It’s the words that strike fear into the hearts of parents across the DMV… wintery mix. (Insert WTOP breaking news music.) It means lying in bed after watching Doug Hill on the 11 o’clock news, strategically plotting a backup plan for my entire morning routine. It means spending another 30 minutes stalking The Capital Weather Gang on Twitter trying to read the tea leaves… will there be school tomorrow? Will there be a delay? Will I have to find my dang snowbrush? Where is that thing, anyway?
I set my alarm early and wake to check school status text messages from two different counties. (It’s complicated.) I text other carpool moms. I look out the window to assess the damage. I worry about the teenager who drives the high school carpool. I worry about myself with the bald tires on my minivan. I sip my coffee and aimlessly search for my snowbrush. I check the OPM website to see if the government has enacted a liberal leave policy.
It’s rare that the two counties coincide in their plans, which often seem completely arbitrary to me anyway. (Not that I would want that job.) One kid must be woken and prodded through the morning gauntlet. Two others are up and in snowsuits, frolicking in whatever the weather has brought. The other one can sleep in for an hour or so.
I email my boss. Check messages at work. Try to figure out how to make up the time I will miss. I dig for boots and mittens and those really warm scarves. I use my kitchen broom to clear the snow off my windshield.
There are usually extra kids to pick up – swapping favors with parents who have to head into work on time. There’s an added element of excitement in the air when there’s frozen precipitation falling from the sky. I drive slowly, crank the defrost and pray that the crazy drivers haven’t hit the roads yet. The kids pray for two feet of snow and an early dismissal.
Unfortunately for them, the mornings that start with snow and ice around here, typically turn to rain and slush by lunchtime. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do a mad dash to pick up kids for an early closing. (I’m sorry, but I’ve probably just jinxed us all.)
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that February will be a wild one. It’s time to locate that snowbrush and start calling in some favors.