This was an interesting weekend; we were hit with an unexpected snowfall that pretty much shut the place down. Sure, the weather guys said it was going to get really cold and that there was a chance of snow but we know what “chance” means, especially in March. But sure enough, they predicted 3 inches and we got anywhere between 6 and 9 inches. Plus, the wind was blowing really hard on Saturday morning so that you could barely see. They closed the airport and freeways because of it. At last, the wind died down and the kids hit the slopes.

We have a hill across the street from our house and there is a space between two houses that appears not to belong to either of them. The public can go through there if they want to but nobody wants to until it snows. Then, it becomes a mecca for every kid in the neighborhood. Sometime last year, Mel picked up some cheap plastic sleds and stowed them away for the summer and this year, we dragged them out and the kids had the time of their lives. All day Saturday and part of the day Sunday, they were out there sledding down the hill. When you have a sled and the other kids don’t, you quickly become popular.

As a parent, I don’t get so excited about the snow any more. I still have to go to work since my employer is one of those places that stay open 24×7. Plus, the kids come in periodically with cold wet clothes on and have to change which leaves a huge mess to be cleaned up. This is the new millennium so you can’t just watch the wife clean that stuff up anymore. The dryer was going continuously all day long. More often than not they leave the door open too.

After a few hours, they said

“Dad, will you come out and play with us?”

They were having a shrieking good time by themselves so I didn’t feel that my presence was necessary but the alternative was to stay inside and dry their wet clothing so I went on out. I then saw that the hill had become a lawless place where nobody would take turns and frequently sleds were borrowed, ridden to the bottom, and left there. The guilty parties would say

“It’s your sled, you go get it.”

The situation was ripe for an adult to come in and clean the place up. Plus, I had forgotten how much fun sledding can be. In fact, after a while, I happened to notice that my kids weren’t even there anymore; they were in our front yard making a fort and arming it with snowballs.

The neighborhood kids had built a ramp out of plywood that they packed snow under in order to strengthen it. They managed to locate it at the spot where most sleds just naturally go so there was little way of avoiding it even if you wanted to. My weight is much greater than any kid’s so I naturally went a lot further than most of them which meant blazing a trail through un-sledded powdery snow that flew up in my face thus obscuring the fence that I was fast approaching. Fences stop you pretty well. It was after several trips over the ramp that I finally felt that jolt in the tailbone that means your body is saying:

“OK, you should stop now. You’re getting too old for this sort of thing.”

I therefore switched to giving the kids pushes to get them going faster. Faster is better to a kid. I eventually decided that they could do without adult supervision and went in to warm up. Evan came in much later describing the direction the fun had taken. Apparently, they began having sled races and, not much later, switched to a game they called “sled rash” but which Evan gave the more imaginative name of “Circus Maximus”. Think about the chariot race in Ben Hur and you’ve got it. They would head off down the hill and try to pull, push, or knock off their opponents. Or run them into a fencepost. Either way, it sounded like a lot of fun to me and he said that it was indeed. Dangerous? Well…maybe.

It was a glorious weekend where all soccer games were cancelled and we could sit in the recliners by the window and read, nap, and watch the snow outside. Or I could have if I hadn’t either been out in it with the kids or cleaning up after them. I also had to make my way out to the patio to repair a screen door latch so that the door wouldn’t keep getting blown open by the wind and then slapping shut again. Melissa spent all her energies just cleaning up the wet clothes. I tried to spend a little tool-time out in the garage but it was almost too cold to do anything.

Erin had invited a friend over Friday night so in order to allow her to play outside with everybody else, Melissa dressed her up in some of her (Melissa’s) warm things so that this little kid looked like a big brown puffball with eyes. No worries about her hitting a fencepost and getting hurt. She looked like the Michelin man and was completely unrecognizable by her parents.

So, a good time was had by all. Although, Melissa has stated that she has dried her last wet sock.

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