I’m all about winter—I like tossing snowballs down my kids’ pants when they’re being fresh, or driving around with six inches of snow on the roof of my car and watching it fly off in the rearview mirror because it’s kind of cool and I’ve seen so many other idiots do it.
But right about now, I’m ready to cry uncle.
It’s not the snow—I grew up in a swamp that is still slowly sinking toward the earth’s core, so I’m thrilled to see so much of the white stuff here up north.
It’s the nasty stuff that’s really starting to get me down.
We’ve had three rounds of the stomach bug this year, with the threat of a new illness always lurking. I feel like hanging mop buckets around everyone’s necks because it would make the clean up so much easier. Three stomach bugs in one year equals six wake-up calls alerting me to yet another bedfull of barf.
I hate bedfulls of barf. Even my kids have conjured up their own rating scale.
“Mom! Q had a medium-sized barf!” my daughter shouted into my room at 3am, like the family weather girl reporting live, her breaking news disrupting the dazzling dream I was having about leading a bunch of elephants into a cheese warehouse.
A medium-sized barf is nothing to wave off with a groggy hand—that mess does not just come out in the wash like you wish it would. I’ve gotten way too good at blocking my gag reflex while rehearsing the dialogue for my next how-to YouTube video: it’s a tutorial for a homemade backyard bird feeder, for which there are just two steps—shake the contents of your kid’s stomach out into the bushes and go back to bed. This is the real reason why we need an ice scraper around the house, November through June.
Aside from the birds, we also support a whole rabble of rodents out there—squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, you name it—I’ve seen them bopping around my yard in the dead of winter, fully nourished by quesadillas, Grape Nuts, and a few other things my six year-old boy eats before hurling it all into his duvet.
I’ve never cared much for squirrels, but after this winter, I’ve found a new respect for these opportunistic critters—what with their habit of tunneling out crude little center-hall colonials underneath four feet of snow in my yard and surviving on bits of spew. They’re kind of like those relatives who happily slurp up other people’s leftovers or moldy cheese—
“WHAT?! This is perfectly fine!”
Soon, the snow will stop falling, the rodents will head back to their leafy homes in the bushes, and we’ll have ourselves a proper archaeological site on the lawn out back.
The dreaded stomach bug is good for something, you see.
We’ll take a magnifying glass out there and identify all the chipmunk toilet chambers we stepped over all winter while pegging each other with balled-up ice bombs. Don’t get me wrong—I’m no hardcore homeschooler chick—but playing Ranger Rick is the way to go when it stays light past dinner and my kids turn into mud-hopping sunbursts of energy.
We’ll just have to remember to get out there before my dog bolts around the yard, gorging on all the perfectly piled dung nuggets. If that happens, he’ll amble back inside and take a gassy nap, reminding me to open all the windows and let in the new season.
Either way, by the time spring finally arrives, I think we win.