1. It is snowing.
2. It is April 20th, and it is snowing.
Someone I follow on Twitter has started simply tweeting “#fimbulwinter” as the only real, sane response to the weather. I got to work yesterday in terrible driving conditions and stayed the night. Slept on a couch in the break room, because I saw no reason to risk my life on the way home merely to sleep for five hours and risk my life on the way back in.
It’s still snowing, albeit lightly now, and the blowing winds have lessened somewhat, increasing visibility and reducing drifts across the highways.
I have to say I am very much looking forward to sleeping at home tonight.
Also, a shower and clean clothes.
On the upside, my neurotic preparedness in life served me well. I had a toothbrush, toothpaste, medications, and snacks all packed in my bag, “just in case.” Well, just in case happened, and, lo, I was prepared. I do like that.
1. We’re supposed to get 16 +/-5 inches of snow over the next 36 hours. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow morning whether I will be heading in to work.
2. I am trying this thing called f.lux on my computer. It is supposed to look at your latitude and time of year and time of day and adjust the color of your computer monitor to be more conducive to a natural light cycle. Perhaps this will help me on, say, my days off, but I’m at work and sort of squinting at the screen because it is dim. Also, the geek room has glaring florescent lights so I’m not sure how much it helps. Also, I work until midnight tonight, you know? I’m going to be up until 1:00 a no matter what, since I have to drive home.
3. The geek room has organized, selected a board, established dues, and locked down the internet by physical address. Thank goodness. This SHOULD bring a halt to the horrible connectivity we’ve had over the last three months. Those who leave their computers uploading crap to torrent sites will be SMOTE. Video streaming, online gaming, and regular surfing should be unaffected.
4. As usual, I spent the breaks on my shift so far catching up on tv shows — Hellcats, 30 Rock, Vampire Diaries, Fringe. I still say that Hellcats has the smartest, most thoughtful and respectful presentation of Christianity in the U.S. I’ve ever seen on television. Not condescending, but not blind to Christianity’s faults either. It shows religion in this country for what it is — complex.
5. Politics are a, a real thing right now. The rallies in Madison are heartening, but I have no certainty they will prevail. And the federal government is … behaving reprehensibly. And the entire Middle East appears to be exploding in protest, insurgence, and revolution. It’s a nerve-wracking time to follow the news.
It’s the hope that gets to me. If I wasn’t hopeful for a better future, I wouldn’t be so scared.
6. Speaking of politics, though —
There are countless people telling their stories right now, about how Planned Parenthood was their only option for medical care at certain points in their lives. Not just birth control or abortions, but straight-up medical care. Go, if you are a U.S. resident, take a look at the Planned Parenthood website and see if you can find a way to sign the petition or contact your congressional representatives in some other way.
1. Now I’m following the political situations in Libya and Bahrain. I’m not certain what I get out of this, you know? There’s *certainly* nothing I can do for the people being shot by their governments. But I am very aware that the political struggles of people who are not white Americans often fall under the U.S. radar. Part of why I choose to get my news from the BBC is to combat that tendency. I want my kids to grow up with a native sense that the planet is full of people who, every day, are struggling and celebrating, fighting and making peace, and their lives are equally as important as anything that is happening here. Protesters being gunned down in the streets of Bahrain is news. The tax referendums regarding repairing the Metrodome roof are also news, and will likely affect us personally more. But the South Sudan independence referendum is going to determine the lives of millions of people, and I think that’s more important than local sports.
2. The kids are at a slow bit in math. M could do long division, he can do it when we keep him on task, but ohhhh, it is so LONG and has so many STEPS and the world is full of OTHER THINGS to look at and think about! Like Pokemon! And robots! And mega-cyclones! So, anyway, we are making him practice one or two long division problems each day, just to get the work in. It takes forever.
K is stalled out on a different aspect. She can do arithmetic just fine, but she cannot determine what a word problem is asking of her. The only catch is, life is nothing but word problems. I mean, no one is going to ask you, at age thirty, to recite your times tables. But they will ask you how much lumber you need for that fence, and then there you are, trying to figure out how many board-feet you need and making sure you don’t forget that the three two-foot stubs leftover from sawing do not actually equal a six-foot fencepost and you need another whole board.
I am a little frustrated with this problem K is having, through no fault of hers, simply because I get this part of math in a way that makes it a struggle for me to explain. Luckily, the Singapore Math books do a really good job with this and I can simply rely on them.
