Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Days

Today's a "snow day", in other words a day when my children get off school because there's so much snow on the ground that school buses can't get through the side streets of individual subdivisions, i.e. neighbourhoods, which, in contrast to main roads, don't get cleared immediately.

As you can imagine, children love snow days because they don't have to get up early and can instead spend the entire day making snowmen, sledding and having snowball fights rather than listening to their teachers and learning.

Because kids prefer snow days to school, a number of fun rituals have developed over here in the New World to encourage the crystalised water to come tumbling down aplenty. Although not entirely scientifically sound, they make fun reading nonetheless:
  • Putting a spoon under your pillow. Some say it should be licked beforehand. It doesn't matter whether it's plastic, metal or wooden, slide it under your pillow at bedtime, and a snow day is more-or-less guaranteed to follow. More comfortable variation: Putting the spoon in the fridge.
  • Putting a picture of the Virgin Mary and a dollar bill under your pillow. More pious and costly than a spoon you can steal out of your mother's kitchen, but just as guaranteed of success.
  • Putting a cotton ball under said headrest. Given how rare cotton balls are nowadays, if a child is clever enough to find one, it deserves a snow day for pure ingenuity.
  • Flushing an ice cube down the toilet at 9pm on the night before the desired snow day. But only one ice cube (we don't want to call up a blizzard or block the toilet, do we?). A tried-and-tested snow-producer this, though whether it actually works is anyone's guess. Variation: throwing ice behind you so that it lands in the toilet. May have to be repeated several times until you actually hit the bowl.
  • Saying "reverse" 20 times backwards. This one's challenging if your child is dyslexic.
  • Wearing your pyjamas inside-out and back-to-front. My son does this most nights anyway, so since we don't constantly miss school, I suspect this might be a dud.
  • Doing a snow-dance. The native Americans - red Indians to you and me - used this method to encourage rainfall, why shouldn't latter-day New Worlders dance to produce snow? Particularly likely to work if the dancer is wearing snowflake-patterned socks or sweater.
  • Putting an orange in the freezer. Yeah, right! 
  • Not thinking about or saying the word "snow". Very difficult if all you want is snow.
  • Dancing around a cup of ice. Almost certain to add 2-3 inches of snow to the night's snowfall. I wonder whether European cup-dancers would add 2-3cm instead.
  • Repeating a snow chant. Doesn't have to be complex. "Let it snow!" apparently suffices. Great for those unable or unwilling to dance. If you repeated often and loudly enough, the school authorities may offer you a snow day just to shut your kids up.
  • Yelling "snow day!" into the freezer. Alternate, equally effective shout out apparently include yelling into the bath tub and under the bed.
  • Placing 12 orange index cards on the hood of your car. This must be linked to the bizarre orange-freezing caper mentioned further up. If America had gone metric, this would, I believe, have been ten cards. But who has index cards in this digitised age? And how many children have their own car? The mind boggles.
  • Throwing a paper cup out of the window. Why this should elicit snow I really don't know. But at least it saves on clearing up.
  • Brushing your tongue for two minutes. I do hope this involves a toothbrush rather than a hair- or toilet brush. Even if this doesn't cause the sky to spew frozen gobs of water, at least your children have clean tongues. Tip for parents: get them to brush their teeth at the same time.
  • Drawing three Xs and then colouring them sky blue. I have no information on whether this should be done on a piece of paper as opposed to a wall nor how one might colour something that has no un-coloured middle, but then again, I'm just a stupid Old Worlder.
  • Running around the table five times. Not to be tried without adult supervision if your table is up against a wall. Injury rather than snowfall may result. The same goes for spinning around three times with your eyes closed.
  • Sticking a white crayon in the freezer - and then putting it under your pillow. Presumably alongside the spoon.
  • Sleeping on the opposite side of bed. I have no clue why this might work. Perhaps you feel so confused when you wake up looking in the other direction that you'll think it snowed. 
  • Wearing gloves to bed. Even if it doesn't have the desired effect, at least you won't have cold hands at night.
  • Placing ice cubes on your porch. This may well work. After all, if you put enough out there, you could be convinced it had snowed overnight.
  • Sprinkling "shaved" ice on the branches of nearby trees and bushes. A very unsubtle hint to the weather gods to send a big freeze. If very desperate - or out of shaved ice - simply throwing ice cubes at the aforementioned plants may also suffice. 
And finally:
  • Stacking pennies on your window sill.This one is clearly biased towards the rich, who have lots of pennies to spend on snow. Apparently each penny is worth one inch of the lovely white stuff.