Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holy freaking crap, it's snowing!

It has snowed for the past three days. I have awoken each of those mornings to a landscape increasing in white-fluffiness and winter wonderlandishness. At first, a mere skiff. A light dusting, if you will. The next day, a larger blanket of glittering whiteness. And today, possible blizzard conditions and enough snow to sneak into your shoes if you're not smart enough to wear boots. I have encountered a few people in these past three days and most of them have made remarks about the "ridiculous" amount of snow and how it's "crazy" and how the cold is just "insane." And each time I have heard these remarks I have had to restrain myself from gripping the speaker by the shoulders in order to shake him/her vigorously and exclaim "THIS IS MONTANA! MONTANA! IN WINTER! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?!?!?!" Instead, I just nod and mumble something vaguely resembling agreement while I slowly back away from these clearly unstable individuals.

Thankfully, though, I haven't encountered the full-fledged panic-induced nuttiness that we encountered in Washington when snow dared to fall from the sky. Admittedly, though, snow in Washington is a little scarier than Montana snow because it's wetter and has a tendency to immediately become black ice upon meeting the ground. However, there are ways to deal with this without checking your sanity at the door before you head out to work. It seemed like the prevailing opinion was that the snow would be less scary if you made your way through as quickly as possible. My trips to and from work on those few snowy occasions were harrowing, white-knuckle adventure rides as I made my way through and among the speeding metal wheeled death projectiles. It was nearly enough to make me find religion. Nearly.

I'm not afraid of the snow here nor do I find it "crazy", "ridiculous", or "insane". During my family's first winter in Montana (when I moved here as a kid), we had FOUR FEET of the stuff keeping the town from functioning at full capacity. Every winter since has seen wimpier and wimpier snow falls. Last winter was barely deserving of the name. When you live in Montana, snow in winter is not scary. NO snow in winter, however, is a problem. It pretty much guarantees that the state will burst into flames during the summer. My only complaint is that our stupid fireplace chose this week to stop working. Stupid effing fireplace...

Something else that I find kind of amusing is Benjamin's insistence that he loves snow even though evidence suggests otherwise. Every morning he has gasped wide-eyed at the snow and announced that we have to go outside to play in it. All through breakfast he babbles excitedly about going out to play in the snow. When I haul out the boots and coats, he squeals with delight and claps his hands and sings about going to play in the snow. He eagerly allows me to stuff his feet into his boots and bundle him up in his coat, hat, and gloves. He stomps his feet in barely restrained glee by the door. Then, we go outside and he's so happy! He kicks the snow around! He picks it up and hurls it at my face! He delights in his footprints.

For 15 minutes.

At that point, he switches gears entirely. He crams his hands into his pockets and looks completely stricken once he realizes that it is cold outside. I begin to see the first traces of panic as he notices that the snow is melting on his pants and getting them all, gasp, wet! He is not having fun anymore. Snow is not his friend. Snow is ruining his life. He tells me that we have to go back inside now. Ethan, meanwhile, has thrown himself spread-eagle into a snow drift and is quite pleased. So I gather up my snow-covered youngest son and we head back to our home. And all the while Ben is whimpering and Ethan is thrashing for all he's worth. Once inside, all Ben can think of is how to get warm rightnow and he starts stripping off his wet clothes while demanding "new pants, mama! New ones!!!" What really gets me is that he manages to completely forget his misery and we go through this again the next day. And the next. And the next.

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