All the grocery shopping, 24-hr news coverage, warnings and school closings were such a blur, the reality of impending snow didn’t click with me. But when I got my Sunday inserts with my Friday paper, things got real. Fast. I mean Parade magazine just doesn’t show up during the week. It was backwards and wrong.

But the Washington Post knew damn well I wasn’t seeing a paper for days.

In fact, I wasn’t going to see much of anything for days. The sidewalk, my deck , the road, my car.


So, it snowed. And snowed. It snowed until you were sure we had sucked all the moisture out of the universe.

Saturday morning I stood in front of the storm door and felt like someone had dropped me in the middle of the Iditarod while I was asleep. I couldn’t open any doors to leave. I couldn’t even open any doors to shovel a path to leave. We had a solid foot not including the 6-inches we shoveled the night before.

After enduring the labor intensive process of me getting dressed in snow pants, boots and layers, the dog was not all that interested in the semantics of us getting out. He just wanted out.

Eventually, we turned sideways, and shimmied the storm door enough to stick out the shovel and use it like a fly swatter, eventually dislodging enough snow to step outside.

It was 7:30am Just come kill me now.

I walked the dog exactly two blocks in the road and felt like I had run a marathon. I was ready for my medal but settled for clambering back inside instead, happy to have survived the wind-whipped snow and bitter cold.

It was time to get Stiles Shoveling, Inc. up and moving and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

We had a spreadsheet full of clients and three disgruntled employees. I didn’t blame them one bit, it looked pretty daunting.

I prepared the breakfast of champions and sent my poor children out into a blizzard so they could earn money for Chipotle. Mother of the year, right here.

The next 8hrs were a tale of Titanicesque hardship. Each boy took a turn at texting or calling me from a job to tell me how much their brothers sucked at shoveling and how miserable they were. Instead of sympathizing, I kept warning them not to drop their phone in a snow bank. They would then come home, eat, snarl, get dry clothes and head back out.

Company stock was plummeting faster than Enron as I emailed clients, readjusted the shoveling schedule and begged for patience. It was taking an average of 2.5hrs per house (not including bickering breaks) with all three boys shoveling.

I tried to make up for the harsh labor conditions with food and love.

No one cared.

I scurried from the kitchen to the laundry room cooking up hot food, drying wet clothes and pulling out a second set of everything for each kid.

My FitBit says I had over 10,000 steps yesterday and I barely left the house. I was hustling, I tell you.

Two-dozen chocolate chip cookies. Gone. Subs. Gone. Mac n’ cheese with bacon. Gone. Soft pretzels. Gone. I was pumping air into a flat tire and feeling pretty deflated.

It is a sad day in our house if Mom can’t make everything better with bacon.

While the boys were gone, I couldn’t stop staring at my deck. I was mesmerized as the snow crept farther and farther up until it reached the door handle.

I should have been terrified at the thought of being completely trapped, but it was freeing really. We could go nowhere for the first time in recent history.

Only when the boys all returned, bitter and blizzard weary, did that trapped feeling grip me. I was going to be stuck in this house cooking FOREVER.

Chili was simmering, biscuits were piping hot, sugar cookies were cooling and it would all be gone in a blink of an eye. I hadn’t even taken the time to feed myself. Well, unless you count ingesting about 6 cups of raw cookie dough.

My entire first floor looked like L.L. Bean exploded. Jackets, snow pants, boots, gloves and hats littered every surface. My dishwasher was groaning with the extra work-out. Bickering had reached an all new high.

I thought back to lounging in my chair on Friday night and it was a lifetime ago. I was being punished for my cocky attitude one meal at a time.

At 10pm, I ended the day as I started it—walking the dog. We were the lucky ones who had seen plows and could easily walk in the road. The dog was still a little confused with all his scents gone and nary a patch of green in sight.

I knew how he felt; it was a dizzying and disorienting storm. I had no idea what day it was or when I had showered last. We had been reduced to measuring everything—even time– in inches.

And all I knew for sure? I lost my grip on sanity about 12 inches ago.

(Photo credit: Annegien Thiesse, Washington, DC)


Maureen lives outside Washington DC with her husband, 3 boys and her dog, the only one who really understands her. She shamelessly exploits the chaos of her everyday life for enjoyment and profit. She loves 80's music, Miller Lite and reality TV. She is rarely without a koozie in case someone is kind enough to offer a beverage. Maureen can be found blogging at Montgomery Community Media, in her column for the Town Courier Newspapers as well as online at Scary Mommy, the Mid and more.

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