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Blizzards and Flakes

As a born and bred, true Canadian hoser, I am accustomed to whatever winter madness Mother Nature throws my way. However, that doesn't mean I have to like it. No matter how cute I look stuffed into a parka and toque.

So when the temperatures plummeted 20 degrees in two hours and the weather channel called for blizzard like conditions, I was unfazed. Annoyed, but unfazed. I just hunkered down around the fire; cuddled with some blankets and whined over who would have to stand outside with my pansy ass dog to ensure he piddled outside and not on my laundry basket like he did the night before.

(Gosh I love my dog.)

Eventually the wind quit howling and the snow stopped falling and Nature quit being a bitch. Or so I thought. Until I took the damn dog out to do his business. (That will be the last time I draw straws. Next time I'll just arbitrarily assign a potty minder for the pooch.)

It was a balmy -47 degrees. That is -53 degrees for you Yankee folks. In other words, it was facking cold and poor Nixon couldn't pee fast enough to prevent little icesicles forming around his willy.

Its times like this I really miss prancing around topless on a Mexican beach, let me tell ya.

Neither the dog nor I could get into the house fast enough. Neither of us felt like communing with the great outdoors as we breathed in air so cold it felt like our lungs were on fire. As I was brushing the snow off the dog and my boots, the phone rang.

Shit. It's the school board. That is not good news, I thought to myself, as I answered the phone.


"Hi, may we speak to the breeder of Fric and Frac, please?"

"This is her," I responded while fervently hoping they were calling to tell me my children had won scholarships based on sarcasm skills and not actual academic merit.

"This is the ruler of the educational system out here in ButtFark Alberta. Please be advised that weather conditions have prompted the cancellation of the school busses tomorrow morning and seeing as your husband nominated you behind your back to be the moron who has to call all the parents on the bus route, now would be a good time to dig out that emergency phone list you buried in your junk drawer and proceed to inform all other parents."

"Do I have to?" I argued.

"Yes." Shit. Think fast Tanis, there is still a chance to turn this ship around, I thought to myself.

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What??? I have to spend another day with those kids of mine???? Say it isn't so...

"But you don't understand. I just spent two whole days with my children. I took them ice-skating yesterday and sledding. All in one day. I had a Wii tournament for them and their friends. I had 13 children packed into my house for eight straight hours today and all I want is some peace and quiet. They NEED to go to school tomorrow. Can't you send a team of dog sleds or something?" I whined. Because everyone knows, WHINING works.

"We're sorry. But we are unable to comply with your request as all tax dollars ear marked for education are being used to buy the good coffee beans from Starbucks and pretty glitter pens."

"Dammit." Visions of spending the day relaxing in front of my computer vanished like a plate of cookies in front of Santa.

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As the responsible adult I am, I made peace with the situation and dug out phone list. And a bottle of wine. I needed fortification as I started making calls to parents to break their hearts and share my pain.

There is nothing worse than being the messenger. Everyone wants a piece of your ass to chew on. Over and over I explained that I did my best to change the school board's mind, but apparently icy, snow covered roads and dangerously low temperatures trump the parents need for peace and quiet.

Unfeeling school board bastards. How dare they put the safety of our children first.

"But I just spent the day shuffling my kids to FIVE hockey games this weekend," one woman whined. "I need a break."

I feel for you sista.

"But I've got to get to work and I don't have a sitter for the kids. Can you do it?" one man asked.

Not on your freaking life. I've already got to find a way to hide from two munchkins. I don't need to add more to the mix.

After robbing all those families of their joy, I vowed to find some new sucker to take over the responsibility of being the emergency caller on snow days. Life is too short to grow this many gray hairs at once.

It's not worth being ostracized at school events by a mob of angry parents who haven't forgotten YOU were the jerk who, by bearing bad news, ruined their lives on a snowy cold Monday.

I'm trying to find the silver lining in the snow day this morning as my children prance around with joy and generally step on my last remaining nerve.

The good news is, I don't have to take Nixon out to pee. It's still -47 out there with wind-chill.

