Meet the online calculator for snow days

I recently discovered an online calculator that can predict snow days.

There’s a catch to the Snow Day calculator—to get results you must enter your zip code and what type of school you attend. It only works for kids.

There are no snow days for grown-ups. So go warm up the car and drag out the ice melt.

And yet.

Our son who lives in Chicago says he instinctively knows when it snows at night and can’t sleep anticipating daybreak. He’s an 8-year-old kid trapped in the body of a 36 year-old man.

The snow they’ve been sounding alarms here for days has finally arrived. Frankly, it isn’t looking all that great. Not that I’ve had my nose pressed against the window monitoring it. Well, maybe a little.

The snow is granular—like dishwasher detergent before it came in pods.

You can barely call it a snowfall. It’s more like a snow sputter.

It’s been coming down for several hours and is barely covering the grass, just nestling in between the blades.

You can’t help but wonder if there is a heavier snowfall happening somewhere else. The snow is always deeper on the other side of the fence. One of the grands calls to say snow has covered the ground at her house.

Her mother can be heard in the background saying snow has not covered the ground.

“But it will,” says the voice on the other end, brimming with hope.

Flakes that look like dishwasher detergent now mingle with larger flakes looking like cotton balls. Not fresh, fluffy cotton balls, but teased out, scraggly looking cotton-balls.

This is what the hype was about? Ratty-looking cotton balls mixed with dishwasher detergent?

A while later there is a commotion outside. Snow is falling at an angle and birds are flocking to the feeder.

I grab a camera and freeze a chickadee on takeoff.

A bird in flight is an amazing wonder of beauty and engineering. The feet propel the launch, then the bird draws them in tight. Wings spread in graceful arcs and the bird’s beak, cresting the smooth curves of the dome-shaped head, slices through the air.

Birds land and depart and jostle one another around the feeder. It’s as frenetic as LaGuardia or Atlanta.

Snow is picking up and more uniform now. There is no swirling or spinning, just a fine sawdust cascading from a craftsman’s workbench.

By late afternoon, every inch of ground, every tree, car, mailbox and roof-top, have been layered with a blanket of down.

Daylight fades and the snow takes on a beautiful cast of blue. The blue grows deeper, darker and richer, culminating in a breathtaking sapphire before fading into night.

Maybe snow days aren’t just for kids after all.

 

A tale of tiny tutus

Dance class started today. No, not for us. We did that once—worst money ever spent. Sorry, Arthur Murray. It wasn’t you; it was us. We lasted for one fox trot and half a waltz before we two-stepped right out the door.

Two of the little ones, cousins, have enrolled in dance class. We’re hoping they last longer than we did.

There’s nothing like low-to-the-ground, full-bodied toddlers swathed in bubbles of pink netting attempting to master the willowy bends and arcs of professional ballerinas.

There’s a buzz in the hallway before class. The teacher emerges from the classroom and introduces herself to each of the girls. Then come the good-byes, big hugs and lingering embraces.

“Mommy will be waiting! Be good! I LOVE YOU!”

It will be a long journey for the little ones—approximately 10 steps around the corner and into the dance studio. Parents are not allowed in the studio, but can watch on a monitor in a waiting area.

It appears the teacher’s goal today is to get eight preschoolers to stand in a straight line.

The teacher explains something to the group, then patiently goes down the line, on her knees on hardwood, and puts eight pieces of tape on the floor, instructing each girl to stand on the tape.

The teacher then goes down the line a second time, again positioning each dancer on her tape mark. Dancer No. 1, Dancer No. 2, Dancer No. 3, all the way to Dancer No. 8.

All eight are on their tape marks.

Class is halfway over.

Tiny dancers then sit on the floor and bend to touch their toes. Those with long arms are at an advantage.

Dance Class Lesson No. 1: All arms are not created equal and life is not fair.

Dancers advance to standing position, attempt to point their feet and lift their arms overhead.

The teacher then demonstrates how to skip. She motions for the girls to skip in a line. There is no line. Dancers are moving in every direction, crisscrossing, zig zagging and roaming in loose figure 8s.

The girls are not grasping the concept of following one another.

Girls are instructed to go to their backpacks and put on tap shoes.

One returns with sunglasses. Another removes her tutu in order to put on tap shoes. She tugs at her leotard and tights but apparently decides to leave them on.

They commence tapping their toes when the teacher turns to a little girl, picks her up and carries her to the camera. Did she want to wave to her mother?

No. The teacher indicates the girl needs to go potty.

Another dancer lines up behind the first dancer. The teacher indicates that this girl, too, needs to go potty. Then another dancer lines up. And another and another.

They can do something in succession! Line up for the potty!

Three little dancers remain on the dance floor.

Not a single one is on her tape mark.

Both eyes on the dentist

Our youngest just texted that her root canal was over and that she fell asleep in the dental chair. I wasn’t surprised. It’s a family tradition.

When our children were very young and exhausting (I was exhausted, not them), I once went to a dentist for a cleaning and fell sound asleep in the chair. The dentist had to shake my arm to wake me. It was the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep I’d had in months. I asked if I could come back for another cleaning the next day, but he said no.

I’ve always wondered if dentists are offended when patients fall asleep in the chair. I’m one of those people who become very eye conscious when I go to the dentist. Are you supposed to keep your eyes open or your eyes closed? It’s like those awkward moments when you don’t know what to do with your arms and hands.

I was at the dentist recently to have a filling replaced. The spot was hard to reach. When the dentist’s hand, resting on the side of my face, moved for better positioning, it pulled my left eye closed.

I had one eye open and one eye closed. Do you open the closed eye, or close the open eye?

I’m in the group that keeps my eyes open because the dentist and I talk. That’s right, even shot full of Novocain, the entire side of my face numb and swollen, ice picks and a large vacuum in my mouth, I can still talk. I was telling the dentist something about one of the kids and he was trying to recall what her teeth looked like. I said, “Yoo no—da un hoo neher ushed ad ahays ad good tee.”

“Oh yes, the one who never brushed and always had good teeth.”

Our dentist is also very good at interpreting.

Once, at the hair salon a woman fell asleep under a hair dryer. Several stylists tried to wake her with no success. Someone was on the phone with 911 when the woman finally woke.

Not long ago, I was in rush hour traffic when a back-up began. Cars were swerving around a stalled vehicle. I swerved too, looked into the stopped car and saw the driver with his head back and his eyes closed. Another driver threw his car into park, jumped out, knocked on the car window and the man woke with a start.

Maybe sitting down for more than five minutes is so rare that our eyelids automatically slam shut these days and we start to snooze.

Dentists probably aren’t even aware of whether patients have their eyes open or closed, or if they have one eye open and one eye closed. All that really matters is that dentists keep their eyes open. And get a good night’s sleep before using that drill.