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Adult Ditch Day (Or My First Snow Day)


Back when I was a kid living in, you guessed it, Chicago* winter was full of the awesome. That is, until January hit, you’d successfully squeezed out every magic drop of Christmas present goodness – hell, you’d even made “my monkey butler Mr. Snappy” out of the boxes your presents came in – and you suddenly remembered why you loathe winter. Because it’s ass piled on ass, snowing ass, and your boogers freeze when you step out the front door.

The moment school’s back in session after Christmas Break (no, we weren’t so weirdly PC back then) it began. Every day, you’d call some random number listed by the phone called “time and temperature” and they’d tell you the forecast.

See kids? We DID manage to live without an iPhone app that alerts you about all the weather-related things that might affect you – like somewhere on another continent, a brush fire has broken out and OMG DO SOMETHING even though it’s glaringly obvious to anyone with half a brain that there’s no way you’re going to travel to some country you can’t pronounce with a bucket of water – the TSA has banned water along with breathing, smiling, and hope.

Most of the time, some grainy-sounding, vaguely female voice would inform you what you already knew – it was ass cold. It would be ass cold at noon and ass cold when you went to bed.

One of those rare moments, though, you’d hear from the equally grainy voice that WEATHER was going to happen and it was PROBABLY going to be BAD! As adults, we groan and think about how this is going to make our toes physically freeze and fall off our body into wee toe Popsicles while we commute to and from work. As kids, though, this was the beginning.

The beginning of the feverish prayers for a snow day. For me, it’d go something like, “Dear God, I think this is how I pray or something. Can you please make it snow tomorrow so the schools are closed? And, can you make the person on the radio with the boring voice swear? Thanks, Jesus Christ, Amen.” As though God had better things to do than to make it snow so some random Midwestern child could avoid school.

Then, the questioning began. Because I wasn’t raised by helicopter parents, my own parents always looked semi-shocked when I walked into a room, like, “Wait, who IS this chi…Oh right, we had another kid.” But when a possible SNOW DAY was MAYBE GONNA happen, my parents couldn’t help but pay attention to me. Mostly because I badgered them at least every three minutes to “call the school” to see if it had been cancelled yet. Didn’t matter if there wasn’t a single flake of snow falling or if the front yard had suddenly turned into a tropical paradise, I’d pester them just the same. My shrill cries eventually gave way to this conversation:

Young AB: “Mooooooooooom, can you call the school now?”

My Mother: “Rebecca**, I called ten minutes ago. Nothing has changed since then.”

Young AB: “How ’bout now?”

My Mother (doing her best to ignore me)

Young AB (determined to NOT allow my mother to forget my existence for a single moment): “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! PLEASE CALL THE SCHOOL! I MIGHT NOT HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW!”

My Mother: “Not-so-subtle method of getting me to call, huh?”

Young AB: (smiles proudly)

Eventually my mother broke down and gave me the number so that I could call and listen to the tinny voice tell me that school was, for now, still on. And the next day, I’d wake up, hopeful that I’d get to spend the day drinking cocoa and relaxing by the fire on a bearskin rug while my (box) monkey butler, Mr. Snappy fed me grapes. Didn’t matter that I both loathed cocoa and we didn’t own a fireplace OR bearskin rug and that Mr. Snappy had gone through too many incarnations of box creations to even resemble cardboard.

I’d scramble to the phone and punch in the coveted numbers only to hear a bored-sounding lady (I think it was the school secretary, but I can’t be certain) say the same thing. Which was, essentially, “School’s in session. SUCKER.” Okay, the SUCKER was implied, but you get the drift. School was on. No fireside chat with Mr. Snappy.

Ad nauseum.

I’d forget all about the ass cold and focus on more interesting pursuits like counting the piles of ice-encrusted poos in the backyard and determine if our dogs did, in fact, shit in patterns. (answer: no) Then, one morning out of the fucking blue, I’d wake up to find my mother staring forlornly at the phone. Groggily, I’d ask her what was wrong.

Choking back a sob, she’d reply, “You have a *weeps* snow day today!”

Suddenly I’d be wider awake than I’d ever before been and scrambling through the house to find pieces of my winter gear. I’d shove my legs into my snow pants, not caring that the pants had somehow eaten one of my beloved cute kitten socks, knowing I’d regret it later when my boot had filled with slush. I’d scuttle out the door, all “I can’t move my arms!” as the gang of neighborhood kids began to run out of their front doors.

*click* I’d hear as my mother locked the door behind her, still crying over the implications of a snow day.

I haven’t had a snow day since Jesus copied my math homework.

