Winter, a season of wet woes

Sunday, December 14, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:30 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” That has been my mantra since the last leaf fell from the tree in my front yard. I dream of sitting by a roaring fire, sipping hot cocoa and reading a novel as the snow gently, but steadily, falls outside my picture window. I love snow. I love watching it blanket the ground. I love to gaze outside after the storm has passed and see how the world has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

Reality check! I love the romantic notion of snow, but getting out in it is another matter. When my kids were younger, I had no time to sit by a fire; snow meant school was out for the day. Of course, they all wanted to go out and play in the stuff, which took nearly an hour of preparation. Once they were dressed in the usual sweater and jeans, we began the ordeal of putting on the rubber boots. Every year, at least one kid had grown two sizes and I had to wedge his chubby feet into the galoshes. One year, the only pair I could find to fit my son were pink. He fought me, but I finally convinced him that no one would notice once his feet were buried in the snow. Next came the coat, and I secured the neck with a scarf. Then the gloves, of which I never seemed to have matching pairs. And I always ended up with one odd glove that didn’t have a mate. Each child got two — even if the gloves didn’t match.

Once the kids were dressed, I opened the back door and out they went for at least five minutes. Invariably one would appear in the kitchen — dripping snow on the floor — and announce that she had to go to the bathroom. I think the record for playing outside was 20 minutes. Sigh.

I seldom went out to play with my children. I like to look at snow, not play with it.

I don’t mind driving in the stuff; it’s the other drivers who make me nuts. I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands when it’s raining in town, let alone when there is snow on the streets. Simple rules like slow down, turn into a slide and keep a safe distance away from other cars must not have been taught in driving class, so I’m confronted with people steering two-ton sleds. They never learned to gently pump the brakes when they are coming to the bottom of a hill — so they don’t stop — and their car usually comes to a standstill in mid-intersection. Four-way stops are the scariest, especially if one car has started to move and another car coming from the side can’t stop. Then there are drivers who bring the car to a full stop, then decide to gun the motor and the car sits there, spinning its wheels — I’m usually stuck behind one of those.

It also annoys me that, when the weather predictors announce that snow is in the forecast, people flock to the stores to buy groceries. It’s as if people haven’t been to the store in a month and just remembered they were out of food when the storm clouds formed.

The sale of shovels each year is another conundrum. Every year there is an article in this very paper saying that there has been a run on shovels and most of the stores have depleted their stock. I am not an economics genius — I actually got an A in college, but I can’t remember squat from the class — but I do understand the law of supply and demand. What happened to all those shovels that were purchased last year? Do people think shovels are disposable and throw them out when spring arrives?

I will admit that only as a seasoned adult have I learned how to dress for the snow. I learned the hard way that not all boots are made equally. When I was younger — and was fashionably fool-hardy — I wore knee-high boots with a 2-inch heel. The last time I wore them in the snow was the day I slid half a block on the ice because they had no traction, only to fall flat on my face at the curb. Did I mention this happened on Ninth and Broadway during the noon hour?

I also shunned hats, not wanting to flatten my ’do, or worse, have my hair electrically-charged, splaying out of control around my head after I removed my cap. But one time I went out hatless when it was snowing and had to walk two blocks before reaching my office. Once inside, all the snow crystals began to melt, and water — along with my makeup — ran down my face, and my hair looked like I just got out of the shower.

I still enjoy the first snowfall, but I have never played out my fantasy of sitting by the fire, sipping cocoa and reading a good book. I start having hot flashes if I just look at a fireplace. I never really liked cocoa and I don’t have time to read a book. I have to find the damn shovel.

If you have a comment or want to help my husband shovel, please e-mail me at

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