Rolling black-outs with four kids. So, you should know by now that I don't do cold weather well. In fact, I don't DO cold weather. I summon my inner bear and eat and hunker down and basically do my best impersonation of hibernating. This can be difficult to manage when you have children for whom you are responsible. Before you start saying, "Well, she should live here in the north where it actually gets cold. She should have to experience really frigid temperatures. She is such a whiner...blah, blah, blah." I LIVE IN SOUTH TEXAS. IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO GET COLD. I LIVE HERE FOR A REASON. Okay, enough said.
So, let me just fast forward my whole life (from when I was born in Michigan and may have actually liked cold weather, to when I moved here, to when my blood apparently thinned to the consistency of..........something really thin, etc., etc., etc.) to this morning and here's what happened.
5:45 - My alarm rang and I could tell by how I was sweating even though the ceiling fan was on that it was cold as a witch's ah-hem outside. Now, you are probably thinking, "What??? That doesn't make sense and that's weird of her not to make sense. She always makes sense." Well, let me give you a quick lesson in South Texas Two Story House Heat. See apparently contractors (and I am sure all the contractors that read my blog will comment about this) in Texas are not familiar with HEATING IN A TWO STORY HOUSE. Because as anyone here will tell you - - it don't work right. We set our thermostat at 68 degrees and it ends up being about 190 degrees upstairs and 40 degrees downstairs. It's like the heat is "averaged" over two stories (and I am no math major). So, on super cold nights my hubby and I sweat it out in our room (which just happens to be the absolute hottest in the winter - imagine the Sahara Desert and you will have a good idea) while the kids are moderately warm in their rooms and the downstairs remains cold enough to blow steam out of your mouth in (okay I tried to fix the grammar in that sentence and I am just too cold to think that hard).
5:50 - I got up, brushed my teeth and headed downstairs to assess the cold. I decided It Was Cold.
5:55 - I was drinking my first cup of joe and already had the stove fired up for pancakes (if that brings to mind Laura Ingalls Wilder - you are not that far off the mark). I decided to make hot chocolate for the peeps as well. Their love for me grew exponentially when I decided that.
6:00 - I poured a second cup of coffee and marveled at how "ahead of schedule" I was (that my friends is always a mistake and God invariably lets you know).
6:20 - My pancakes and hot chocolate came out great and I decided to wake the small peeps so that they could begin what would take a million years - DRESSING FOR COLD WEATHER.
Now, I digress for a minute to tell you that just as I hate cold weather - - my kids hate it MORE. They refuse to put clothes on most of the time (even the nine year old - which can be quite problematic) and seem to never feel the temperature as it really is. So, often my kids can be seen all winter long in flip-flops, t-shirts, and jeans........outside...........when it's below 70 degrees. This yanks my chain like nobody's business. I mean there is no quicker way to tick me off (if you are one of my small peeps) than to refuse to wear warm clothes. Where does this stem from? I'll tell you. The phone call I got from a dear sweet kindergarten teacher years ago after my girl child refused to wear her big, beautiful, brand spanking new, pink coat all winter.
It went something like this:
Teacher - Ms. D?
Me - Yes.
Teacher - This is a very delicate matter...
Me (thinking) - Oh GAWD. What have they done???
Teacher - The kindergarten teachers would like to take up a collection to buy C. a coat because we have noticed that she doesn't wear one to school.
The rest of the conversation is not important. What is important is that since then I am like The Coat/Appropriate Cold Weather Clothes Nazi.
So: It takes a good night-before prep, along with early morning hours to get my kids to dress appropriately in cold weather. It came as no surprise, then, that when I hustled into the kids' bedrooms to wake them at 6:20, my boy child asked me if Old Navy would be open that early.
"WHAT???" I tried to be patient and answer. And I suddenly had that Your Good Mood Is About To Change feeling. If you are a mom - you know the one.
It was then that he told me he had lost his ONE COAT and could we make a quick trip to Old Navy to buy one!!!
"SAY WHAT???" I politely and patiently screamed, "YOU DID WHAT???? THE COUNTRY IS IN AN ARCTIC DEEP FREEZE THAT HAS NOT BEEN SEEN SINCE THE DINOSAURS RULED THE WORLD, AND YOU LOST YOUR COAT???? AND GOOD LUCK AT OLD NAVY. #1. THEY ARE NOT OPEN, AND #2. THEY HAVE SWIMSUITS OUT NOW."
6:35 - The small peeps came downstairs looking like one homeless boy, one small girl in several layers of clothes but managing to look warm, one smaller girl (who may have Sensory Issues - or she's just Difficult) who was loudly grumbling and loudly complaining about having to wear long-johns and pants and was already shivering and she was only downstairs, and one baby who had already managed to take off her WARM pajamas and whose teeth were chattering as she said, "Cold, mama, cold, mama, cold, mama."
6:45 - I heard on the radio for the third time that morning that it was 17 degrees outside - wind chill 7. I grumbled to myself that why can't I just have normal children who like to dress warmly???
6:47 - Just as I had sent this motley crew BACK upstairs to brush teeth and swoosh mouthwash, and I was going to finish up lunches, find hats and gloves, and make sure if they didn't have coats that at least their extremities wouldn't be frost bitten - THE POWER WENT OUT IN A ROLLING BLACK OUT.
Which I have since learned is going to happen in order to save energy and money (oh, good because I love to save money and energy............BUT NOT WHEN IT IS FREEZING AND I HAVE FOUR KIDS WHO ARE NOT COOPERATING ANYWAY), and that "We Can Help" by turning down our heat and being patient." (To which I again say - oh, good I love to help and be patient, yada, yada, yada.)
6:47-7:06 - Lots of screaming and wandering occurred. Baby felt compelled to scream continuously, "Mama, TURN ON THE LIGHTS. I CAN'T SEE." I tried to make sure everyone had at least a sandwich in their lunch, and find hats and gloves, and the kids did their fair share of screaming and fighting over flashlights.
7:06 - The bus picked up the kids in the pitch dark. Bubby had no coat and was seriously pitching a FIT about wearing his super cute Old Navy beanie that he said looked "dorky." Girl child flatly refused to wear her hoodie, but agreed to wear her vest. She said she didn't need gloves and no, she was not scared of winding up in the hospital due to extreme frost bite. The smaller girl child was STILL grumbling about pants and shoes. And the baby waved to the bus driver in the dark, from the door, wearing nothing but a diaper.
7:10 - I was back upstairs again (with baby back in her pajamas) looking longingly at the bed waiting for there to be enough light for me to see whether or not it was going to be worth it to dress and be productive.