream, with their short roots and their overgrown limbs? What about the dogs? Will Brian and Cliff be able to find the leashes?

While the boys are readying the yard, removing anything that could become a projectile, and battening down the hatches, I’m sitting on a bench in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, catching my breath after a 12k run and taking in the sunshine. The sail boats pass by and the there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

From my bench in Stanley Park, it's a glorious day in Vancouver.

Does Bubble Wrap Have a Right Side Up?

The calendar tells me it’s closer to Valentine’s Day than it is to Christmas, and yet until yesterday the stockings were still hung by the chimney with care. There’s no room for Cupid’s arrows and heart-shaped chocolates when your home is still overrun with elves and 8 tiny reindeer.

Traditionally, the family commences de-decorating on the first day of the New Year. It takes all the 12 Days of Christmas and then some to get each turtle dove and leaping lord out of its box, but usually we’ve closed the book on Christmas by January 2nd.

Not this year.

De-Christmasing requires heavy artillery, dogged determination, and a stiff drink.

It’s hard to let go of the holiday spirit when you’re buried under a snow drift. Plus, the 9 dancing ladies find the basement very dreary. My feet were dragging, but eager to begin the march towards robins, daffodils, and bunnies, I finally armed myself for de-Christmasing.

I stood in front of the table and assessed my supplies. It was all there:

A roll of bubble wrap, 4 feet in diameter

3 rolls of scotch tape

2 lbs of tissue paper (acquired for free from an unattended cash register in the menswear department at Bloomingdales)

Empty plastic boxes and large, brown department store bags

2 Sharpies– one red, one black

Bottle of gin

A straw

In the past, stowing away Christmas has been left to my father — which explains why more than one of the reindeer are missing feet. It’s also why I never realized how much more work it is to put away the holiday cheer than it is to spread it. A whole day spent wrapping wreaths in tissue paper and  porcelain evergreens in bubble wrap. A whole day sorting gift wrap into drawers and bells into boxes. A whole day nagged by the question: does bubble wrap have a right side up? I guess I’ll find out in 11 months when I unwrap Mickey Santa.

The glow of LED lightbulbs in the snow -- it's a carnival in ice crystals

One thing I refused to take down and store away are the outdoor lights. The city is swamped in slush. The sidewalks smothered in Mt. Everest-sized snow piles. Winter is growing dreary. Yet, the red, green, and blue lights bring a bit of joy. There’s something about looking out the window at the glow of LED lightblubs playing on the snow that cuts through the gray gloom — it’s a little carnival in ice crystals. The winter promises to be long. Will I be willing to put away the Christmas lights before July?  Here’s hoping.

A Soundtrack for Yet Another Snow Day

A month and a week into winter and we’ve been bludgeoned by 7 snowstorms. Record accumulations. Headline clean-up catastrophes. Headline clean-up triumphs. Temperatures at historic lows. A persistent winter wonderland.

Enough with all this ice. Winter, I'm over you.

There’s another storm raging outside my living room window. The snow sits so heavily on bare branches that the wailing winds can’t budge them. Yes, if there was ever a January to ignore the world and cozy up in front of the fire with someone cuddly, January 2011 has been the January for it. But the novelty of mornings spent shoveling followed by afternoons spent snowshoeing, has worn off.  After 7 snow storms, I’ve had enough of winter. I’m over cozy. Give me sunny.

I’ve been looking at pictures of my last trips to Cozumel and Cuba, longing for a beach. To get me through another icy day locked at home, I’ve assembled a  summery, sing-alongable playlist that will hopefully get me through another snow day:

  1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals — There’s a blizzard. It’s below freezing. Get me outta here. nuff said.
  2. Mercy by Duffy — These snowflakes have me begging the weather gods for mercy.
  3. Temperature by Sean Paul — please, give me some place (or someone) with the right mercury reading to shelter me from the storm.
  4. July, July by The Decemberists– It’s mostly because of the title, but the fact it’s a great sing-along song doesn’t hurt either.
  5. Louie, Louie by Chuck Berry — There’s something about Chuck Berry that always makes me think convertibles, flip-flops, and summer nights.
  6. Brazil by Pink Martini — Smooth and jazzy, a song about June moons and exotic love. Yes, please.
  7. Everything about Sheryl Crow makes me think of sunshine

    All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow — …is have some fun. Hypothermia is not fun.

  8. Pacific Coast Party by Smashmouth — Smashmouth always provides the quintessential summer soundtrack. This is a song about California, California sun, and California parties. It’s 40 degrees warmer in California.
  9. Someone to Call my Lover by Janet Jackson — Carefree Janet
  10. Alejandro by Lady Gaga — What’s a playlist without a little Gaga? And when vacations are on the brain, there’s nothing like daydreams about a Spanish lover to take you far, far, away. A winter wonderland doesn’t stand a chance.

