Dear Holly: You Appreciate the Snow and the Beach in Moderation, Like Me

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Holly,

Just a few weeks ago, we were in the middle of what I would call a Tennessee Blizzard.

With your school closed, as well as your brother’s, Mommy and I were in a situation where we needed to not only keep working from home, but also keep your brother happy by letting him play in the snow; and to keep you happy by keeping you inside.

Whereas your brother was outside most of the day, each day that week playing in the snow (and never got sick!); you enjoyed the winter weather just long enough to go sledding and for a few photo ops.

It reminds me of what it is like when we go to the beach: All your brother wants to do is to stay outside, while you’re like me (and most people)… A couple of hours, and we’re ready to go back inside!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your 1st Real Snow, In February 2021

4 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

It snows at least once a year here in Tennessee, but only once every several years we do have a decent blizzard allows all the kids to be out of school for a week and play in the snow for multiple days.

So with you being almost 5 years old, it’s taken your entire life for you to really get a chance to play in snow.

Yesterday, Mommy and your brother took turns taking you down the cul-de-sac in our sled.

Plus, you simply loved just walking around and marveling at the concept of snow all around you!

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: We’ve Been Snowed in for a Week Now, Technically

7 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s now been a week since you’ve been to school. This is like Christmas vacation again, but with snow… and without all the presents.

A week ago we were informed that your school was going to be closed due to the chance of a blizzard the next day on Friday. Knowing you were also going to be off from school the following Monday for Martin Luther King Day, I mentioned to Mommy at dinner:

“Let me throw a crazy idea at you…”

She stopped me, as she had instantly read my mind:

I took you and your sister to Alabama so we could stay at Nonna and Papa’s house for a 4 day weekend, while Mommy stayed back in Tennessee to get caught up on work.

You and your sister got plenty of quality time with your grandparents; meanwhile, I got a little bit more caught up on one of my most coveted commodities: Sleep!

It was so rewarding to just head upstairs and sleep for 2 or 3 hours, knowing you and your sister were being taken care of.

And it turns out, it didn’t actually snow while we were gone.

But sure enough, on Tuesday, when you were supposed to go back to school, that’s when the mini blizzard actually arrived.

Our family has been snowed since then.

Hopefully, the roads will be cleared up enough for you to return to school tomorrow, which is Friday. At that point, it will have been a solid week without you going to school. Even then, you will just be there for one day and then it’s the weekend again.

You and I did get a couple chances to enjoy the snow outside, while Mommy stayed inside with your sister. But even then, the temperature has remained around 9 degrees most of this week, so we couldn’t stay outside all that long.

What an interesting week.

Love,

Daddy

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Don’t Miss Feeling Pressured to Drive to Work in the Snow and Ice

The picture collage you see here is one that I felt compelled to make nearly three years ago. My family had already been snowed in two days, and it was soon to be the third.

Despite living just a mile from the main road, my actual home was located down a slope in the dead end of the neighborhood: the cul-de-sac.

It was obvious to me that if I simply backed out of my garage, my vehicle would get stuck in the snow and ice, as my vehicle was not a 4×4 and therefore couldn’t make it out.

Still, I went through the motions of proving how dedicated I was to coming to work:

I started up my car, backed out of the garage, tried to make it up the hill, slid down the hill backwards, then quickly got stuck trying to simply make it out of my own cul-de-sac. And now, my already old and worn-out vehicle would have to remain out in harsh weather, which only increased the chances of another vehicle accidentally sliding into it, or the battery dying from the freezing temperatures.

To further cover my bases, I took a photo of my stuck vehicle, as well as one of my shoe; as I was standing on my street, which had an inch-thick sheet of ice under the snow. I also did my best to show the angle of the slope on my street where my vehicle got stuck.

Minutes later, I had put together the photo collage and emailed it to all interested parties, to provide community-wide evidence that I was not simply unmotivated to leave my family and the snow.

I had already been working for the company for over 7 years at this point and I was a supervisor for most of that time; yet I felt that providing picture proof was a nearly necessary move. Otherwise, people who lived only a few miles from the office could try to say, “Well I made it into today… are you just afraid to drive in the snow and ice?”

The least of my worries was that I was having to accept the fact I was using vacation days to be stuck at stay home; even though I wanted to be at work. This was problematic in that every summer, our family always spends a week out in California to visit my wife’s side of the family: I was cutting in to my reserve of days for that trip.

I imagine that feeling pressured to drive to work under dangerous weather conditions is a normal part of American culture, especially in the South; where we are understandably not equipped with the snow plows our towns need when it snows sporadically during the winter.

But you know what? I am now a stay-at-home dad who works from home now. Not my problem anymore.

The only one pressuring me to leave the house is my 7 year-old son who is eager to play in the snow. I think I can handle that.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

6 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Dear Jack,

Our Weekend of Manliness! began Friday evening when I got home from work and there was enough snow for us to try out the old sled Nonna gave us when we were in Alabama for Christmas. Fortunately, we happen to live in a great neighborhood for sledding in the snow.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

After all, we do live in Spring Hill, Tennessee. And our town lives up to the name. Not only are there plenty of hills all around, but apparently there are also plenty of springs as well- because it was no challenge finding new places to explore frozen puddles.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

The next morning, on Saturday, I explained to you: “Jack, this is your day. We’ll be going to the monster truck show and the new Star Wars movie later, but what else do you want to do today?”

You instantly responded: “I want to go back in the snow!”

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

So we did. Even though I told you we’d only be out there no more than 30 minutes, we ended up staying out there an hour and 15 minutes. And it was awesome!

Fortunately, the sun start coming out to help our endurance.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

In addition to getting to sled down every hill we found in our neighborhood, you also made it your personal mission to attempt to crack all the ice you could by jumping on it- and then eventually, by having me throw heavy stones on the ice.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Because it was so cold, and because I made sure all the frozen water we walked on was no deeper than 6 inches deep, the ice was extremely thick- and therefore, quite challenging to burst through.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Undeniably, our Weekend of Manliness! was off to a great start. Our snow and ice adventures couldn’t have been appreciated by the likes of Mommy, who isn’t used to the cold since she’s from California- or by your 8 month-old sister, who is constantly catching and fighting sicknesses as she is naturally building up her immune system.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

No, this was clearly a job for the boys.

Had I realized a month ago what all would have occurred, I would have reached out to Toyota or Lexus and got us a vehicle to feature each part of Weekend of Manliness! But I didn’t know the awesome baby blizzard was coming, that we would see Rogue One, or that we’d be going to Monster Jam until it was too late to get us a manly and adventurous Toyota or Lexus to match the energy of the father and son duo.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

So instead, we settled for my 2004 Honda Element, which I’ve officially owned 11 years as of this month; and have had paid off for 10 years.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Now it was time to make the 40 mile drive to downtown Nashville for Monster Jam…

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Weekend of Manliness! January 2017 Series:

1st Snow of 2017

Monster Jam 2017

Rogue One Star Wars