24 December 2008

Christmas in the Northwest

It snowed last night. Again. They've predicted another wave for this afternoon. We're way past White Christmas here, folks. Picture, thousand words, enjoy.

Holly berries

The little apple tree in the side yard.

Snow on green leaves

A lone leaf hangs on.

Bird house

Icicles over the back door

A side street in our neighborhood.

The main highway being cleared didn't help this semi truck.

And from the archives, especially for Yellow Dog Granny, who asked where the heck our snowman was, a snow goddess from Christmas past.

23 December 2008


Well, my two-week vacation has turned out to be more like house arrest. House arrest with three teenagers bouncing off the walls from cabin fever. Not a Norman Rockwell scenario here, folks. And to think, just a week ago, I was excited at the prospect of finally, just once, Christmas shopping during the day, like a person of leisure, instead of battling the mobs after dark with all the other frazzled, bleary-eyed, homicidal after-work shoppers. Sounds like a little thing, but I was really fucking looking forward to that. 

You may have heard, since we apparently made it onto the national news, that western Washington got a visit from Jack fucking Frost.

Snow doesn't bother me. I was practically born with a snow shovel in my hand. I've spent 95% of my life in big snow areas. Areas that actually have snowplows. And salt. Areas that know how to deal with snow. When it snows in Seattle, it basically shuts the joint down. Seattle has about 25 plows for the entire metro area, which is akin to putting out a fire with spit. They ran out of de-icer, and the next shipment can't make it over the pass from eastern WA.

I live north of Seattle, where there are even fewer resources to battle the white stuff. The idea of a snowplow making it even to the main roads where I live is a crap shoot, and you can forget regular neighborhood streets. Also, they don't put the blade all the way down where they do plow. They leave about 2" of snow, which gets compacted and turns to ice. They don't use salt, either. Apparently, it "damages the roads". Much like snow plow blades, I guess. Maybe so, but places like Ohio and Minnesota and friggin' Kaposvár, Hungary seem to do fine with the damn salt. Come on, how often would we even need to salt here anyway?

It started snowing about a week ago. Christmas is Thursday, and I've been stuck in the house for a week. Worse, everyone else in the PNW has been stuck inside as well. The crowds will rival Black Friday if I do make it out. Which is doubtful. More snow predicted, starting tomorrow night.

Fuck you, Jack Frost, and the cold front you rode in on. Seattle is NOT the place for this level of Winter Wonderland.

The dorky channel 5 weatherman is in his element. He's practically sporting a snow-boner every time the news comes on. He's one of those guys who fancies himself suave and debonair. He's got a 70s mustache and somehow manages to swagger from behind his big weather desk. He wears a leather jacket on-air sometimes. I bet he was a football player back in high school. I can just see him reliving the glory days with the guys over a case of Bud Light. I'd also be willing to bet he uses the term "little lady". Anyway, he's a headliner now. Forget the anchors, bitches, Local Weather Guy's at the top of the hour now. Yeah. I watch the other channel with Steve Pool and his Double Doppler Radar.

My normally cynical friend remarked that it must be so cozy being snowed in with family, "with all your babies surrounding you". Why no, as a matter of fact, she doesn't have teenagers. She, incidentally, is house-sitting for a mutual friend in a gorgeous abode perched atop one of Seattle's famous hills, with no cable or Internet access. Fantastic view, though. She's going nowhere except out of her mind.

Let me tell you, my "babies" have no interest in kicking it with dear old Mom in the midst of this frost fest. I haven't even had the nerve to suggest popping corn and bringing out ye ole board games. Male Offspring has followed the siren song of his PlayStation, cloistering himself away in his hermitage room.

Early on, there was the requisite fighting with Teen Demon about taking her car out in this mess. She is somehow under the impression that the ability to drive in snow is genetic. An inherited trait, like curly hair. Or sarcasm. After the first day or two, she quickly realized that the hills are alive with the sound of crunching metal, and left her car safely buried in the driveway. Not to be deterred, however, from the critical activity of Hanging Out, she donned her little felt boots and cute little fashion coat that literally does not cover her navel, and her cute little yarn gloves, ready to set out hiking and meet her friends. Five miles away. Yes, of course I tried to stop her. Words were exchanged, shall we say. You forget, she is over 18, and therefore knows everything. I did make her trade her faux boots for my hiking boots, causing much eye rolling and gnashing of teeth.

