Sidewalk ice and the winter graph

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sidewalk1Sidewalk ice has different meanings depending on your age. It’s like looking at a graph with a downward slope: fun is the top point and death is the bottom point.

If you’re a child… winter, snow and sidewalk ice, can only mean one thing: Fun with a capital F. You’re at the high point on the winter graph. Your mom bundles you up and out you go into a winter wonderland filled with sledding, sliding, falling, snowballs, snow angels, and snow forts. Your nose is running, your fingers are wet and freezing but you don’t notice. Children are blissfully unaware of impending doom and a visit to the ER when they look outside. Sidewalk ice? If you slip, you slip.sidewalk2

On to the teen years, where style comes before warmth at all times. At this age, looking good is more important than being warm. Take a trip to a local high school where in 20 degree weather, the girls are dressed in uggs with mini-skirts and you will know what I mean. My mother would be lucky if she could get me to wear a winter coat. I wore a hat until she was out of sight. So similar to today’s teens I was usually freezing, but damn, did I look good. Sidewalk ice? I didn’t give it a moment’s thought.

During life’s next stage, you’re working outside the home, or home with the kids. (“Home with the kids” is also “working” but you don’t get to leave the house for adult conversation, no coffee or lunch break, you don’t get paid for putting your life on hold, and best of all you get no respect whatsoever…I’m sounding bitter aren’t I? But that’s a future blog so stay tuned).

During this stage, your children upon hearing that phone ring early in the morning are ecstatic, knowing it can only mean one thing: A SNOW DAY! If you’re a stay-at-home or a working mom, however, you hear that early morning ring and you think….”shoot me.” It might mean fun with a capital F to your kids but you are probably thinking of another word… also with a capital F. The point on the winter graph is beginning to drop significantly.

sidewalk6But, I remember once after the plow had come, my kids went outside and saw the tremendously high drift that the plow had left at the bottom of our drive. Within 10 minutes they had made it into a fort with snow windows and little seats. Then they made a small slide. A few neighborhood kids came over and it was all fun and laughter and snowsuits, and hats and gloves and boots. As I watched from my window I thought to myself…go outside…forget the ice.

So I did.sidewalk7

None of them seemed to notice that I was dressed like an Eskimo so I started collecting rocks and sticks and began decorating their fort. Before long all of them were collecting whatever greenery they could find and decorating along with me. My nose was running and my hands were wet and freezing but I was having a great time. It was like being Snow White with her 7 dwarfs. If I fell there would be 7 kids to pick me up.

I didn’t fall.

Afterwards, I went inside and made hot chocolate for everyone and even had marshmallows handy in the pantry. Then I invited some of my friends over who were similarly thrilled with the snow day and darned if Jack Daniels didn’t go great with the hot chocolate! Why should only kids have all the fun?

Now I’m at the bottom of the winter graph where its uggs without the mini-skirt for me. Looking good? Forget it. It takes 10 minutes to get ready to leave the house as you put on a winter coat, tie a scarf around your neck, pull the same scarf over your nose and mouth, put on gloves, and a hat. I imagine it’s like wearing a burka as only your eyes are exposed. My daughter says, “Mom, you’re only walking 20 feet to get the mail” but I don’t care. And I can’t think of letting her get the mail because she would only wear a mini skirt with uggs. My only concern is staying out of the ER and keeping the circulation going in my fingers and toes.

At my age, I’m at the lowest point on the winter graph. I look at sidewalk ice and think, “I’m going to die.”sidewalk8

About Tracy Buckner

The author contributes to the Observer Tribune Newspaper of Chester, New Jersey, and also blogs for the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop, http://humorwriters.org and for The New Jersey Hills Newspaper, serving Morris County, NJ.http://www.newjerseyhills.com/observer-tribune/blogs/. She enjoys writing about the slow decline and vows to go down kicking and screaming.

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