Winter: No one gets out alive

Day 8,395 of parenthood.

The forecast is perpetually bleak and winter has wore me down.

I’ve got one nerve left and the kids are jumping up and down on it.

The crack in the bottom of my boot has taken in slushy ice water. My toes feel wrinkly inside my frozen sock. I arrive home after 16 hours of work and kick off my boots on the porch. I peel my soggy socks off before walking in the kitchen door.

Immediately I trip over a mountain of slightly damp coats, boots, backpacks and mittens that were shed and then dropped carelessly a mere three inches inside the door.

After whacking my still-frozen pinky toe on the corner of the fridge on the way down, I rolled around in the wet, cold pile holding my broken bloody toe that now had its own little heartbeat.

I cursed winter.

I notice while I’m laying on the kitchen floor at the bottom of Mount Wet-Winter-Wear that Kid #4 has once again managed to make it home with only one glove. Typically this would send me into a tailspin but I’ve lost one of my own gloves and this presents me with an opportunity to have a full set again. Yay! Never mind that one will be a kid-sized glove with a skull and crossbones pattern.

I think I can pull it off.

I am one more stubbed toe from pitching everything the kids own out into the frozen tundra.

Maybe I just have a case of the winter blues?

I’m annoyed with everything winter related, starting with the flu. I can’t help sizing everyone up that I come into contact with.

Was that a cough?

Quick, where’s my hand sanitizer?

I actually waited on a flu-infested person recently who told me they “had influenza but just needed to get out of the house.”

Are you kidding me? I’m not sure what these walking petri dishes don’t get about how the flu spreads — STAY HOME.

While we are discussing the spread of sickness, exactly how many kids have to be projectile vomiting before the school declares an epidemic and cancels? Hopefully it’s not up to whoever has the God complex at the bus barn and decides when to delay or call off school for inclement weather, which is always at the last possible minute.

Is it just me or does it seem as if they purposefully wait until after we begin the morning ritual of dragging the kids out of their beds, complete a recon mission for a missing snow boot, referee an argument over who breathed on who first and defrost the car?

Oh, now school is canceled?

Now that the monsters are wide awake and at each others’ throats?

Thanks for nothing.

Curse winter.

I especially loathe scooping the sidewalk and driveway.  After hunching over for an hour while scooping with my crappy shovel and spreading $15 worth of ice melt, I attempt to stand up straight and survey the fruits of my labor. Just then, the city snowplow comes by and swoops everything back in that I just scooped out. His plow has a “Stay Back 50 Feet” sign on it. Hmm, I need one of those to keep the flu-spreaders away.

I flip him the bird with my frozen finger from the missing glove hand and flop down in the snow to cry a bit before starting again.

Finally I finish, and even through the frozen tears of frustration I can see it’s a beautiful thing.

Ah, the mail person won’t be passing me up today.

Of course, later, when I fetch the mail from my box, I see the footprints in the snow between the neighbor’s house and mine where the mail person cut through the yard instead of using the freshly scooped and salted walk.

You’re welcome.

Curse winter.

There are just sooo many things that I’m officially over this winter.

Pushing grocery carts through frozen chunks that people have kicked off their cars in the parking lot of the grocery store.

Young men who refuse to pull their pants up over their butt cheeks even in negative-degree temps.

That one cold drip that drops right in the middle of your head as you enter or exit a door.

Salt, everywhere.

Chapped lips.

Static electricity in my hair.

Cooped-up kids with nothing to do but pick at each other.

That person that always asks, “Is it cold enough for ya?”

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.

 I’m in a frozen hell with four kids who are either climbing the walls or projectile vomiting. Neither one makes for a good day and there’s not enough Calgon to take me away.

Curse winter.

I need spring.

I vow here and now that I will do things to the Groundhog that will have PETA knocking my door down if he sees his shadow this year.

Don’t mess with this mama.

Think spring ya’ll.

Stefanie Freeman is a Jefferson resident and the mother of four.

She works as a waitress at the local cafe. Please tip her well.

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Jefferson, IA 50129

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