The amaryllis bulb from Christmas is beginning to bloom, bringing a little brightness and green to my windowsill, but outside the snow is coming down fast. John and Sam are out shoveling and we are in the middle of a predicted three-day storm that has extended the three-day weekend from school that my kids already had to four days—and counting.
We may have dodged the trend of coastal storms that have dumped on New York City and Boston, but still it was a long January. And, at this rate, all bets are off on how long the school spring vacation will actually be—with “snow days” falling like the dominos that my kids line up across the book shelves and down the stairs in all their new-found free time.
In my house there is always something of a contest (a little like the Red Sox vs. the Yankees) over who will have off from school when the roads are bad. We have to explain over and over again that Sullivan West School District, where my husband John works, is just plain bigger than the Hancock School District, where we live and our kids go to school.
It is a very long and drama-filled two hours when Hancock has only a two-hour delay but Sullivan West is cancelled for the day—as is more often the case. Such injustice is met with much complaint directed at the running alphabetical list of cancellations at the top of the television screen.
But all this angst is nothing to compare to the glee of a full day off to fill with sledding, Monopoly or movies (provided the power stays on) and time to eat icicles and snow drizzled with maple syrup. Not to mention a fair amount of time for bickering and boredom.
This week, the added time off is welcome, as we are getting ready for 4-H public presentations. This annual event is dedicated to promoting public speaking. County 4-H members give a demonstration or present an illustrated talk on a topic of their choice for a judge. I’ve seen a lot through the years—on jellyfish, on puppies, on pest insects and “how to fry an egg.” Then there is the classic and ever-popular illustrated talk, “Parts of a Horse.” This year my son plans to talk about beavers and my daughter is practicing a comic demonstration on how to fold a paper “cootie catcher”—the ubiquitous origami fortune tellers of elementary school students. Those are the same students who say that the trick to getting a day off from school is to wear your pajamas inside out with white socks to bed. (Will someone else please tell those kids to knock it off!)
As for me, I am perusing the pages of the seed catalogs—looking at bright glossy photos of eggplants and sunflowers and contemplating a seed order with the hope that this year’s garden will be better than last year’s attempt. It is easy to be hopeful for eggplants in February.