Here in the Willamette Valley, we have two basic seasons. Sunny and dry (which lasts from July through September) and rainy (which spans the other 9 months). The rainy season comes with a variety of temperature ranging from hot and steamy to cold and clammy. Usually in the winter months, the temperature hovers in the low 40s. This makes true winter weather a huge event here. For days, there has been talk of an ice storm. General consensus was a slight chance of freezing rain around 6 PM with a definite chance closer to midnight. The children had plans to go downtown for a 5 PM performance of The Nutcracker with my uncle. I considered waiting til they left to run to the grocery store, but ultimately decided to go at 9 AM before Ritu left for work. The triple whammy of Sunday morning, pre-Christmas week, and storm anticipation left the grocery store grid-locked. As I was sailing through sans-children, I found it amusing, particularly the men standing around looking dazed, clutching grocery lists. A quick check of my cart confirmed my plan to snack the children through the bad weather. Popcorn? Check. Four boxes of orange jello? Check. (Some people make holiday sugar cookies. We made jello jigglers and cut them out with Chanukah cookie cutters. My holiday spirit is waning just a tad this year.) I stared long and hard at the Poptarts, but ultimately resisted.
At 1:00 David was up the street at a friend's house and Juliana was in the shower. I'd made arrangements for my uncle to pick them up at 4. Just then I heard a light clattering on the window. Sure enough, the freezing rain had started. Only it wasn't freezing rain at all. After a few minutes, it turned to snow. So, the small amount of freezing rain slated to start at 6 PM evolved into snow at 1 PM that lasted for about three straight hours. I don't think it's snowed here in 2 years. Personally, I love the snow. I especially love that it only happens every 2 years. But while it's here, I am absolutely delighted by it. I love how it looks swirling through the air and I love the soft scratchy sound it makes when it lands on the hydrangea.
Juliana and I immediately went outside. She ran around playing while I filled all the birdfeeders and moved the hummingbird feeder to the Inclement Weather Hummingbird Feeder Spot. (You have no idea the stress I am under to preserve the local hummingbird population when it snows.)
But now, do you see the problem? After a slew of back and forth phone calls, the plans for the Nutcracker were dashed. My few precious hours of peace, quiet and alone-time had evaporated. The only conclusion was that Mother Nature had personally conspired against me. (As my friend Donyal said, "You'd think a Mother would understand!")
The good news was that Ritu got to leave work early. The roads here were awful, despite the fact that only about a scant 1/2 inch of snow had accumulated. Here in the land of tree-huggers, they won't salt the roads as it gets into the runoff water and affects the salmon population. Instead we have like, 3 guys and a bucket of sand working to make the roads passable. What normally takes 15 minutes to drive took him over an hour and he was forced to ditch his car at the bottom of the neighborhood and walk the last half mile home.
Last night there were more dire warnings of the second wave of freezing rain headed our way. We woke this morning to temperatures above freezing and regular ol' rain falling. A bit anti-climactic for sure. But the jello jigglers turned out well. Just wish I'd had some vodka.