There is something about snow that shoves me precariously close to the edge of sanity—that drop-off where relatively lucid and balanced missionaries turn into raving lunatics whose vocabulary and general countenance are anything but honorable.  I’m not sure where the pathological aversion comes from.  It’s not like I was once stranded in a blizzard in a bikini with nothing but a People magazine to keep me warm.  And it’s not like I spent my childhood trying to outrun psychopathic snowmen wielding butcher knives and bowls of steaming Brussel sprouts (though that would explain my lingering distaste for running).  It’s just that I don’t like snow.

And by “don’t like,” I mean detest, abhor, despise, execrate and loathe.  I particularly like “execrate” because it sounds like “excrement,” and I’d just as soon be neck deep in doo-doo as neck deep in the icky white stuff.  What’s ironic is that my family used to actually go LOOKING for snow.  We’d pack up our VW van every Christmas vacation and head to Switzerland, and while my parents and brother asked for snow in their bedtime prayers, I, the off-her-rocker element of the Phoenix family, begged God for vast bare mountains covered in the dull brown-grey of winter deadness.

It appears the rest of my family had a better prayer life than I, as every Christmas vacation was an endless and exhausting succession of sledding and trekking and trying to avoid incoming snowballs.  Don’t get me started on sledding—a ridiculous sport that requires 20 minutes of rigorous exertion dragging a sled to the top of a hill through knee-deep, crusty snow only to spend 20 seconds hurtling back down the hill, trying to stay astride the bucking wooden rocket, and hoping to thread it through the tiny space midway down the slope created by barbed wire on one side and a deserted cattle shelter on the other.  Sledding on Swiss cow-pastures is akin to being a stunt-double for Kiefer Sutherland in an episode of “24”—the Helvetian adventure—without the big bucks and the deluxe trailer with a fully stocked mini-bar.

So you can imagine my dismay when I heard my answering machine pick up this morning and a disembodied voice informed me that today was a snow day.  I immediately pictured the horrendous blizzard I survived last year and shuddered under my blankets–mostly because I’d spent the blizzard stranded on my Riedlingen hill with nothing but lettuce and pretzels to eat.  And eating is a big deal to me.  I dislike hunger almost as much as the white stuff.  Snow is of the devil.  It is icky and cold and wet and slows me down when I drive.  It also forces me to shovel my steps and scrape my windshield, both of which are activities I believe only MEN should be forced to perform (along with taking out the garbage and cleaning up dog’s vomit).    You should see me on days when I have to shovel snow, scrape windshields AND take out the trash—or maybe you shouldn’t.  Unless you liked movies like “The Ring” and “Rosemary’s Baby.”  Then you could probably watch, but I’d charge you an admittance fee and you’d have to bring your own popcorn. 

As I lay in bed this morning trying not to imagine man-sized snow drifts accumulating outside my shutters, I counted slowly to ten.  I figured I should take a moment to savor being a benevolent woman, as I knew I’d be ending the day as a snow-induced belligerent tyrant.  I then stumbled to the bathroom to brush my teeth in the dark—which further delayed launching into profuse (and unladylike) cussing at the very bad joke the weather had dumped on me overnight.  Then I wandered into the living room and glared at the couch, then at the coffee table, then at the light switch, then at the TV…  I glared, in other words.  I’ve discovered that glaring at inanimate objects is a preferable exercise to glaring at living beings, as Taelyr would attest.  I gave Collin my patented “Aunt Michele Grab-and-Glare” look last week, and Taelyr still crawls under his desk to safety every time I call someone to order!

And then I stood by the vertical belt with which I would raise the heavy, metallic blinds so typical of German houses and took a deep breath.  “It will not kill me, it will not kill me,” I chanted internally, hoping the mantra would keep me from going postal at the first sight of the whiteness outside.  Though I was fairly sure I possessed the self-control to refrain from throwing, say, my marble table-top through the window, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stifle the convulsing, gagging, eye-rolling and unintelligible gargling that are usually my natural knee-jerk reaction to snow.

I mentally braced myself for the trauma, took a deep breath, and raised the blinds to find….this:

Not that I’m complaining, but does anyone know of another place on earth where this kind of un-cataclysmic snowfall would warrant a snow day???  Okay, maybe somewhere in Africa…or South America…you know, equatorial places.  But Kandern?  Where grass skirts, mud huts and cultural nudity weren’t ever really part of the national identity?  No–I think our snow day had a lot less to do with the icky whiteness than with the antsy whininess of our beloved students.  “We want a snow day!” they’ve chanted in the tone of a whiny Korean (these things are contagious, you know) since school started last August, and we, good, loving missionaries that we are, gave them what they wanted because three flakes fell overnight.

On the one hand, I was relieved by the false-alarm snow day: no unintentional vehicular snowboarding in my immediate future.  But on the other hand, I started making lists of people I should sue for calling a snow day and causing my fragile psyche irreparable harm.  You think a judge would award me Mr. Bateman’s (BFA’s principal) motorcycle for the emotional cruelty his snow-day inflicted?  I’m going out this afternoon to buy a cherry-red helmet with yellow flames on it…just in case.  And then maybe a dozen orders of fries.  You know—because of the trauma and all.

And just so you don’t think my life is reduced to rants about snow these days, here’s proof that there is plenty going on in other realms.  What does one expect when two lovely young ladies come over for dinner?  Sweet spirits, politeness, lovely conversation…   Except when the two young ladies are Squirt and Erin.  In that case, the evening ends in a wild bout of impromptu wrestling that tumbles off my couch and onto the spider infested floor.  The two stuffed animals, Muffin and Zi
dane, obviously bore the brunt of it!

Don’t forget to check out my website, by the way!    (See previous post for details…)



  1. i still can’t believe you don’t like snow… but then again, this is coming from the die-hard summit county kid who can remember walking on the snow and looking down on the top of my dad’s head while he snowblew the sidewalk.

    sledding… sledding is only fun if you jump off your sled at 20 miles per hour and ragdoll into the side of a building. with three friends. (think bloody noses and bruises every time.) THAT’S sledding. none of this helvetian cow-silliness.

    that “aunt michele” thing was really scary. anybody reading this should know that ms. phoenix can turn into a 45-foot tall giant scarywoman when collin talks out of place. i’m serious. she got ginormous. i had bad dreams about it. for really.

    hmmm… ms. phoenix on a darley havidson. nope. can’t see it. a red moped, maybe.

    i love shoveling. kind of like a time-out. good for you. if you time it right, all the other guys are coming out of their houses at 6 a.m. when you are, and you can talk for a while before you fire up the snowblower. and then when you go back inside, there’s a hot shower and a novel waiting for you.

    whoa. i’m turning into a husband and i’m not even married yet. scary.


    i want to see you throw a marble table through a window. or maybe not. i think i might just cry.

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of trauma…

    I remember all of our classes were cancelled at USCarolina for “winter weather.” Winter weather meant that there was FORECASTED snow. It never snowed, and we still got off for 2 or 3 days… =D

  3. I definitely share your detest of snow… and I live in the land of it where we are guaranteed snow that stays on the ground and is just added to with each snow fall from about mid-November to the end of March every year. And sometimes more than that. Why do I live here?!!? I won’t even get into what it takes to close schools around here…..

    Happy Snow Day!!!

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