The bad news is, my children may turn into ice pops if I force them outside to shovel the deck play so I can blog in peace.

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Ah screw it. They're young. They'll thaw fast.

Maybe snow days aren't so bad after all.

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Reader Comments (58)

Whoa, I don't think I've ever been in weather that cold. Brrrrr. It makes me need a spiked coffee. Or mulled wine. Or something else hot and "calming". And by the way I just learned a new word. I've never heard of a "toque" before. Cool... now I can impress all my friends!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbsolutelyBananas

I hate snow days with a passion only rivaled by my hatred of Fanny Packs and Hilary Duff.

It's never too early to bust out the vodka, my dear.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Becky

This cold snap is seriously facking ridiculous. I don't remember the last time it was this bloody cold. I too am stuck inside the house with my wee spawn. I hope for the sake of your sanity the buses are running tomorrow (sadly, mine are too young to ship off to school - boo!)

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterandi

Now is the perfect time for jello jigglers. The green ones are for the kids and the pretty orange (spiked with vodka) ones are for the grownups. Let the dog fend for itself!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

They need to start a notification system up there like we have down here. The school board decides to close school, they notify the television and radio stations and put it up on their website, TV and radio announce it for all to hear, and no one has to be the messenger.

Oops, I just thought of something. You...you don't live so far north you don't have semi-local TV and radio, do you? If so, I'm sorry, that sucks.

Hope you don't freeze solid. You do have enough oil, don't you?

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl

Wow! -53??? I get the shivers if it's 30 here. Of course, I'm in the South and it doesn't get very cold here. You know, if I were you I may have to invest in a doggy litter box. :)

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

By the way... our school has an automated notification system for events like that. We have bad weather/tornados down here. We receive automated voice recordings to our home or cell numbers. It's very convenient.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

You Canadians I tell ya'...us fine Wisconsin folk know your pain, we've been in the subzero zone for three weeks now and it has been hellish. As a homeschooler though, I am always dealing with the rugrats, who at the moment are testing each other's strength by hitting each other harder and harder.
Yes, children do thaw faster than us, and are easy to please with ht chocolate.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPenelope Anne

I love those photos of you! With all your hotness, don't you have the power to heat things up around there?

January be gone.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJana

Ha Ha,,,,too funny !! My lovely offspring are grown now,,,,well , I still have 1 more in high school,,,,but damn do I remember those days. All the other moms were soooooo happy to have them home. The only good thing was I didn't have to get up and make their lunches.
Had a few neighborhood "snow parties",,,no kids invited !

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPhilly

I feel your pain.

I spent one winter in Montreal... over a 28 day stretch the HIGH was -20C... four "farking" (I love that euphemism) weeks where the BEST temperature was -20C.

And that was without windchill.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSciDi Dad

the only thing good about a snow day is not having to drive carpool ;)

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterali

Wow! It's around 60 degrees here today in the sunny South. I wore a t-shirt to run errands this afternoon. Jessie's walking around in flip-flops....

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBennie

Here I thought I was safe from this shit on the coast of California.
Today was declared a "snow day" and only for MY kids school.
It's fucking conspiracy I tell you.
Thanks for sharing my pain. I had the EXACT same "Shit" expression on my face this morning.
*le sigh*

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McKenzie

Another reason not to get a dog who is shorter than the snow drifts.

Poor baby. It was something like 35 degrees here. That's, what? Like 70 degrees for you? ;)

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Chicky

Dude, is his willy OK?

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlli ~Mrs. Fussypants

What? You get advanced notice that the buses are canceled?
In our district, the rule was: if it -40 at 6:00 am OR the wind chill makes it feel like -40, buses for that day are canceled. There is no advanced warning. It's on a day-to-day basis.
It's the lazy man's way out, and the "fuck the parents who need to find a sitter" method.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Mustard

Oh dear god, how I hate those surprise days - as a librarian, when the place is suddenyl overrun and I have no plans to deal with it. Gah.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkittenpie

Call me lucky, or an A-hole, for being from Southern California and never experiencing temps less than 30 F. I'd lock the dog in the bathroom and let him/her do her business on the floor. Make the kids clean it up later. I don't do cold.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJason

That is a really cold dog.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHRH@JuneCleaverNirvana

Whining never works for me either. I hope you made it through the day.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjanethesane

And that is why I don't have a dog. All I have to do is shove the cat away from the vent because she's hogging all the heat.
Is it June yet?

