Surviving in Subzero.

Thanks to the subzero temperatures, my entire family is holed up inside the house.

Due to a teacher in-service day, my kids were already off school, so it’s not unanticipated. But the cold, and the call that there will be no school tomorrow, either, wasn’t quite in the books. (And thanks to the news that the teacher in-service was cancelled due to the cold, I know we’ll have another school-free day in the near future.)

Living in Illinois, snow in January is to be expected. You plow it, blow it, shovel it, and salt it. You pile on layers, stopping short of a complete inability to move your arms, and you toss the kids outside to play in it.

But this cold – it presents an entirely different set of problems.

My faucets are running so they don’t freeze. Due to the constant trickling noise, there isn’t a room in the house I can hide where I don’t feel the need to pee.


It’s too cold for the dog to be outside for longer than 5 minutes, or her paws start to freeze.  She does not care about that if she corners a squirrel in the tree, so the only way to get her inside is to bundle up yourself and chase her in, bribing her with treats before you both suffer frostbite.

If either of the kids comes within sound’s reach of the other, they spontaneously combust.

However, if you have planned well (and I AM a planner), it’s not too bad (constant need to wee notwithstanding).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT one of those moms who gushes on about how they hate break to end, as they’ve enjoyed every last second with their perfect children.  My kids like school and by the end of a longer break they are as ready to go back as I am to send them back, but only because they miss hanging out with their friends and I miss peeing without interruption.

I’m also not one of those moms wailing dramatically about another dreaded snow day, and however do we keep the kids entertained. My kids are usually happy to have a day with NO expectations of having to go anywhere and the only requirements being that they make their bed and read at some point, so they happy to just chill.

They also know that the minute the mutter the phrase “I’m bored”, I WILL hand them the obviously named “Mom, I’m Bored” jar, which is filled with 40% fun things, and 60% chores. (And unbeknownst to them, I add the days chores to the top of the jar.)


No, I don’t hear I’m bored at my house, and if I can keep the squabbling at a tolerable level, well, then it’s just like any given day.

Yes, everyone is still in their pajamas. We are the great, comfortable, unwashed mass. My biggest challenge is making sure that the kids don’t spend the entirety of the day  playing Minecraft or Minion Rush, but as long as they read for a while, and finish up any homework, I’m not going to sweat it. (Mostly because I’ll be camped out on my laptop or with my journal, writing away while their iPods beep and ping.)

We’ll break out a board game later, and maybe find an old movie on Netflix that we can watch together (keeping plenty of snacks nearby so that mouths will be full and no snarky comments can be made between siblings.) Something so that we aren’t total parental failures at managing our kids free time.

And so long as we don’t run out of snacks or toilet paper, life is good.



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