Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Next on Storm Stories...

February in Jersey is grim.

When I mentioned this the other day, my spouse helpfully pointed out that it is March—which I know, but still: February in Jersey is grim. Gray. Gloomy. Depressing. It bears repeating.

But this February was different: we had snow!

We missed the epic snow of south Jersey and the mid-Atlantic, but we had two ginormous wallops of snow, enough to have a six foot snowman still standing guard by my back door.

I have mixed feelings about meteorology. I find the study of weather intriguing; my “Clouds” project in 6th grade was thorough and beautifully illustrated with a rainbow for good measure. But here in Jersey, I have to take meteorology with a grain of road salt. Here, we have a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. We get breathless predictions of Snowicanes and Snowtastrophes and Snowpocalypses. The evening news sports live team coverage from all corners of the state broadcast by reporters who look like they are dressing for the Iditarod or a South Pole expedition.

Granted, even my 7 year old wanted to make sure the winter coat I got on clearance for her for next year has the ski goggles wipe, the cell phone pocket, and the Ipod pouch. She has none of these three things, she doesn’t ski, and the highest mountain in Jersey is about ¼ mile above sea level. Maybe my Rosebud has a future as a weatherwoman, she could carry the Prepared for Every Contingency Wardrobe thing into a career.

But, um, this is JERSEY, not Saskatchewan. We do get the occasional big storm, but really, once the plows and salt trucks are out, it’s not a big deal. Unless the Weather Channel sends Jim Cantore to Jersey, I don’t even bother to look for the snow shovels. So I should know better when the menacing music and “Snowzilla 2010!!” screams across my tv screen, right?

Right. I should. But…

…I think somewhere, deep down, I am still 12 years old (very deep, I know). Secretly, I think snow days are awesome, heaven on earth, a break, a woohoo of being trapped away from our responsibilities. Snow days are gorgeous… when Mother Nature wins, we should all enjoy her victory!

Or maybe because I was a teacher, the anticipation of a snow day is part of who I am. In all my years as stay-at-home mom, it’s not like a snow day took me away from responsibility—my work was at home! But still, 8 inches of snow is freeing even as it binds us to our homes. We drink hot chocolate and watch Full House reruns and bring out the yardstick to see how things are piling up. We track snow all over the house, find mittens we haven’t used in months—the waterproof kind, not the stylin’ kind. We watch the exuberantly suffering meteorologists on tv and enjoy the respite from carpool-mania that is our average weekday reality.

So I take it personally when the gleefully dire predictions of our weather people don’t pan out. I feel like I’ve been set up, robbed, all my delicious anticipation of NOT getting reluctant kids out the door to school morphs into disappointment. NOTHING is worse than thinking you’re getting a snow day and then having to schlep out in a soggy chill for school or work. Nothing. Extend this over a month, throw in some gray skies and damp chill, and you have Jersey in February.

Thus I am grateful for the 2 Snowdangos we had this winter (and the remnants of snow that gave us a white Christmas). Two Real snow days, so bad that even my spouse couldn’t hitch up the dogsled and go to work (he is very determined). I am grateful. And maybe, just maybe the snow will stick around until we have actual warmth, a few crocuses peeking through. I hear it’s supposed to be 52 degrees on Sunday. Maybe we can skip the Jersey gloom that mostly got snowed over this February and jump right into spring.

I’d like to see the meteorologists invent a word for that! : )

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