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkgirl

I Googled this just for you:

2 oz Scotch whisky
1 tsp sugar
5 1/2 oz boiling water

Place a sugar cube or equivalent into an Irish coffee cup or mug. Fill 2/3 full with boiling water. Add Scotch whisky and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon, dust with nutmeg, and serve.

(If school closes again, double the whiskey.)

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterArkie Mama

Would you hate me if I told you that as PTA President I used to writhe with joy the few times that I could manage delegate things like this away from me and onto someone else?????


Cut me some slack, it was one of the few perks I had. When something sucked? ALWAYS MY FAULT. AND...I was always the one that had to run around picking up the pieces when people dropped the ball and thus ended up doing things like camping out at the school over easter break helping to paint a mural because nobody else showed up.

Still...You have my deep empathy. Having been in the fuckitbucket seat many times, I understand your pain.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLoralee

I've had two sick kids at home for a week and a half. I truly feel your pain.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergorillabuns

That's extraterrestrially cold.


January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterslouching mom

Well, I think we live in the same facking area.

Edmonton, anyone?

There was no f-ing way I was venturing out to go to two university classes today. Probably couldn't get out my door b/c of drifts!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDani

(Head bowed in shame) I will now quit whining because my jeans got wet walking across the parking lot today, in the rain, in San Diego

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

I haven't had a fucking (I actually typed funchin - which I now like better) snow day since I moved to Canada. Trust MY family to pick Vancouver.

Seriously....I don't recall our school EVER shutting because of the snow. Bomb threats - yes...snow....not so much.

I don't even remember school in Edinburgh shutting down because of snow..despite ALL buses not working because of white out conditions and blizzards blasting of the north sea. They felt you should STILL make it to school no matter what.

We haven't even had enough snow for tobogganing..though apparently about 2 km away...they did. Go figure.

My dog won't pee or poo outside when it rains. Ironic for a dog living on the WET COAST!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrunchy carpets

Glad that the bastardly school canceling/dream crushing tyrants aren't only in my neck of the woods.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Tomorrow my kids go back to school. In 100 degree weather. After 6 weeks at home.

Forgive me if I am feeling less than charitable at your situation.

But I might tomorrow after I have run around the house screaming at the top of my lungs 'I am free! I am free!' and eat my body weight in chocolate.

11 more hours.......

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Now I know how my mom felt when we had school days! Ha!

I can't believe how cold it gets up there. I'll take our 15 degrees anyday!!! At least it's above zero!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Cubicle's Backporch

Dave went out for suds and wings last night and I sat on the couch with my book, the television tuned to the Weather Channel, because why yes, I am a huge fucking loser. I heard that the temperatures are supposed to be totally, insanely cold in your neck of the nation so I won't tell you that here in my neck of the nation, it's PLUS FIVE and all the snow is melting.

Oh, and this? “We’re sorry. But we are unable to comply with your request as all tax dollars ear marked for education are being used to buy the good coffee beans from Starbucks and pretty glitter pens.� Cracked my shit UP.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermamatulip

North Dakota here.. sucks too. The wind is howling today and the actual temp is 11 below and the wind chill is 38 below and the first thing the kids said.. is there school today? oh yeah.. there is school or someone will be punished!! Bus was twenty minutes late but yes there is school!!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

aaaah! All these North American posts about minus 50 wind chills. *Thank YOU*! Ok, so it might be grey and drizzly outside here in Engerland, but it's mild and temperate, and my face doesn't crack off when I leave the door. A post with pictures of budding daffodils for you tomorrow, my love (snort!)

