I hadn’t planned to write this today but I’m atrophying in my dressing gown still, mid-afternoon, on a Friday. It’s a snow day today. Yes, you read it right. A snow day. In Houston. Where there’s no snow. We’ve been building up to this for a day or two now. On Wednesday, iPhones were showing – dramatically and pictorially – freezing rain for today, like a beautiful but menacing iced-up waterfall high in the Derbyshire Dales mid-winter. (Oh, if only!) All day yesterday we debated whether or not the buses would run or school would be open, and even before the temperature started to drop a preemptory email arrived saying they/it might not and R, my 15 year old, tried hard not to get too excited about the prospect of an extra lie-in, but he can’t help himself.
So the ice storm blustered in overnight with a swooshing dip of the mercury but otherwise not much else to show for itself, but lo and behold we woke to messages confirming that school was shut. I roused R, then checked, then told him the good news as instructed by him (for the delicious pleasure of being able to roll right over and go straight back to sleep). I gave F an extra hour too. In the meantime, I made myself coffee and returned to bed, with iPad. Where I’ve been since. Flicking from email to Facebook to the Guardian and back again, commenting here, clicking on links there, watching clips, but mainly reading and contributing to the collectively amusing and sardonic posts about the weather non-situation. I thought about heading out for a spinning class and checked the timetable (on the screen) but couldn’t tear myself away from the cryptic crossword. Which I finished (though, to be scrupulously honest, with three word cheats, but I’d’ve got there eventually). I forced R out of bed at 9, F was already hard at work. I brewed more coffee and retired again. I had a little read of my book. R decided to do some art, which was fine by me, so I helped him with his model-making (a New Orleans plantation house, since you’re asking) – holding together glued edges, that type of thing, all very constructive. I made him bring it into my bedroom to do it, mind you. I got up to grill a bagel for what I suppose you could call brunch, mumbled something encouraging to F doing his maths (can’t specifically help him there in any other way, of course), suggested R might take on something less entertaining and creative, and more academic and strictly necessary than his artwork – like chemistry homework, just as an example – but didn’t really press the point. The plantation house, I have to say, is looking good already.
If school was on I’d’ve been up and at the day. I’d’ve had a run and gone for coffee and cake to celebrate C’s birthday (cancelled due to too many people invited now with small children to care for – careless planning I’d say, next time C just invite those of us with teens!); maybe I’d have got on with some writing work too. At the very least, I’d have cleaned my teeth and be dressed by now. But outside there’s a steely grey, flat sky; it’s bone-achingly cold and damp – and nothing like a proper, rip-roaring snow day: there’s not even ice left (there wasn’t much to start with), let alone any fluffy white stuff. No drifts to jump in, drives don’t need shovelling clear. And even if there had been snow, there are no hills to go sledging down, or anyone out and about to throw snowballs at, no gritters and snow ploughs with their intoxicating wintery-ness, or trains and buses heroically forging through. It’s very quiet and there’s absolutely nothing to get excited about; on the contrary it’s chilly, overcast and boring. Even the boys have been sighing. We’re stir-crazy but uninspired (and, I suspect, a bit uninspiring, sorry).
Ours is not the only school closed, all Houston schools are, along with most businesses. The main rationale behind this shutdown is that, because they build the roads so ludicrously high here, when it actually dips below freezing it can be quite slippy slidey up there on the freeway feeders, treacherous even for the otherwise apparently invincible Texan pick-ups. Today is the one day in a thousand that (maybe) justifies the year-round “Beware of ice on bridges” signs that quirkily adorn every single slight incline on the roads of this normally blisteringly hot city.
But still! It’s lame and unsatisfactory and disappointing and not like home and I blame it (yes! the freaking lack of weather) for this oxymoronic state of torpor and restlessness that I find myself in, which I’m trying to shake off by writing this. Come ON girl, time to get dressed…