I hate cold weather. This is a fact that those who know me know all too well, for I tell them often enough. Once the cold, snow and ice have their strangle hold upon the land, I’m ready to fly south for the winter. Heck, even the thought of it coming is enough to prompt me to start wishing for Spring. Unfortunately, wishing does not make it so, and now here I am, in what I not so lovingly call the frozen tundra of the Northeastern US.

I have considered myself lucky this year, honestly. The cold came late. I admit I was hopeful that it wasn’t coming at all, until that ill fated day in early January when I realized it had. After putting on the coffee, I peered out the window at the thermometer, only to think there must be a mistake. It read –22˚ F. Yes, you did read that correctly. NEGATIVE 22˚ F. Without windchill. And to think I willingly moved here.

Of course, with the cold came the snow. With snow comes children with eyes aglow, asking their mother (which would be me) to help them find their snow boots, coats, mittens, and various other essentials, so they can venture outside into that vast white landscape. “I can’t wait to make a Snow Angel” exclaims one. “Just wait until my snow fort is done! I’ll put in a whole arsenal of snow balls to fight off intruders!” announces the next. Meanwhile, there I am on hands and knees, searching through the closet to find all of the things they need to make their snow dreams come true. Now, mind you, I seem to be the owner of the only closet on the face of the earth that has contained within it a black hole, the ending of which no earthly man can ever know. Searching within this endless vacuum is futile, for nothing lost within the confines of this closet will ever be found. I’m actually beginning to think that there is a correlation between it and my dryer, but that’s another story for another day.

Despite this, I still search, and miraculously I find enough gear to get them out the door and on their merry, snow filled way. After 30 minutes of sheer torture, I have gotten 6 children dressed in snow pants, boots, mittens, jackets, and hats…a record on my part! As I get up and breathe a sigh of relief (and congratulate myself on my speed and agility), I hear a very faint voice coming from somewhere behind me. As I whirl around, I see a small bundle, and this bundle seems to be talking. I crouch down in front of it, only to hear the dreaded words “Mommy, I have to go potty” come out from under the scarf over her mouth. At this point, I figure that I may as well make all of them go, so off comes all the gear, and into the bathroom go the kids. I deserve a medal after all of this.

Believe it or not, they attend to their business, get their gear back on and are out the door in a relatively short amount of time. The littlest ones are upstairs with their older siblings who didn’t want to go outside, and so things are……dare I say it?……QUIET. I go into the kitchen, put on water for tea, grab my book that I’ve been dying to start, and curl up on the couch.

Of course it’s too good to be true…not 2 minutes later, I hear a faint knocking on the door. When I open the door, a child waddles in (you have to understand that with that much “stuff” on, you cannot run or even walk. Waddle is the appropriate adjective). “Mommy…it’s too COLD to play outside!” “What about your snow fort, and the arsenal of snowballs?” I ask, hopefully. “But the snow is COLD!” comes the answer. Off comes the jacket, the hat and the mittens. The boots come off just in time for the baby to come back downstairs with his sister. He apparently likes how cold the snow is because he lays down on the floor to lick it off her boots. At least I won’t have to clean it up, I suppose.

Not too much longer, the rest of the troop makes their way in, each complaining about one thing or another. So as long as it took me to get everything on them, they’re back in, and all their stuff is piled onto the heater., in an attempt to dry what never had time to get wet in the first place.

“Yay! Mom put water on! Now we can have hot cocoa!”

SIGH! The hot cocoa is made; my tea long forgotten. As I sink into a chair, I hear that little voice again….

“Mom, may I go outside?”

Where did I put that brochure for Tahiti again?