So here it is -- my inspiration for the title of my blog -- a column I had written that was published February 2, 2008, by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:
Why has winter lasted six months this year? Being trapped inside with the kids while the snow is thigh high is not my idea of fun.
My husband confessed to wearing long underwear to work. He says his office is heated, but when he leaves his coffee unattended for a few minutes it changes to brown slush.
My 6-year-old son Noah, the geography expert, has been asking about the temperature. "I thought negative numbers were only in Antarctica. Is that true, Mom?"
I couldn't answer him because my teeth were chattering.
Like most kids with autism, my boys are schedule oriented. Late starts, early dismissals and missing a day of school can be problematic. Nothing in our house full of toys keeps their attention. It is tough to entertain them all day. I am convinced it would be easier to organize NASA's next launch.
During the last snow day we made cookies, spent four minutes with Play Doh, and then it was time for television. I had recorded their favorite educational shows. Two boys sat glued to the set while Isaac opened and shut the front door repeatedly. The utility company will love us this month.
Although Noah was mesmerized by "Word World," it was time for his nebulizer treatment. I set up the machine, and he held the mask to his face. I looked at the clock. It was only 9:30 a.m., and my nerves were shot. When I turned on the nebulizer, Noah could no longer hear the TV over the roaring machine.
"Turn up the Valium," he cried.
"I wish I could," I laughed. I walked to the television and adjusted the volume.
Later the trio wanted to play in the snow. We burned 45 minutes bundling everyone in snow gear. Three-year-old Henry attempted to make a snow angel but was unsure how to move his arms. He growled and went inside after his mittens were full of snow.
Noah was disappointed that he could not create an igloo where he could hide from me. He had expected to build a gigantic fort with a door and four windows that could double as a guest house. This was not possible in 15 minutes.
Isaac experienced pure joy sledding down our deck steps and nearly colliding with the swing set. He zoomed down the steps again and again and again. I had visions of Isaac being knocked unconscious. I was sure if I had to call 911 I would be told the ambulances would not be running until the spring thaw.
The rest of my day crawled on.
When my husband returned from work, the kids ran to greet him. "Oh yes, we had a great day," said Noah. I wondered why Noah's definition of "great" didn't match mine.
"Since I'm already wearing my long underwear," my husband said, "I'm going to scoop the driveway."
Then he noticed the bags under my eyes. "Honey, I think you need some Valium."