Then, the Bohemian, who is usually sensitive to my concerns, and whose time in DC has raised her awareness of risks to one's personal safety, hears that Main Street has been closed to traffic. Main Street is a colossal hill, or more accurately, series of hills, descending all the way down to the ferry docks. She shrieks this news to her younger brother, announcing that they HAVE TO go sledding on Main Street! It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! I, boring, mean mother that I am, crankily brought up such foolish notions as, how would they get there, what about the fact that we have no sleds, that Male Offspring has no boots, that Main Street is about five miles from our house, and the like. No matter. Once in a lifetime opportunity! Adventure! Thrills! A journey of exploration and discovery! (Yes, she actually said that to me.)

Yeah. Main Street shrouded in snow. The gateway drug to skydiving and bungee jumping.

I'm so done with snow. I just wanted to go to Zoo Lights, plan some fun outings, and have a normal Christmas shopping experience. Is that too damn much to ask? Whatever. Anyway, for your viewing enjoyment, here's a taste of the past week's snow extravaganza.

Batman & Mason playing Find Your Toy in the Snowdrift

Mason gets cold easily.

It's never too late to support your local legislators and judges.
In fall, a campaign election sign. In winter ...
... custom candidate snowboards.

Male Offspring shredding the slopes on a piece of Formica.

Little brother gives the Bohemian a push as Batman looks on.

Batman isn't the most effective sled dog.

Teen Demon gives the Bohemian a good pull.
Male Offspring rides his Judge Lucas sign down an unidentified hill.

02 December 2008

Cakes or Consequences

Occasionally, whilst engaged in the business of parenting, you get to witness your child absorbing a life lesson with no input or effort on your part whatsoever. Consequences, for instance. One of the toughest lessons to drill into a kid, right? I mean, let's face it, how far into adulthood do most of us get, still struggling with the concept of consequences? Reaping what one sows and all that.

Male Offspring started wrestling season a couple of weeks ago. Last year he wrestled in the 152-lb weight class. This year, as he's still a growing boy who drinks his milk, he's been weighing in at a steady 157 lbs, meaning he'll move up to the 160-lb weight class for his sophomore season.

Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but moving up a weight class is tough, especially when first breaking into the new class. It often means wrestling older, more experienced guys. He's been lifting the weights and practicing hard in anticipation of going up against those 160-pounders.

So today, he goes for a hydration test and a weigh-in.

163 pounds. Uh-oh. Up 6 pounds in less than a week. Shot right past his new weight class.

Think the Great Cake Fest of 2008 had anything to do with it? *

Unless he wants to jump two weight classes, and suddenly be wrestling those 172-lb boys, I'm thinking he'd best jettison the remaining cake bits still populating my kitchen.

Good luck, Son. And let that be a lesson to you. Consequences. That's right. Cake Karma. The hard truth, Son, is that cake is evil. That icing may taste sweet going down, but it's Satan's ambrosia. It will cling to your ass like a bitter conservative clings to guns and religion. It's time you knew the truth: the wages of cake is death, at least on the wrestling mat.

Welcome to the hard reality of consequences, Son. Now you understand why I can not allow Oreos into the house.

*At least I hope it was the Great Cake Fest of 2008. If not, that means it was the Thanksgiving food. And I've been eating that mess like a mo'fo for days.


It seems I was mistaken. The lesson on consequences did not have quite the lasting impression as I'd hoped. Oh, he did learn about the consequences of eating multiple cakes on top of Thanksgiving leftovers. He learned a right hard lesson when he stepped on the scales that first day back to practice.

For about a hot minute.

Then he lifted some weights. Then he rode his bike from his high school to the neighboring high school for the required early-season hydration test. Probably 10 miles, round trip. Then they wrestled. Then he weighed himself again.

159 lbs.

I'm sorry ... what? What is there, a tapeworm in there? Who gains six pounds in less than a week, then loses four of it in a few hours? So apparently, he's fine. Good to go. Ready to wrestle.

Brat. Mark my words, Son, in real life, there are consequences. Serious consequences. That's right. Consequences for cake. Mark my words.