Unforeseen Hazards of Snowdays: Uncovering the Ghosts of Relationships Past

The wintry weather forecast made me feel like a kid again -- snow day? yes, please!

The wintry weather forecast for Tuesday night made me feel like a giddy school girl again. Snow day!? Yes, please! I awoke Wednesday morning knowing that the roads still needed clearing and sovwas slow to advance into the day. Sure, there were things to be done (like laundry and job applications), but why do something productive when the entire tri-state area had braced itself for snowpocalypse and was thus resigned to being unproductive?

Ignoring the stack of cover letters in progress, I began the cathartic snow day activity of clearing out my gmail inbox. Where did those 2,241 messages come from anyways?

As I worked my way backwards, it was somewhere around email 1,950 that I was punched in the heart. Sitting there between backups of old grad school papers  was a lost exchange with “The One I Let Get Away.” The emails were 2 years old and I wasn’t sure if I should delete them on sight or open and read. They had survived several previous inbox purges — there must have been something in the 9 messages worth holding on to.

“Hey there kiddo! Long time no see (could it be that I’m possibly starting to miss you?)” I wrote in the opening email that invited him to join me in my grad school graduation celebrations.

“HEY!!! Well, I know that I definitely miss you!”

I may be a sucker for Snoopy, but I'm no longer a sucker for an "I miss you."

Now I remembered why I saved the emails. “I definitely miss you” was a profound display of sentiment from a guy who was the polar opposite of sentimental.

The first time he told me he missed me was the first time I realized I was in love with him. He had called one summer night because he needed to talk through a rough patch. An hour passed and after we said our good-byes, he threw it in:

“I really miss you, you know.”

“I love you, you know.” But it was too late — we were already disconnected, and I realize now, disconnected in more ways than one.

A few months ago, after years of bouncing around in no man’s land, I finally came to terms with the fact that “I miss you” and “I love you” are not the same thing, even for the most philophobic of men. An awkward Friday night punctuated weeks of silence and sent me home ready to cut the few threads still holding together our threadbare relationship. It took 5 years for the story of us to run its course, but it took less than an hour to delete most traces of him from my every day life. In clicks and swipes I erased old text messages, buried photos of the two of us in the back of already dusty photo albums, removed his number from my phone, and sent old emails to the trash box.

But just as once shared songs have a habit of popping up on the radio or itunes, other specters of relationships-past can loom behind any corner. Some fade as quickly as they appear, others linger, showing their ghostly face every so often in the back of our memory. Luckily, these emails were an easy kill.

Conversation deleted… but not before I hit “print” and tucked the pages away in the back of a notebook. One day, “They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband” might be a book. When that day comes, you can bet The One I Let Get Away will get his own chapter and I’m going to want all the fodder I can get my hands on.

3 Guys and 3 Dates vs. the Blizzard and “Say Yes to the Dress”

The best-laid, over-ambitious plans of mice and single women often go awry.

3 guys. 3 dates scheduled, snowed-out and rescheduled…all for one Friday. Could it be done? The men and the proposed timetable seemed agreeable: one date would be with a doctor for a professional NY sports team who had an afternoon off. The second would be early evening drinks with a guy I had had crush on when I 17 . The last would be dinner with a guy I had uncharacteristically made-out with at a bar. I had the dress, the shoes, and the stamina. They had the charm and the credit cards. What none of us had going for us was the weather.

It was a romantic winter wonderland... but a winter wonderland condusive for 3 dates in one night?

I woke up Friday Power-Date Day to a raging blizzard. Hand-sized snowflakes blurred the trees 10 feet from my window and coated the streets. Date 1: snow-checked, again. Dates 2 and 3: pending.

By early evening, the snow had relented and the streets were being cleared. It would not have been impossible to forsake the new designer pumps in the name of sturdy boots. It would not have been impossible to head out into the night for lightweight flirtations buoyed by liquid fortification. I called Bachelors 2 and 3 — the winter-weather advisory was still in effect until morning. Should we meet wearing our snowshoes or cross-country skis?

3 guys. 3 dates scheduled, snowed-out, rescheduled, snowed-out, and rescheduled.

My dates now canceled, I was content to be snuggled in alone. With my phone turned off and my sweat pants on, I turned my TV on and tuned in to TLC. Sometimes, hot cocoa tastes better when enjoyed along side other guilty pleasures… like wedding-themed reality TV.

Outside, one snow storm settled while another loomed in the coming week.

Somewhere in the city a couple was grateful for sloppy street cleanups giving them an excuse to be snowed-in for a weekend together.

Inside my living-room, a “Say Yes to the Dress” marathon raged and I was a willing, if not unexpected captive.

What to do when your date gets snowed out? Watch a "Say Yes to the Dress" marathon, of course!