Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Rodeo

It's January.  In Ohio.  Although its been a "mild winter" as they say, the days are still short, gray, cold and did I mention gray?

Today, the Miami Valley region got "hit" with a mild winter storm.  Mother Nature dropped about 1"-2" right before the morning commute.  That is about an average "winter storm" for around here, although it is not unusual at least once a winter to have a bigger storm with 4-8 inches.  This morning there were big white puffy flakes and to my kids' disappointment, Dayton Public Schools were one of the few districts that didn't close for a snow day.  I drove them to school and I will admit, I had to dial back my speed.  The roads had not been plowed or salted, but with the small amount of snow on the ground, we were able make it with no problem.

Here is what astounds me... after 12 winters in Dayton, it seems as though the news channels, weather people and general public FREAK OUT when we get more than a dusting. Every single time.  I can understand people's fears if they are new to the North.  Perhaps someone has just arrived from Texas, Arizona, Iraq, Africa (in case you think I am mocking, I am not.  We have many families who have arrived just days ago from another country in which they have never seen a light switch, let alone a winter coat or gloves.. to them I give much grace and patience.)

It's the other knuckle headed born and bread Ohioans that I just can't figure out.  Its the speedsters on I-75 who don't take it down a notch and cause a 7 car pile up.  Its the people who take that stop sign at the intersection like its a June day.  Its my ridiculous 8 year old son who goes ice skating when it's -7 degree windchill and wont wear a scarf.  (Hmmm..  perhaps that one is due to bad parenting.  I'm open to that.)  It's the school districts who can't figure out a rhyme or reason to have school or not have school.  On the days it seems they should cancel, they don't, and when it seems perfectly fine to send a child, bundled up into the elements, we close.  Either way, we Daytonians complain- like it's our JOB!

Granted, I take my kids to school.  They don't have to get on a bus in the hands of someone else, they don't have to wait out at a bus stop and wait for a bus that is 45 minutes late or worse yet, never comes.  We have the luxury of living a 5 minute drive from the school.  I am truly sad for the kids and the parents who do not have such a luxury.  My job is flexible, so a snow day is a slight inconvenience for me; while parents of my kids' classmates have to worry about their child's well being.  For these dear ones, I channel my inner winter-hating self and send them deep love and solidarity.  For the others, I say, put on your grown up pants, leave a few minutes early, and don't act so surprised when January hits and we have to choke 'er down a bit on the roads.  Let's all get there safe and sound, m'kay?

I don't know if weather is such a topic where you live.  But seriously, Dayton LOVES her some weather.  I suppose it's like that everywhere.

All I know is, today's snowy non-snow day gave me a chance to do a job that I dread.  I went through the toy box(es).  Ugh.  The boys seem to quickly and systematically acquire and accumulate stuff; more so than Olivia.  I'm not sure why that is.  Perhaps because they share a room, perhaps because they are younger, perhaps because one of my two boys is a borderline hoarder... who knows.  But with all of the Christmas/birthday loot we needed to make room for the new stash.  I strategically have to do it while they are at school and when I have a good block of time to do a thorough job.  Today's blessed weather event gave me that chance.

(I am the opposite of a home body.  I look for every excuse to be out and about, which rarely affords me that nice long chunk of time to get it done.  With the bad roads, I chose to stay put.  Lemons into lemonade...ha.)

I must have bagged up 100 hot wheel cars to donate to our Y's childcare.  I threw out every broken toy, stupid Happy Meal junk piece, random gum wrappers, rubber bands and Lego bits.  I filled an entire tall kitchen bag with that crap alone.  I reorganized by toy category.  A useless endeavor, but it made me feel good even if it only lasts until 7 pm.  A bin for only Pokemon cards... heck yeah!

For a family who moved only 6 months ago and did not move any useless junk with them, we have a lot of useless junk.  Ugh.  It appears as though I didn't waste my time going through the toy boxes before wrapping them in bubble tape back in July.  I just moved all those rubber bands right along with us.  It made for an accomplished feeling on this winter day.

So now that I am clearly proud of myself and feeling a bit self righteous about appropriately viewing winter here in my fair city, I will venture out to collect my children from school.  I will fix them hot chocolate, dodge their outrage over where all of their valuables have gone and put up a strong defense on why I can't take them sledding in only an inch of snow.  And so it goes, another winter in the mid-west.  Mother nature, you will not pull any punches on me!  I am ready for you... this is not my first winter rodeo!  And if I believed in jinks' (which I don't) I've probably just put myself at the front of the list for a fender bender by the end of this one.

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