Jan 182012

Today was a snow day.

It  was not “snowpocalipse” just a fine day to have snow. The kids were off school. The Wife and I were working from home. The dog would go outside occasionally and frolic until she got cold. Fun – except for the Wife and I working part.

Yesterday, during the non-snow snow day the kids had built a circus tent in the living room out of chairs and blankets. They spent a good amount of time in it today when they got too cold to be outside, which was a lot because it’s not a pleasant fluffy warm snow, it’s a cold biting, stinging snow. They also have to find productive employment today because the Wife and I have to work.

It’s nice to be able to send them out and not have to keep an eye on them every minute like when they were young. At one point I even sent the dog out unleashed to caper around them as they slid down our sidewalk and got snagged on the “ramp” they were building. She didn’t run off to chase or bark at other dogs. I was very proud of all of them.

Later in the afternoon, when we were finished with work and the kids were ready for more of an adventure we set out to see if the Big Hill, Queen Anne Avenue, was open for sledding. Things looked promising as the snow plows were not making much of a dent on the flat parts and the hill is unpassable by heavy vehicles when it’s icy.

The police had shown up by the time we got there and were stringing crime scene tape back and forth across the street in the hopes of getting people to stop sledding. Public safety and all that, I get it. More importantly they were stopping idiots who would actually try to drive their Suburbans, Armadas, and Navigators up and down the hill. The kids got in a few good runs and beyond the thrill of sledding such a large hill there is also the forbidden fruit of zooming down The Middle of the Street! A big busy street with a police car at the top, lights flashing.

It was hard to get them to stop but we convinced them that the steep slope in Kerry Park might be a good spot. When we got there some ski punks had just arrived and were throwing their inner tubes down the exceptionally tall and steep slope at an alarming speed. One young woman crashed through a sapling and came rolling to a stop at my feet laying face down in the snow as her friends hooted from the top of the hill. I asked if she were ok and she said yes although she was slow to get up.

Meanwhile Duncan is trying to scale the hill, convinced that he is going to ride it. Even though he doesn’t have the sled. When we tell him he’s not going down it he asks why and we point to the young man who has bounced off his inner tube and is pinwheeling down the hill ass over teakettle.

We go to another hill where some kids have built a killer ramp and our guys decide to give it a shot even though other kids are flying through the air and wiping out spectacularly. We say ok because we can’t imagine they would actually be able to hit the ramp or, if so, at any  appreciable speed. Our sled is a fancy vinyl inner tube with handles, so even if they do manage to hit the ramp their landing will at least be air cushioned.

Our daughter takes the first ride and even though she misses the ramp completely she’s moving way faster than she has all day. The wife is behind me with the dog and all I can think to do is throw a leg in front of the careening girl to try to brake her speed – if not my leg. The impact whips me around and all I can see behind me is our small dog spinning horizontally in the air as our daughter goes crashing into the back of a truck.

As she expressed enthusiastically a moment later, it was awesome.

And because the dog and the girl were both unhurt, it was.

Our son took the last run of the day and hit the ramp perfectly. As he related later he was, “six feet in the air!” which was really more like two but when it’s your first time going off a snow ramp at a relatively low speed it feels bigger.

And that was the end of sledding for the day. Not least because on our daughter’s dog spinning wipeout run the tube was punctured and was losing air rapidly.

It was an exhausted evening of mineral baths and early to bed with dreams of more fun to come.

After all. Tomorrow is a snow day too.

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