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

I just wanted to let you know during my compliment instead of comment day that I've lurked on your site for quite awhile and really enjoy your sense of humor and your writings about child rearing. I've got five and I pretty much share your feelings. SLAVE LABOR! Also your posts about Bug are beautiful and touching. Thank you!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Jenn

When I called my son's school this morning for the second straight day to report his absence due to the fact that that his bus wasn't running I think they were pissed off at me. Like as though I should walk the hour it would take to get his to school with a pain in the ass whingy 11 year old, a 3 year old and a baby. Whatever. I suppose I could have asked my husband to leave work to take him, but I have not yet reached the point where I am ready to lock him in his room. Tomorrow maybe. But I assume he will be at school tomorrow, seeing as they aren't predicting weather in the -40s.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Living in the south, I have never been in -53 weather. I curl up and hibernate at 25. Our school system just calls the local news station to inform them who will be out of school that day. It usually is announced, oh, 5 minutes before leaving to take the kid to school. I remember praying school would get out as a kid. Now I know why my mom always cringed if the weatherman said snow. Of course we are more likely to get out for ice, tornadoes and high winds than snow. I feel for you though. I am glad I'm not there. Of course there has been mention of high winds today, so I may have to eat my words.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjustmylife

Have them go clean your bathtub. After that toilet backup story, I think it still could use another washdown.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbove Average Joe

It's no jacket warm here. Neener, neener, neener!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterOh, The Joys

OK, I will say in advance that I am sorry for the sarcastic post that follows, but it has to be said. LOL So slap me if you dont like it.

With that public announcement over, lets get down to brass tacks.

A woman that wears a nose ring must have a reason for doing so, and here is my take. Mr Man has a similar ring at the base of his manpole, and he threads a piece of 80 pound monofilament line through his, attached the end to yours and slowly reels you in to him, then he ties it off when you are suitable positioned to do, well, you know. LOL

But then again, maybe its worn for the sheer GTFOOMF attitude, and that is all!

I go for the former, what you say!


OK, that tawdy bit of poor taste post is over, I will go back to my usual poor taste posts from here out. That is all!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLarryLilly

Ah, Snow Days. That's what I miss about the North East. Here I have to pray for a flood and be certain that I've stocked up on liquor first.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMinnie

No one would have been mad at you over the phone if they could have just.seen.that.awesome.face.

I have some kind of huge crush on your face.

But I'm sure your ass isn't half bad either.


Oh yeah. FUCK temperatures like that.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastic Mom

I get the feeling you live in Alberta, and I am of the same sentiments as you are about this %^&*$ing weather. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay home under the covers eating and watching reruns of Friends...though I really wanted to.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Gah. Gotta love Canadian winters.
But nobody calls me! What's up with that? I have to drag my ass outta bed at 6am, check the website, the news, the radio and try to figure out what's going on.
I like your system better.
Can you call me on a no-bus day please? :D

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ.

ok, did i miss something? If they canceled school why didn't they just announce it on the local tv and radio (or do you not have local tv and radio in Canada? JK! I used to ask my Canadian friends stupid questions like that all the time) Anyway- I don't get why you had to call everyone?

I thought it got cold here, YIKES!! ANd I can't believe that guy asked you to babysit!!!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSister Sassy

Yup Edmonton is just a cold WTH I left Winnipeg for this??? ButtFarkAlberta! pmsl, good one.

The crappy part about living in the city is the kids can still go to school, not mine though my lazy ass wasnt taking them out in this weather. Well I did one today as she is down the block and LOVES school, the teenager well she didnt balk when I said she could stay home.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjacquie

Wait. -47 degrees. Like 47 degrees below zero? You'll have to pardon my sad, U.S. education (no child left behind!), because I didn't even know that was possible. Except like in a freezer or some other synthetic situation. Goodness gracious, what kind of witch science is going on in Canada!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea


you are up for a bloggie. work it girl, work it.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Last week inn my teeny, tiny town, some idiot thought it wise to call in a death threat to the Super Intendant for calling school off. True story. He must have been left in charge of calling the people on his children's bus route. haha.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

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