The venue: Our family room.

The menu: hot wings, pierogies, and whatever anyone else brings to share. Oh, and a Steelers logo cake.

The beer: COLD.

The guests: Neighbors and friends. Lots of ’em. Exact number changing hourly. Probably more than we can comfortably seat. The more, the merrier.

The husband: Fears hubris. Cautiously hedging his bets. Afraid to appear cocky lest he jinx his beloved Steelers.

The wife: Nodding in agreement with whatever the husband says, lest she disagree and somehow invoke some sort of hex upon the team.

The children: Indifferent for now, but Daddy’s enthusiasm is contagious, and they’ll become infected tomorrow.

The atmosphere: Feels like the calm evening before a snow storm is expected. The frenzy begins in 24 hours.

G O   S T I L L E R S ! !

Once in a lifetime

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

This was the song that was playing in my head as I ascended the Dupont Circle South Metro escalator this morning, on the way to work at my client’s office. It occurred to me that 19 years ago to the day, the 22-year-old me rode this same escalator for the very first time on my way to my first post-college job, commencing the First Day of the Rest Of My Life.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the moneys gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Twenty-two year old me quickly took root in the heart of the city, trying so hard to live a different life than that of my first two decades. Not because it was bad, or because I didn’t like it – but because it was different, and I just wanted to try something else. And, I wanted to prove myself, prove that I could do it. And how does a farm girl prove herself? She moves into the heart of the city, that’s how, and she figures it out all on her own.

And I thrived. I loved it.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

I make my living as a human resources professional, and today I conducted an exit interview for a young woman who was full of frustration and bitterness as she was leaving her second post-college job. I saw so much of my past in her tears. Why don’t they respect me? I’m a professional; why don’t they treat me as one?

Oh, honey, I counseled. It’s a journey. One day, when you have set your anger aside, you will realize that you have learned a lot in your time here. Trust me. One day, you will understand.

Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…

In January 1990, I was a public transportation girl who had no need for a car. Forty-one-year-old me now drives that large automobile, complete with a toddler car seat strapped into the back, and it was this vehicle I was driving on my way to pick up my 12 year old son this afternoon so that I could shuttle him to the physical therapy that is still necessary – and will be for years to come.

And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

I don’t so much ask myself “how did I get here” because I very much wanted to be HERE. I got here mostly by following the textbook. Graduated from college, moved to the city, met and married a Nice Boy with whom I had much in common, fled the city and bought a house in the suburbs,  had a couple of kids, got promoted, traded up to larger vehicles – you know the story.  For sure, there have been some unexpected detours, a few bumps in the road, but by and large, I feel as if I am where I am supposed to be.

If you had asked me 19 years ago where I would be as I entered my fifth decade, chances are, I would have predicted something very similar to my current reality. However, I would not have expected to perceive the speed with which the years seem to have flown by.  Every time I ride up that escalator, I am transported back to 1990, if only for a couple of minutes. I am wistful for my youth, but comfortable in my own skin. I am content with all that I have, thankful for my many blessings, and eager to see just how it all turns out.

The sky is falling!

Today is my kids’ third consecutive day off school.  Last Friday was the end of the marking period, so Monday was a scheduled professional day for the teachers. Then Tuesday, measurable snow was in the weather forecast, and because there were flakes falling from the sky at 4:00 a.m., the Good Folks who run the county schools’ transportation department called school off FOR THE WHOLE DAY.

And then, it snowed veerrrrrryy lightly all day, and to say we got one inch of accumulation is me being generous.  It really wasn’t even enough to go sledding, although the boys sure tried.

But that’s not all! Sleet and freezing rain began around dinnertime yesterday and continued during the night. Temps were expected to be below freezing, sooooo, to continue the streak, MoCo called off school AGAIN.  For the whole day. Even though it’s supposed to warm up and start melting.

I know the people charged with making these decisions do the best with the information they have at the time. The forecast did call for a couple inches of snow, so given that, perhaps they figured it would be better to keep the buses off the roads and let the snow plows do their thing. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my bus would roll up with chains on the tires when it was snowy. Gotta get the kids to school.

Last night’s ten o’clock news started with this:


Live team coverage of…. an inch of snow.

Motorists were advised to stay off the roads if you don’t have to be out. Use extreme caution! There could be slick spots; it’s extremely dangerous! This from a fur-hat-wearing reporter perched on some highway overpass to demonstrate just how slippery it is. Yeah. It’s ICE. It’s gonna be a little bit slippery.


What are snow days good for?

  • sleeping in
  • catching up on laundry
  • Facebook and blogging
  • baking cookies and bread
  • early afternoon happy hours

What are snow days NOT good for?

  • diets
  • personal hygiene
  • getting anyting resembling “work” accomplished
  • keeping the entryway free from soggy snow gear and wet spots on the wood floor
  • My bank account (I don’t get paid when I don’t work)

Growing up in PA, the weather of the past two days would have warranted little more than a passing glance.  My parents would’ve been all, better wear your boots to school because your feet’ll get wet at recess.  In fact, two years ago, we lived in PA during the winter, and the boys were advised to wear/bring snow gear and boots because of course, the kids are most certainly going outside at recess to play in the snow. Here? Our coddled youth are not permitted outdoor recess when the temperature dips below 32 degrees.

Last night we were urging the boys to bed at their usual time, around 9pm. The Boss was resisting because, he said, obviously, it’s white outside, they will cancel school again tomorrow. Yes, we countered, but until we hear it officially, we are assuming we are all going to school and/or work, so go to sleep. NOW. Whatever, he replied. We were struck by how he has become conditioned to expect the knee-jerk school closing.  Indeed, I think the entire region is similarly conditioned.

We have a friend who grew up in snowy Lake Placid, NY, home of many a winter sports enthusiast. She said, they never, ever canceled school because everyone – students and teachers alike – would’ve just gone skiing. Also, they managed perfectly fine with a big ole station wagon, not some pimped-out 4WD SUV.

I’m sure the Washington, DC area is the laughing stock of places in the country where the world does not, in fact, come to a grinding halt whenever a few snowflakes fall.  To the hardy folks in those areas, I would like to say, seriously – we aren’t all like that. Some of us would prefer to go on about our lives.  But, until the media stops trumpeting about Winter’s Wrath when “The Area’s First Major Winter Storm” consists of an inch of snow and a little bit of ice, I expect we will continue to be ridiculed.

Heck, even our new president, whose daughters stayed home from Sidwell today, was all, what, for some ice? (Thanks for the link, Curt!)

And don’t get me started about the obligatory reporter stationed outside of a grocery store, where frantic residents are clearing the shelves of bread, milk and toilet paper, or the hardware stores selling rock salt and shovels.  People, it’s winter. You should already know to have this stuff.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put some vodka in my orange juice shoo my stinky boys into the shower. It’s been a couple of days and they are RIPE.