The forecasters at the weather service have shaken their magic 8 ball and predicted snow. Not much, only a dusting, but a child can still dream.
In the last two weeks, Northern Virginia has been beset by snow, freezing rain and sub 40 degree temperatures, or as we used to call it in Michigan, January. A snow day isn’t the enormous disruption for me that it used to be. The days of mopping melted snow from the kitchen floor while warming cocoa are only a memory. These days, the Dude verifies that school is canceled, then sleeps until noon. When he gets up he makes pancakes and pretends he’s on vacation while I nag him about doing his homework.
The Dude bounces into the kitchen, grabs a handful of mini-marshmallows and gives me a hug. I pretend for a moment that this hug is somehow related to me, personally. I’m delusional, but with a seventeen year old son, this is as close as I get to filial affection without handing over money or car keys.
“It’s going to snow tomorrow.” He picks me up until my feet are off the ground. He finds this amusing, saying that turnabout is fair play. One of these days when he does it, I’ll spit up on his shoulder and we’ll see how funny it is.
“Thank you, senõr accuweather.” I remind him that the end of term is near, colleges do change their minds, and perhaps he might want to do his homework rather than play Snowday Roulette.
“One must keep the snow day holy.”
“I wouldn’t count on a day off, Dude. I give it a 20% probability.” The chance of snow is 100%, but the amount is in question–1 to 3 inches–which happens to be the exact number of inches that result in equal numbers of parents threatening the end to the world as we know it (necessitating the closing of school before the first flakes have even fallen) and those who routinely walked miles wearing snowshoes to get to school in their own youth while carrying tasers to fend off marauding polar bears. The only issue that both sides agree on is that everything is the school board’s fault and they all must be excoriated on Facebook. I scan my feed as soon as I hear the weather report. It’s almost as entertaining as television on Bravo.
The Dude isn’t deterred. “Twenty percent. I’ll take those odds.” As if to demonstrate his surety, he pops a mini-marshmallow into the air to catch it in his mouth, and misses. The cat looks on with disgust. The Dude loves marshmallows. I hide bags of them in out of the way cabinets so that I always have a spare or two.
“Do me a favor, Dude. Please don’t ever go to Vegas.” He lifts a brow at me. I know it sounds trite, but he can actually do it–raise one brow. I’m pretty sure he started practicing in utero. Snark is hard-coded into his DNA.
“It’s supposed to be cold. Really cold. It’s too dangerous to be outside.” He knows that cold is my personal kryptonite. “I only worry about the little ones.”
“Very thoughtful of you. Perhaps if you actually wore a coat…” I know this is crazy talk. He does own a winter coat. I think it still has the tags on it.
“Coats are for wussies who have no game. Only those strong enough to survive the cold will mate. It’s evolution at work. Ask Darwin.”
“Cold shrinks the equipment and makes one’s nose run. Neither is conducive to romance. Ask Dr. Drew.”
And with my words of wisdom, he and another handful of mini-marshmallows are gone, probably to play Call of Duty instead of studying his Spanish.
Between his dubious application of both statistics and Darwinian theory I’m beginning to wonder if going to school is helping or hurting him. If it snows enough to require a school cancellation, however, that means my husband will probably stay home as well, meaning I can’t binge-watch Scandal while “doing housework.”
The snow arrives much later than anticipated–not until the afternoon. I watch the flakes tumble, sugar-coating the pine trees in the backyard. I have the house to myself, but no punchline. A small shift in probability and I would have a humorous anecdote about my family interrupting my day, keeping me from this blog as they did all last week, and it hits me. They don’t keep me from my work. They are the very soul of it, and when they are home, safe from the storm, my story will come to life again.
Because last time it snowed, my husband parked the car in the front garden. My son and his friend arrived just in time to help us push it back onto the driveway. Neither one of them was wearing a coat, so I made them cocoa. Luckily I have a few marshmallows left. It could be an interesting afternoon.