3. We had a lovely, lovely two days of thaw. The huge line-of-sight snowpile obstructions are reduced, making driving easier. But the temperature dropped back down and all the melted water has refrozen into sheets of ice everywhere. Luckily, the end is in sight. March will be here soon, bringing a ton more snow to be sure, but all of that snow will MELT.
1. The weather is still the big story here. SNOW EVERYWHERE. And it’s really cold. The Metrodome stadium roof collapsed in the snow, which is big news here. I think this is a fine opportunity for the Vikings to find a new home elsewhere in the country, but, sadly, what will likely end up happening is that I will end up paying for the repairs. It’s not that I’m opposed to professional sports; it’s that I’m opposed to paying for them.
2. For various reasons I am trying to re-read Twelfth Night. I find reading Shakespeare to be almost impossible. I think I’ll re-watch it tonight.
3. I find I am more and more frustrated with Smart DJ and Pandora and music recommendation sites. The more I use them, the more I want to shake them. What part of “I want more songs that sound like the female singer / narrative character is about to emotionally fall apart but isn’t yet and is looking at you as if daring you to tell her she’s not okay” is so difficult to understand? Instead I get recommendations based on, I don’t know, the number of guitars in the band. WHO LISTENS TO THE GUITARS, I ASK YOU??? (Hyperbole, exaggeration, I know I am the minority in this.)
4. There’s a new computer system thing being developed at work, called ERAM, and every time the deployment gets delayed we have to take a three-hour computer tutorial in it again. I did this yesterday, for the third or fourth time, and nearly fell asleep in the lab.
As of right now it is still snowing, and we have over fifteen inches. Also winds of 25-40 mph, so there are “blizzard conditions.” I’m not certain how this is distinguished from a blizzard.
I am not at work. We have this thing called snow leave, at work. One can get snow leave by attempting to get into work and failing, then calling in and explaining the situation. My attempts resulted in my car not leaving the curb. The plows have not gone through my neighborhood, and they won’t until 9:00 tonight due to the city plow schedule. City buses have been called off the roads, Delta airlines cancelled all flights for the evening, and the plows were called off the highways. The snow should stop after 9:00, and the plows will get to work.
I expect I will be able to get to work tomorrow, leaving around 10:00 for my noon shift. The highways should be passable, and the roads in my neighborhood will be half-cleared.
So, anyway, we’ve had a snow day here. We slept in, skipping the Y and swim lessons. Instead everyone took a turn shoveling. I walked my dog a bit, and J and K took a dog around the block. N got adventurous around 2:00 and walked to the local corner mart. He said the drift were up to his groin, and he is not a short man. We did some late-afternoon shoveling, too.
I got some writing done this morning, but not a ton. J has a lot of end-of-semester grading to get done, so I was on the kid comm a lot. Which isn’t really a problem, but it does interrupt my train of thought about every forty-five seconds. I also watched a documentary about gladiators that made me want to re-watch the tv show Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
The kids have been …. of varying judgment today. Things like getting out herbs de provance to put on their vegetables at lunch. There is nothing WRONG with this, except that they didn’t ask first. They are seven, I want to KNOW what condiments they are using, you know? Or things like using a stamp pad with permission, and upon being told to ONLY stamp the paper provided they did so — using their hands. Erm. Not expressly forbidden, but poor judgment.
And, really, any game involving ambushing each other in the playroom with heavy wooden weapons is bound to end in tears.
Yet, for all of that, I have really liked spending the day with my family. Every scrape or scrap with the kids has been quickly resolved, with apologies and explanations. They helped with the shoveling, they helped clean the living room. I made no-salt guacamole and shared it with them. I cut up a pomegranate for them and they liked it, leading to pomegranate juice everywhere on M’s face and neck. He looked like Lizzie from Goblin Market. When I told him this he asked if I was going to suck the juice from him, which I pretended to do. (It’s one of my kids’ favorite poems, they clamor of me to read it to them. Which I do, unedited. They have not yet gleaned the extremely sexual connotations and implications of the poem. I’m sure they will in a few years.)
Now M is watching educational videos in the living room, while K is chatting with J and N upstairs. Snow days are hard on K, because she is an extrovert trapped in a house of introverts and there is no one to play with after a while. But even with that things have gone well.
I like my family. I like my jobs, air traffic control and writing both. I like being safe and warm and fortunate in my house while the wind and snow whirl outside. I like my life.