Never doubt a dog in the snow

Never #doubt a dog in the snow -

“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” – Kin Hubbard

The white death dropped over the weekend, covering my home and the surrounding area in a blanket of ice and snow, which melted and only to become more ice. Lamont and I debated how or dog would take the change in weather. I maintained that having spent the first few years of her life as a stray, she would turn a nose up at the stuff now as there are reasons I refer to her as Her Royal Highness.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time - aka before
It seemed like such a good idea at the time – aka before

Opening the door, it was my intent to take a photograph of her reaction to the wintery mix and quickly return inside. I stepped out on our porch wearing only a set of pajamas. Her Royal Highness followed. She took one dignified step forward. Then another. Her nose touched white stuff on the ground. There was no bounding around. No rolling around, digging, or otherwise acting mystified. I knew it! Snap went my camera. “Okay, let’s go back inside,” I called and turned expecting her to pass me, only too happy to return to the warmth indoors.

Her Royal Highness had other ideas.

The frozen ground crunched as she trotted down the street as if it was a beautiful 80 degrees F rather than 20. “Where are you going?” I called. “Get back here now.” I should have saved my frozen breath.

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” – Mark Twain

With no other choice in front of me, I took off after her, bare feet and all.

Her Royal Highness looked up and wagged her tail misinterpreting my presence to mean this stroll around the grounds was now sanctioned trotted further. I shouted her name a few more times. She sniffed a bush. My feet burnt with the cold as I closed the distance between us and could only imagine what I must look like to my neighbors – my hair, still wild from sleep, was now covered in ice crystals and bit of snow. My toes leaving tiny naked prints where I ran. I called some more, repeating the command to return while infusing my voice with my best mom tone. Her Royal Highness, still the embodiment of confidence, sniffed another bush as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.” – Zig Ziglar

Great. This is what I get for thinking she wouldn’t be able to handle a bit of cold.

dog in a blanket
After – aka blankets that weren’t offered to me

I was still several feet away when she suddenly turned around and walked, most regally, back to our yard, up the stairs, and inside where she promptly buried herself under a blanket. My boys, celebrating her return, joyously covered her with even more blankets. She burrowed deep and was asleep long before the feeling completely returned to my toes. Clearly, I won’t be making a living wage on the casino floor anytime soon.

“A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” – Marilyn Monroe

There are a few lessons to be learned here. There are the obvious ones: don’t let you pet off leash in an open space, even if cars aren’t driving and only nuts like yourself are out and about, unless you are confident they will respond to voice commands or always wear proper footwear even if you only think you will be in the elements for a split second, but the bigger one here is there is no glamour to be had in publicly doubting another and even less fame in doubting one’s self.

*quotes courtesy of Photography is my own.

Law and Order: Snowman Victims Unit

Snow day in Canada

As mentioned previously, US Southerners do not handle snow well. The mere threat can send entire cities into chaos. In my hometown we usually see one or two winter storms per year consisting of the occasional flurry, but freezing rain is more the norm. This year we saw several storms back to back. The snow from one storm would melt only for the weather to double down on its next hand. Schools were closed (again). Garbage service was cancelled. Those restricted to a milk and bread diet were in danger of starving.

You might say it has been a trying month.

After being housebound off and on for several days, my family decided we had to escape. Bundled within an inch of our lives, we faced the cold and valiantly made our way down the front steps. The most recent storm had resulted in a sticky snow, perfect for making snowmen. We did just that. Soon our snowman was close to my height, which is an impressive snowman height for our part of the country (though not so impressive for a human), and was positioned proudly in the front of the yard for all the neighbors to see.

The next day, temperatures (finally) began creeping back up and the snow began to disappear from the rooftops, but most snowpeople were still standing. Most, but not our giant. Its three sections lay in pieces like large white bolders on the lawn. My sons were disappointed, but they understood that all snowmen eventually melt (Valar Meltghulis). I told them he was too big to last. Then 6 pointed out that there were words written in the snow at the base of our yard; “R.I.P Snowman.”

snowman crime scene
Image by Robert Donovan via Flickr

I suddenly realized that our snowman may not have met his end through natural causes. He might have been murdered. Cue the Law and Order gavel sound.

But why? What possibly could have been the motivation behind such a crime? Did my snowman make eyes at some other snowman’s snowoman? Did the local architectural review board deem our giant an eyesore? (They don’t take kindly to additions in the front yard without proper permits.) Did the roving pack of wild dogs deem our snowman a threat that had to be taken down? None of those theories explained the presence of the note.

Ultimately, I was forced to conclude that the culprit was likely some kid trying to impress his or her friends. He or she probably thought they were hilarious as they scratched their message into the snow. I’ll never understand why some people go out of their way to destroy something that they didn’t create, or otherwise spoil another’s experience as a mere whim.

There is nothing quite like muttering under your breath about those darn kids to make you feel old.

I have chosen to interpret this experience as a compliment. Out of all the snowmen on the street, they choose ours to destroy. Therefore it had to be special in some way. It caught an eye. It stood apart and was therefore worthy of notice if only for an afternoon.

As Dr. Seuss put it, “don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

The neighborhood kids might have taken our snowman out (and gotten away with it), but they won’t take us down. We did something right once. We can do so again. We will rebuild, we will make the next one bigger, stronger, or at least mightier than before, but…hopefully not until next year – I am so over this winter.


Snow days in the South

Snow on a Magnolia
Snow on a Magnolia (Photo credit: chucka_nc)

My day job office closed down promptly at five yesterday based on the mere threat of snow in the later portion of the evening. I received this announcement at the same time as I heard from my sister located in the northeast that she was leaving her office in white out conditions based on her own assessment of the situation rather than corporate mandate.

Empty shelves at a grocery storeA co-worker of mine advised that the local grocery stores had once again devolved into a state of lawless abandon as the hordes descended looking for that last loaf of bread or gallon of milk as if these two items were going to be the currency in the new economy. Many of these people are probably lactose intolerant or still trying for that carb free lifestyle, but that’s a minor detail. There could be an inch of snow on the ground. We must stock up!

Those of you reading this from your homes buried under feet of snow might be laughing at our over reaction, but you need to understand something about snow in the south – we don’t get it often, so its kind of a big deal. A number of years back, a dusting of snow hit the region which melted during the day only to refreeze again just as schools were letting out. The entire city came to a standstill. Kids were forced to sleep overnight in their schools as parents were unable to pick them up and buses couldn’t travel the roads. Of course this is nearly every child’s worst nightmare.

I was one of the lucky ones. It only took me two hours that day to drive two miles on the highway. The entire event made us realize that we as a city really were not prepared for mass evacuations. Zombie Apocalypse? Yeah, we’re in a lot of trouble. You probably should go ahead and write us off.

So today I write this cozy in my home after drinking a nice hot cup of coffee, my milk and bread levels just a fraction lower than they were yesterday. Thanks to the near 70 degree F temps we saw over last weekend, the winter weather we saw last night has kept itself nearly off the streets, and yet the office is on a two hour delay. Maybe there will be pizza there later? (A staple around here for any weather related emergency). It is expected to remain below freezing for the balance of the week, which should keep the grass covered by the little bit of snow we received, but life should return to normal tomorrow.

Yes, you non-southerners might laugh at us for how we react to snow fall, just like the westerners laughed at us for how we reacted to the earthquake a few years back. That’s ok with me. There are somethings I am glad we don’t have to be used to. You are more than welcome to become more acquainted with hurricanes sometime.

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