Day One: meteorologists pointed to their green screens at wide swaths of colorful pink and blue bands. Confidently, excitedly, they illustrated, John Madden-style, their predictions of 1-3, 3-6, and 6-10 inches of snow for the southern United States. Like good hunting dogs, we caught the scent of an impending winter storm. My Twitter feed filled with humorous tweets about the 2017 southern snowpocalypse. We reminisced, oohing and ah’ing about past winter storms that we’d ridden out (cue eye rolling) at home.
Day Two: grocery store shelves emptied quickly: milk, bread, and ground beef, gone like the wind. Home improvement stores had a great run on gas generators, snow shovels, and sleds. True story: in line at Target (with my own bread in hand) the cashier observed that every one of us in her line had wine in our carts. We went to bed Friday night as excited as children on Christmas Eve, eager to awaken to a winter wonderland.
It’s been 2 days, 12 hours and 32 minutes since I heard the first pellets of sleet hit our bedroom windows. That was the moment I knew we’d been foiled by Mother Nature yet again. All night long I listened to sounds all too familiar – the dreaded “wintry mix”. Daybreak Saturday was veiled in the gloomiest fifty shades of gray that Christian and Anastasia could ever envision.
Still we held on to hope that a soft blanket of white, fluffy snow would arrive by mid-day. Something snow-related did show up but it was a stingy, thin second cousin once removed. Local newscasters did the best they could with what they had to work with. Videos of children sliding down hills on an ugly coating of ice and grass streamed on social media and the 6pm news.
Day Three: Saturday it was “fun” to stay inside by the fireplace, a pot of Brunswick stew simmering on the stove. It was a cheat day: eat what you want, as much as you want, a no makeup, yoga pants, UGG boots day. It was a hopeful day: no need to exercise because we’d be playing outside in the snow after while. We overdosed on FB, Twitter, Instagram and binge-watched The Affair.
Day Four: Sunday was a restless day. The puppy and cat slept way more than they should Saturday and rewarded us with a 5:15am wake-up call. Iced in with no hope of melting while the temperature stubbornly stayed in the teens all day. A gentle reminder that this is the South where our MO is flip flops and Target runs. Restlessness led to boredom led to housecleaning: Vacuum, mop and scrub, oh my!
We obsessed about food like bears before hibernation. Frank braved the icy deck to grill ribs. My obsession turned to how much weight I must have gained in the past 36 hours and I retreated to my treadmill.
Sunday night was all about fine wine, good food, good music and a 7 lb puppy that made one lap around the porch before she turned paws down on going outside again. I sang praises for three seasons of The Affair as the work and school cancellation notices scrolled down my monitor.
Day Five: Monday and I’m Done-day! I dressed up for no one but myself because I simply couldn’t look at my pasty white, bare face in the mirror again. Hair, makeup, jewelry: all dressed up and nowhere to go. Frank slipped and slid his way to his shop with my wifely support. I think he would have gone mad from cabin fever otherwise.
Facebook reported on friends whose cars were in ditches or worse. Local news media, police and fire spokespersons were on a message loop to stay home and stay safe.
However, we Southerners are a culture fueled by a mixture of laissez faire and FOMO (fear of missing out). The trick to breaking free from house arrest is winning a slipping, sliding game called Side Roads vs Main Roads – Southern Version. Freedom is just on the other side of the highway. It is a perilous journey by your neighbors’ mailboxes and the cars they parked on your street. To the victor go the spoils: fresh air, a change of scenery, a stranger’s face, Starbucks and glory hallelujah, something different to eat!
And, my friends, here is the reason I love my southern life. Tomorrow, no Day Six for me, no indeed. Tomorrow Mother Nature will re-calibrate her thermostat and the ice will melt: Tuesday, high of 44 degrees, Wednesday, high of 61 and by Friday, flip flops weather with a high of 71. Latergram.