That is, until Monday. All week the week before, I’d heard various reports of a cold wave hitting Chicago on Monday – all with varying degrees of hysteria – and I promptly laughed. With varying degrees of sarcasm. Cold? In Chicago? In JANUARY? Why, I NEVER!

Until Monday. When it was -50 degrees BELOW zero. Because “death by commuting” seems an awfully pathetic way to go, I decided that I probably wasn’t going into the office. Neither was my coworker Lauren. Or Adam. Or Chris. Or Ryan. Or, quite frankly, MD, my boss.

The kids, trapped at my house until further notice also had a snow day. I’d hoped to miraculously find an adult-sized snowsuit in my coat closet so we could romp around in the snow together, but alas, there was nothing. Besides, it was so cold that the Weather Channel finally stopped reporting on the fish*** and started saying things like, “drink a gallon of water before going out doors,” and throwing around hypothermia like it was a hip new band.

So we stayed in. For two straight days while the world shut down. In fact, our snow day(s) could easily go on record as the laziest snow day(s) in the history of snow day(s) ever.

Also? The best.

*Motto: 4/5 governors impeached!

**My parents are the only human beings who call me “Rebecca,” which means that whenever I hear it, I’m instantly on guard, as though I’m in terrible trouble.

***Won’t someone think of the fish?
Am I the only person who remembers snow days as lasting approximately 89 hours and filled with the most fun stuff in the history of ever?
12 Comments to

“Adult Ditch Day (Or My First Snow Day)”

  1. On January 8th, 2014 at 2:03 pm Beth Says:

    SNOW DAY!!!!!!! Not to brag, but in December, we had FOUR snow days in a row. But mostly because it wasn’t snow. It was ice. Motherfucking eight inches of ice in my driveway, and I have no idea what for other people. Texas doesn’t snow, it ices. And we do it in STYLE. That style being, “OH MY GOD WHAT DO WE DO FUCKING HELL WHAT?!”

  2. On January 8th, 2014 at 2:37 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    HOLY SHITS! That’s jealousy-evoking RIGHT THE FUCK THERE.

  3. On January 8th, 2014 at 3:02 pm Ali Says:

    Fuck, I miss when snow days consisted of pure, lazy, over oreo(anykindofsurgar) indulgent pleasure! Now my snow days are spent trying to catch up on house cleaning and yelling at my kids. For the love of God sleep in on snow days!! Don’t wake up at the ass crack of dawn to ask me to go play in the snow! And when you can’t feel your fingers anymore it’s time to come inside and stay outside. Do NOT run them over hot water then go back out!

  4. On January 9th, 2014 at 10:41 am Your Aunt Becky Says:


  5. On January 8th, 2014 at 3:23 pm Tiffany Says:

    Why is it “PC” to use “winter break” instead of “Christmas break”? I always thought of it as inclusive, since there are a lot of people out there who don’t celebrate Christmas.

  6. On January 9th, 2014 at 10:40 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Our school district calls it something even more vague. So vague, in fact, that I cannot remember it.

  7. On January 8th, 2014 at 4:41 pm Jolie Says:

    My kids had a snow day – due to the arctic freeze – and we didn’t get dressed until noon when we ventured out to get ingredients to make goodies, and grab lunch. It is, by far, the best snow day I remember.

  8. On January 9th, 2014 at 10:40 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    That sounds lovely. Like for reals.

  9. On January 9th, 2014 at 6:44 pm Cindy Medina Says:

    Do I remember snow days? And hoping praying sacrificing my little sister to the gods for a snow day? You bet your bumper jumping ass! That was upstate NY and a million years ago. Now it’s Texas, and if it ain’t ice (reference above) I have to call in a bomb threat (Jk – that shit is scarey). Glad you got some extra Snuggle Bunny time with the kids. The gods are kind (sometimes).

  10. On January 9th, 2014 at 7:23 pm steph gas Says:

    as an adult, i just get really fucking angry at snow days because it means other adults don’t want to do their jobs. also, even though we live in new york where it does snow every year, every time it snows everyone else FORGETS HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW. they slide around like OMFG WHAT IS THIS WHITE SLIPPERY CRAP EVERYWHERE?

    ugh. it’s pretty for the first couple of hours, then the cars/plows/people ruin it.

  11. On January 9th, 2014 at 10:04 pm Elizabeth Says:

    We had Hell hath Frozen Over day down here in Georgia. 17 degrees is simply Not Done. In reality they cancelled school because the buses don’t have heaters and the kids don’t have cold weather gear.

  12. On January 17th, 2014 at 8:26 pm random cowbell guy Says:

    Hi AB! It was um five degrees here in TN? Just lovely.

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