The Karma Chill is in Negative Digits

Driving in Snow

I’ve survived three commutes, so far, since the big snowstorm on Sunday dropped eight inches of the deceptively gorgeous white stuff upon us.  Even more is predicted tomorrow and I’m seriously thinking of quitting my job so I can stay home until Spring.

Except if I do, I’ll quickly be living in my car, which kind of negates the sense of safety I was going for.

It isn’t a long drive—eleven miles or so, depending on the route and whether or not I’m dropping kids off at school—but it has hills and valleys and treacherous snowpack in most of the spots that require turning or breaking or playing chicken with gravity. Plus there’s that mile-long bridge, currently coated with ice, right in the middle of it.

I can drive in snow and with one exception,* I’m not bad at it. I’m one of those slow and steady drivers who give themselves plenty of time so they won’t have to rush—and who send all those other drivers who assume they’re the only ones who know how to handle winter conditions (e.g., floor it like it ain’t happening) literally around the bend and sometimes into one of the ditches or retaining walls we grow along the sides of the roads around here.**

Snow CommuteBut that kind of focused attention takes a lot out of me. I save up all the stress and horror and road rage and impatience and let it go all at once after I’ve arrived at my destination,*** leaving me in an odd state of twitching lethargy and strident vocabulary overshare.

I’ve been told it’s amusing to watch—primarily by those who purport to love me—but while I’ll do a lot to make people smile, I’d rather wear a clown nose and burp Yankee Doodle Dandy, which at least has the advantage of embarrassing the kids.^

I’m nearly to the point where I’m crossing my fingers that Janie’s cold will worsen juuuuust enough to keep her out of school tomorrow, so I can stay home and take care of her without blowing any vacation days.

I’m sure she won’t mind supporting me in this endeavor.


(Yes, you do. Lying is beneath you.)


I wouldn’t worry. I’d jump aboard and make ’em drive me to work.



PSST: To further fuel my state of nerves, my stats are jumping today for no discernible reason. Normally, I’d be thrilled, but as no specific post is being singled out and no referring sites are listed, I’m forced to assume that either someone’s mouse is stuck or I’m under investigation for something for which ignorance is no excuse.

So if you could please make sure your computer is working properly, check my financial records to prove it’s not worth paying a process-server to deliver the subpoena, and/or just leave a comment to tell me why you dropped by, I’d appreciate it.

You don’t have to STOP, by the way; just let me know, please. I have a writer’s imagination and I’m already chanting ATTICA! ATTICA! under my breath.

Thank you!



*Our driveway. It’s a short slope and not very steep, but I can’t manage it in snow or ice without slipping, sliding, or spinning my wheels to the point that I smell burning rubber.

**As long as I’m alive to rack up the negative karma points, I’ll continue to rack ‘em up, five miles below the speed limit.

***Or halfway up my driveway to my destination, like last night. After three tries, I gave up, parked, stomped into the house and confessed my inability to get my car into the garage. My MIL and daughters looked at me in disbelief and told me my husband never has any trouble. I KNOW THAT. And I was grateful that he brought my car in when he arrived home—and secretly vindicated when I could hear him spinning my tires the whole time.

^Or one of them. Sunny is a great musical burping tutor (That sentence is grammatically correct no matter how you parse it, by the way).


Conspiracy, Virus, or Alien Invasion: When Good kids Go . . .Better?

My children have been Up To Something all weekend.


It started Friday, my day off, when I woke up from what was supposed to be a brief after-lunch snooze to discover that it was 5:30 pm.  I stumbled into the living room and found my  progeny playing quietly, together, with the TV off.

I stared at them for a minute, then shook off my confusion and asked why they hadn’t woken me with one of their usual methods*  when they arrived home from school.

“Daddy and Grandma said we could, but you looked tired this morning, Mom,” said Janie.

“Yes, Mommy” said Sunny, patting my hand.  “You need your rest.”

Um, okay.  “Do you have homework, Jane?”

“Five pages of my French workbook.  I’ve done two already.  May I do the rest over the weekend, please?”

May she?

“Um, okay.”  I stumbled off to make dinner,  disquieted, but not yet alarmed.


 When I came home from work the next day, I was greeting with excited hugs and the ten words guaranteed to strike despair in my housecleaning-hating heart:  “Mommy!  Come see what we did in the playroom!”

I had visions of a tent city made of every sheet in the house draped over all the chairs they could manage to lift or drag. . .   or maybe the entire contents of our craft closet melded into a free-form modern art structure dripping glitter-glue onto the rug.  Or maybe Janie and Sunny had painted masterpieces with their easels set up on the same rug.

But I went.

The room . . . was tidy.  Neat.  Organized.  “You did this?”

“Yep!” said Janie.

You did this.”

“Uh-huh. It took me a long time.  Daddy helped with the vacuum cleaner, but I pushed it a little.  Sunny’s job was throwing all her toys in her doll cradle—I sorted them out.  I’m going to do our bedroom tomorrow. i would have done it today, but I got tired.”

“Um, Wow.  I’m really impressed, honey.  Good job!  Did you get any of your French done?  Or are you saving it for tomorrow?”

“Two pages.  Only one  to go.  I’ll do it after church.”  She scampered off.

I turned to my husband.  “Uh . . . ”

“Wondering if these are the right kids?”

“Yeah.  How did you get them to do it?”

“It was all Janie’s idea.”

“Really?  What do you think she’s up to?”

He rubbed his chin.  “I have no idea.”


 The next day, both kids were angels during church.  Janie made me spoon puppets during Sunday School.  Neither groused when we we went straight home without stopping at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.  Janie did her remaining homework with the merest hint of complaint.

And when I asked them if they wanted a snack, they asked for carrots.

“When is the other shoe going to drop?” I asked my husband later, as I left for work.**

He shook his head.

When I came home that evening,***  the floor of the kids’ bedroom was not only visible, but I was able to walk across it barefoot without risking serious injury.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s better,” said Janie when I applauded in bewilderment.  “Sometimes the clean me has to tell the messy me to move over.”

I hadn’t known there was a clean Janie.

Later, they only complained a little about bath time and went to bed with less than the usual amount of fuss.  They didn’t even ask for drinks of water or complain when I shoved the thermometer in their ears, just in case there was a Good Behavior Bug going around.

If it hadn’t been so cold, I would have grabbed my flashlight and hunted for Pods in the backyard.


And they were lovely this morning, too—Janie the UnMorning Person had her hair brushed and shoes on before she came to breakfast.  And Sunny ate all of her toast and asked for more—even the crusts.

They shared the comics.

So, tell me, do you think we’re about to be hit up for something major or is this just one of those Eye of the Storm things?

Is there a Good Behavior Virus^?  And if so, can it be isolated, generated, and put in a mister or something?

Because, despite my better judgement, I’m starting to like this . . .


*For example, climbing on the bed, getting nose to nose with me and hollering, “MAAAA-meeeeee.  Wake UUUUUuuuuup!”  Or using inoculation, which consists of prodding me in the arm with one sharp little digit until I give up or they poke through to the other side—and no, I’ve never tested their patience that far.

**I worked all weekend.  Doens’t happen often, but it did put the kibosh on AWP.  Next year . . .

***I little later than usual, as I’d gone to hear Grace play a solo at a music celebration. She rocked it as much as a hymn medley for two octaves of handbells can be rocked, which is actually quite a bit.