the third time (isn’t always) a charm


I know that, as a woman of a certain age, I’m supposed to despise snow days. It’s part of being a grown-up to give up any longing for days that are unexpected and inconvenient. Days where you need to alter from your routine. Maybe it says something about me, but I usually love a good snow day.

I start monitoring the television and internet as soon as I hear that there’s a potential storm brewing. I drive my family nuts with updates days ahead of time and Dan laughs when the look of disappointment comes over me if we ever lose the coveted “Storm Warning” status. And, if you see me when the “snow day” call comes in from the schools, you would wonder how this woman who has trouble making it to her one-day-a-week yoga class, can bounce across a room with boundless energy.

I love snow days because it’s an excuse to hunker down with my family without structure and rules. I like making french toast and vats of soup and working on a puzzle where my only responsibility is to go outside and shovel every couple of hours. We watch bad TV and lounge by the fire AND staying in pajamas all day is a bonus that makes the whole thing perfect.

Wednesday was one of those great snow days that was called the night before so we could go to bed without alarms set. We woke up to nothing but a little wet snow. I was crushed, but kept watch for the promised thunder-snow and 12 to 18 inches. It finally got going by mid morning. At last, we were trapped together as a family with a fire roaring in the fireplace. We all had some projects to do (me – taxes, Dan – paperwork, Anna – some sort of nerdy DNA project, JackO – a marathon of Impractical Jokers), but we would meet back periodically for relaxing breaks and fattening meals.

Day one was perfection.

When we got the call that there would be another snow day on Thursday, it didn’t come with as much cheering. I didn’t make french toast and we were out of firewood. Daylight revealed that this storm had been more destructive than pretty. We lost a huge branch that missed our house by an inch (we are soooo lucky). Trees were down all over town and many of our friends were without power. The snow was heavy to shovel and Dan’s back was killing him. Suddenly I was looking at the calendar wondering when I would catch up on all my must-dos and I’d already watched all of my Bravo shows. The dogs were antsy and driving me nuts and even ever-easy JackO looked like he was going stir crazy – his Impractical Jokers weren’t even keeping him entertained.

Day two was a little lame.

Last night when my phone alerted me that they had cancelled school again for JackO, I nearly cried. Dan got to escape to work and Anna seemed blissful as she left the house for school this morning. Jack and I, on the other hand, are still in our pajamas. No fire, no french toast, and the puzzle is finished.

Day three stinks. It better not snow on Monday.

Love, Jess



The Skimm and the Panda


Yesterday morning, The Skimm brought me an early Christmas present.

I get most of my news from the morning talk shows. A sound bite of serious, sprinkled within hollywood gossip and seasonal recipe ideas. It’s about all I can handle, but several months ago a friend recommended I check out The Skimm. Perfection. It’s an email that arrives every weekday morning with the important news stories of the day. It’s written like a friend is telling me (for the “Jesses” out there, not the “Dans”). No Skimm on the weekends which makes it even better – who really wants news on the weekends?

Our weekday morning routine is nuts here. We rush around, as if the school bus arriving is the strike of midnight and we will turn into pumpkins. Showering, toileting, eating, medicating, hydrating, brushing and tackling Jack’s “special shoes” onto his “special feet”. When we are done, Jack and I relax, plant our bottoms on the stairs, and open up the Skimm. Jack sits up straight, puts his arm around my neck and we read the news for the day.

Yesterday, among the clutter of news about the fight against ISIS, E.coli and gun control (pro gun control/con ISIS and E. coli), was a story about THE PANDA IN THE SNOWMEN. Finally, I understood what I’d been half-hearing all morning on the Today Show. I double clicked the link so that I could check it out. I’m not great at getting through a newspaper, but I am good at puzzles and within a minute I saw him. “Jack I see the panda. How about you?”

I pointed my finger, which he took without hesitation, and he pointed directly at the panda. Seconds. Amazing.

I know that some of you are thinking that it’s cheating because I let Jack use my hand to point. I thought the same thing when the school told me that it was their latest technique for having Jack make choices. I figured that it was like using a ouija board and that whoever was in change was subconsciously directing. I assure you that it’s not. Jack is quite clear about his intentions. And, Jack quickly saw the panda.

A friend commented to me that the trick with those types of puzzles is to relax your eyes and not stress. No wonder it came so easily to Jack. Jack lives his life fully relaxed and with no stress. We should all be so lucky.

MeRrY ChRiStMaS EvE!!


Love, Jess