It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Right on Schedule: February Cabin Fever

Our first significant winter storm hit last night.

We got some snow overnight. Not a whole lot – about 10 cm, I think. (Just shy of four inches.) Enough to snarl and slow traffic, but not enough to close roads or schools.

It did mean, though, that I’d need to shovel before the parents arrived. The ploughs had been by in the night – bless them! – but the result is a metre-high bank separating sidewalk from the street. Can’t have people trying to scale that with a baby in their arms. So out I go —

— and my LORD, the wind. Straight out of the west. (North and west, or any combination thereof, are nasty, nasty winds.) By the time I’d hacked a narrow path through the bank, my fingertips were burning with cold and my face bright red. And not through exertion.

Came in and checked the weather icon on my laptop. Temperature, -22; winds gusting to 50km, making for a windchill of -35.*

Guess we’ll be staying in. Again. For the tenth straight day. That’s TWO SOLID WEEKS of being indoors. Housebound. With a two-year-old (sometimes two of them) and three 18-month-olds. Sigh.

In fact, the kids are managing just fine. The vast vistas of my small house suffice for their short legs. After pounding through the living room to the dining room, rounding the corner to the front hall so as to enter the living room and pound down to the dining room… After doing that, oh THREE HUNDRED TIMES in a morning, they’ve had lots and lots and lots of exercise.

But me? I have to get out. I think I’ll get Emma to mind the fort during afternoon naps, so I can get out, burn off some steam, get some fresh air and a little sunlight (assuming some happens). Yes, indeed. I’m going to SHOVEL THE DRIVE!!

You takes your entertainment where you finds it in this job.

* That’d be -8F, 31 mph, and -31F respectively.

February 15, 2007 - Posted by | Ottawa, the dark side


  1. Us Americans appreciate the metric translation. It ocurred to me to wonder how much longer Canadians will be conversant with both systems. (I teach prospective teachers how to teach math, hence my slightly off-center focus πŸ™‚

    Comment by addofio | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. Although in Britain we mostly use metric, I’m of an age to think in imperial measures, but I can also translate – until it comes to minus temperatures. I haven’t a clue then!

    In England (not Scotland) we fall apart when the temperature goes to -4C and there are more than a couple of inches of snow. We simply have no idea what it’s all about. Mind you, a couple of measly snowfalls a year are all we usually get, so there isn’t a great impetus to change.

    Comment by z | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. I will try to send some sunshine your way. πŸ™‚

    Comment by mamacita tina | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  4. I can’t give you numbers, because I just don’t watch the news or read the paper, but I can tell you that it’s very, very cold here. Oh! I do know that it’s going to be below 4 degrees F here tonight. For Ohio, that’s very, very cold. Very, extremely, utterly cold.

    We got lots of snow this week (upwards of 7 inches) and then a lovely layer of ice on top (it’s weighing down the trees and breaking power lines!) and today we got another bit of snow to cover the ice! The kids had two days off school and Christopher went back for a half-day today, his first foray back at school since last TUESDAY. Dear lord, help me not to strangle him. Thank you.

    Comment by candace | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. I have to say, its about time you guys got the weather you were supposed to. Here in Vancouver we got it in November (unheard of!) and I kept saying it was Ontario weather and it should go back where it belongs πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, you guys were golfing.

    Although, I do commiserate. I don’t enjoy cold weather myself. I can’t imagine it with a bunch of children.

    Comment by Nicole | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  6. lol, if the weather men even say there might be a sprinkling of snow, the shops sell out of bread and milk and everyone panics! We just dont ever get snow properly in the south of England, I was 12 (20 years ago) that we last had enough snow to sledge on! Dont tell J or C that you have snow, they are deeply disapointed that we havnt even seen a flake, do you think out round ‘slider’ sledge would slide down wet grass?

    Comment by jenny uk | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  7. We got 11.2 inches in one day. We did a lot of shoveling.

    Comment by ktjrdn | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  8. We’ve had very little snow this year – but it’s been REALLY cold at times. Colder than we are used to but not as cold as you got – to us desert dwellers 5 degrees (Fahrenheit) is pretty darn cold!

    Happy Birthday, Mary!

    Comment by Angela | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  9. Now I know why your posts weren’t showing up. I’ll have to backtrack a bit.

    Comment by ann adams | February 16, 2007 | Reply


    Comment by Jen | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  11. Snow. Canada. Sometimes I wonder why I live here. But this year has been pretty easy on us.

    Happy Birthday Mary!

    Comment by Sandra | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  12. Addofio: Not much longer, I’d say. People of my mother’s generation still think entirely in imperial, whereas I’m good at some conversions but only middlin’ in others, and my children have little idea of imperial measurements at all.

    Z: Of course we Canadians love to chuckle patronizingly (is that a word?) when we hear of the English inability to cope with a dusting of snow – but is there any good reason you should? I’m sure there are better ways to spend time, attention, and perhaps even money than to prepare for something of such overall irrelevance!

    MamacitaTina: It must have worked! Yesterday turned out quite beautifully sunny – even if it was still -28C!

    Candace: The ice is gorgeous, but it can sure cause a lot of trouble! You’ve not lost power, have you? Because the only thing worse than being housebound with a lively ten-year-old boy for a week would be to be housebound in the DARK with a lively ten-year-old boy!

    Nicole: I don’t enjoy the extreme cold. ‘Course, I don’t much enjoy extreme heat. I’m living in the wrong country altogether…

    Jenny: “Sledge”. Heh. Haven’t seen that word since the children’s annuals (Bingo? Rupert the Bear?) that relatives used to send when I was a little girl. Would a saucer go down wet grass? If it had a good dusting of frost, so that the ground was firm and not muddy, I’d say you’d stand a good chance. Those things will slide on just about anything.

    ktjrdn: That’s, what, 28 – 30 centimetres or so? That is a LOT of snow. I like shovelling, actually – but that still a lot of snow!

    Angela: Five degrees is -15C. Oh, that’s cold, all right. Once it gets down below -12 or so, I’m wearing leggings under my jeans. (Thanks for the good wishes. My, you have a good memory!)

    Ann: And I wondered where you’d gotten to! Makes us even… πŸ™‚

    Jen: Thanks!

    Sandra: This has been a very odd year. December and January were freakishly warm – lovely, but disconcerting. But now we’re into our usual three week deep freeze, except that it’s happening in February instead of January. Wonder what will happen in March?? Did the groundhog see his shadow? And what does that mean, again?

    Comment by MaryP | February 16, 2007 | Reply

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