Monday, January 19, 2015

"Snow Day" Stuff

As new transplants to NC, we often are asked why we chose to move here. When we tell people that climate was one of the top reasons, the responses vary--some will nod knowingly in full agreement, while others hasten to "warn" us about the unique perils of Southern Winters. One thing I've heard repeatedly is that just a wee bit of snow or ice can trigger a disproportionately disastrous situation, since the local government doesn't budget much for plows or traction-assisting materials like salt or sand. And I've also heard this little snippet of advice multiple times by now, delivered with utmost gravity: "Just because YOU may know how to drive on slick roads...doesn't mean everyone ELSE does! Your best bet is to just stay home!" (Duly noted..."Stay Out of the Path of Dangerous Drivers" sounds like a perfectly sane and healthy plan to me...)

We were also informed that the schools have been known to close...when the forecast calls for wintry precipitation. That's right, I'm not talking about when the frozen stuff actually happens, but BEFORE it even shows up. Hmmm..."Overly cautious"? Perhaps. But "safe"? You can't argue with that. In fact, we experienced our first such event just last week; meteorologists predicted freezing rain overnight, and the school system instantly decreed a 2-hour delay for the following morning, prior to the appearance of the first drop. So of course the kids were jazzed--without having to get out of bed and check what had occurred while they slept, they already knew they could turn off the alarms and wake up at their leisure.

Then we all met in the kitchen for coffee--or chocolate milk--and discovered (via text...and voicemail...and email....they do their darndest to keep you up to date on what's happening, I'll give them mad props for that at least) that the Powers That Be had reversed their previous decision...and closed schools down completely for the day. We gazed at each other, bemused...then peered out at the porch...where a barely visible, wafer thin, fragile crust of...well, you could barely even dignify it with the name "ice", really...lay innocently on the bricks. About the same time, a car passed our house, managing the road with no apparent difficulty, climbing the hill smoothly and without evidence of sliding on the road surface. Huh. Okay, then: First North Carolina Snow Day it is!

It certainly didn't qualify as a Winter Wonderland by any stretch of the imagination, and it was pretty cold and damp the boys devised a way to entertain themselves, indoor-style. They worked together--I'm sorry, I meant to say they "formed a collaborative team"--to design and construct an elaborate edifice known as...Yellow Toad's Bar and Grill. For this endeavor they reclaimed the large box my exercise bike had been delivered in, and borrowed other necessary items such as an X-Acto knife and duct tape (naturally) from the accumulated tools and whatnot in our home collection.

During their interview for this profile (ha!) the brothers admitted that they encountered a few...communication breakdowns...when one of them didn't quite understand what the other was trying to convey...generally in terms of the architectural plan for each of the individual spaces, I'm told. But as far as the Big Picture goes: on a day when they were trapped inside, they spent a number of hours together, mostly peacefully, using their skills and ideas to produce something pretty cool.

Team WestEnders, Junior Division, hard at work....or play!
I love seeing what they create when they combine their brains and talents. I'm especially pleased when they use those considerable assets for Good, rather than Mischief. And perhaps most of all, I'm thrilled when they get to have Bonus Brother Bonding Time...while I get to have an extra cup of java in peace. And then....they'll return to the hallowed halls of academia (or, you know, "Middle and High School")...and as luck would have it in the mercurial season known as Chapel Hill Winter, the relatively brief cold snap will come to an end, and we're due to be treated to some delightful upper-50* January days...looks like everyone's a winner!

Detail of the "bar area" (yes, those are the
kitchen knobs we replaced...repurposed!)
The "Boss's computer station". 

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