The Great Groundhog Winter Storm of 2011

If you’re one of the  millions of the Americans in the Midwest this morning, you’re probably grateful to have an Internet connection and the electricity to be reading this post. A whopper of a storm, one which has been predicted since the weekend, has not disappointed. Ice and snow have moved across the country, covering everything in it’s path. This storm has crippled Chicago, which is not an easy thing to do.

I haven’t been out of the house since just before the freezing rain started  here in central Indiana Monday evening. Mr. Sally J had a hard time getting home from graduate classes  Monday night, but he’s de-iced his car each morning enough to make it into his office (it’s two miles away).  The kids are so tired of the weather they haven’t even asked to go out and play, which is good, because unless we bought them ice skates, there would be nothing to do outside. Our home for all intents and purposes, is an island in an Arctic Ocean of wind and ice.

I remember as a child, always being excited when I’d wake up and go downstairs for breakfast, to find my parents listening to the local radio station. I grew up watching media broadcast from Chicago, but Chicago media outlets certainly didn’t announce every small Indiana town’s school closing. The local radio station was in charge of getting that word out, and since it didn’t have much else in way of content or reason to listen, without looking out the window I knew it had snowed while I had been sleeping. I knew the agenda of the day would be: Play in the Snow, Drink Hot Chocolate, Play in the Basement, Repeat.

I’m sure the days weren’t quite so carefree for my parents. I have memories of my dad, with his head under the kitchen sink, using a blow dryer to keep pipes from freezing. We lived about 8 miles from the nearest full-service grocery store, so I’m sure the week we were snowed in involved some rationing on my mom’s part. I’m sure there was the frantic search for working flashlights, the mental tally of how many blankets were around, and the wondering how much more the heating bill would be with the sub-zero temperatures. I do remember one storm where it was so cold and so windy that we didn’t sleep in our drafty bedrooms, we slept in the hallway for  a few nights. My brother and I thought it was fun. I imagine my parents had a different impression of the event.

Mr. Sally J (he was the future-Mr. Sally J at the time) and I were in the Chicago blizzard of ’99 together. We stayed at my apartment, drinking beer and playing Uno for two days. We went out for walks in the snow, watched movies and generally waited the whole thing out. When it was over, I drove him down to the impound lot where he paid to get his car out. He had parked on the street in a  snow zone, and they had towed it away as the storm arrived.

Now I’m the one gathering the flashlights and the blankets, and I’m the one telling people to put one more layer on before we turn up the heat. Thankfully, we’re in a big enough metro area that our closings are listed on the local television station, although we also get emails and text messages. I know my children will never gather ’round the radio in anticipation to hear if their school is closed for the day, and I’m okay with that. Rolling over and checking my iPhone really suits me better anyway.

This storm has been the perfect excuse to stay inside, bake cookies, help the kids build blanket forts, watch movies and generally enjoy the day. We’ve had to cancel a few random appointments, and each time I’ve called, the receptionist on the other end has said, “I figured with the kids you’d want to reschedule.” Why, yes, yes, I would, thank you very much. I’m not deicing the van, dressing two kids, and sliding down my driveway to get my teeth cleaned today. Thanks for understanding.

So, are you in this mess? What are your favorite snow day activities? Have been through a storm that is now in the record books?

3 replies on “The Great Groundhog Winter Storm of 2011”

I’ve really lucked out – it poured and was really windy all night, but this morning it’s only barely flurrying and there’s no ice on the ground anymore, which is a welcome change from yesterday (I think I slid all the way to campus). A lot of people in my county and the surrounding counties are without power, but we’ve escaped pretty much all of that, which I’m happy about.

If I had a snow day, though, I’d spend a while in bed watching something on Netflix (or the most recent episode of Teen Mom 2) and probably stay in my bathrobe all day reading and drinking mugs of hot, delicious drinks. :)

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