Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How to prepare for a snow storm if you live anywhere south of Lake Erie

I have exactly 4.2 minutes to pen this as I have to pick up my children early from school today due to possible snow.

True, it’s currently 65 degrees and sunny outside, but we are expecting 3/8 of an inch of snow later this evening so apparently we must have ample time to prepare. As far as I can see, this includes the following steps and complex processes.

1.) Snow must fall at a faster rate in the south than in the north, because we shut down the state long before the first flake is predicted to fall. If the front is forecasted to move in at 4:00 for example, southerners think this means by 4:02 there will be 8 feet of snow on the ground and all thoroughfares will be rendered immediately impassable.

2.) Roads probably will be rendered immediately impassable because the entire southern hemisphere shares 4 snow plows. Which means instead of actual snow removal, southern departments of transportation "brine" the roads. This mysterious and completely useless process includes salting the roads before any hint of precipitation. You still can’t drive safely on a brined road, but it does cure a mean corned beef.

3.) Do not buy anything useful for impending storms like snow shovels, road salt or margarita mix--buy bananas. Bananas have scientifically unproven and unfounded effects on all weather events, but make us feel better, much like a meteorological magnet bracelet that golfers wear or pajama jeans.

(If you can’t find bananas at your grocery store, [and you won’t because they will be sold out] you may substitute milk and/or Wonder Bread.)

4.) Be sure to drop the words black ice in a hushed tone at least 10 times in every conversation. When you question why school is closed for the 8th day in a row when we’re mowing the lawn, wait for the look of horror and the words black ice spat out to you like an exorcism. Just for fun, say, "But it’s above freezing outside." In response, get the sneered, "But that’s what makes it so dangerous, you can’t see black ice. Moron." Answer, "Then how do you know it’s there?"

5.) Lose all the new friends you worked so hard to make in the fall.

6.) For every inch of snow predicted, the negative amount will actually accumulate.

7.) On the day of the anticipated storm, watch for the school closings reeling along the bottom of your television screen. This is actually a complete waste of time, because if one school closes, every single learning institution and dry cleaner will follow within the hour.

(Except my son’s elementary school that must have administrators from Nunavut and won’t cancel school unless the students’ desks are frozen shut and they used up all the butane on freeing up the chalkboard erasers.)

8.) And speaking of watching television, the Channel 5 doppler radar in Nashville, Tennessee has the prognosticating capabilities of Nostradmous. It is capable of crippling an entire municipal government at the mere mention of the white stuff weeks before in a 5 p.m. newscast. People unwaveringly entrust their entire lives to what that computer graphic depicts. It can not only predict snow, but the next 10 Super Bowl and Idol winners. (Which kind of begs the question why aren't the folks at NOAA tuned into this super, southern-exclusive technology? Or at least the KGB and ESPN.)

9.) If any snow actually makes it to the ground, it will certainly melt before the 4th hour of the Today Show. After your kids make mud men, mud-gloos and have mudball fights, you may want to rethink that big pot of chili served in front of the fire for dinner. Serve popsicles and ice water instead.

10.) Make banana bread for dessert.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

First attempt to take over the world. Or at least North America

We are now in our 3rd day of hosting our Canadian exchange students, and I think it's going fairly well.

We really don't have a whole lot of time together--during the day they are busy seeing the sights of Nashville and eating at chain restaurants, and I really only have bonding time to and from hockey games. So far we've discusses the crazy large amount of churches here and the local liquor laws, which I swear they initiated, not me. (Not appropriate for 11th graders.) I have tried to steer the conversation toward country music star stalking and pushing my own personal agenda to take over the world.

And then I realized I had no such agenda but I didn't want to miss this once in a life time opportunity so I made one up: McPudding and Ordinal Numbers.

First off, I've noticed they don't use ordinal numbers often so I've helpfully put them in bold throughout this post to show how helpful they are in verbal and written expression. You're welcome, Canada.

Secondly, If you don't know the McPudding story basically my husband orders the fictitious McPudding at every McDonald's he visits in hopes to get it on the menu. He believes it is his legacy for our children. This drives me insane since it requires an extra long explanation at the drive-thru and fits of laughter from the back seat. So I thought that perhaps our Canadian friends could take up this cause and then it would truly be a global effort.

But then I realized "pudding" means something totally different in traditional, non-American English cuisine and has precious little to do with Bill Cosby and more to do with Yorkshire and figgy.

Which is totally gross and not at all in keeping with the true spirit of the McPudding movement.

So it looks like McPudding will eventually remain a strictly state-side national treasure.

You're welcome, Canada.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Honey, you shouldn't have

The traditional gift for the nineteenth wedding anniversary is bronze.

My husband got me a fish tank.

He pointed to goldfish swimming in the corner, and said, “See? This one looks sort of bronze.”

I think it was more of a Ph imbalance in the tank causing the discoloration, but I digress. The point is we are not fish people. We had a brief and tragic experience with a beta we won at a carnival after which our fishing license was permanently revoked. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my husband doesn’t know me AT ALL after two decades to warrant such an inappropriate gift. If he’s going to spend $350 on something that swims, it better be my bar tab at the pool bar at the JW Marriott.

He gave me the line, “but this is something the kids can take care of on their own,” which upon uttering hundreds of angelfish shuddered and lost their fins.

To their credit, they tried. The toddler “fed” the fish. By dumping the entire contents of the fish food bottle into the tank. This put visibility at .06 millimeters and a toxic glow emitting from the glass.

So we cleaned it. And by we, I mean me. Removing the ceramic Spongebob housing which must have recently gone co-op since all of the fish hid inside the pineapple under the sea, I proceeded to empty, rinse, and repeat before putting the fish back into the tank, ignoring my instinct to put them out of my misery by flushing them into the Cumberland river.

While the water was somewhat improved, it was still slightly gauzy, so I decided to buy another fish--one that is biologically engineered to clean tanks such as this. Choking back the vomit that had formed in the back of my mouth at the mere thought of this, I went back to the fish store and got said cleaner fish. And another bottle of food flakes.

The check-out girl said, “You have goldfish, eh?”

“Yes. Very dirty goldfish.”

She nodded in agreement. “You know they go a lot.”

“Excuse me?”

“Ah, defecate? Goldfish defecate a lot more than other fish.”

Another choke back of bile. “Really? I thought maybe mine just had overactive colons--I was going to tell them to lay off the bran muffins.”

After scolding me for feeding my fish baked goods, I went home and dumped the cleaner fish into the dump. Of, ahem, dump.

A more cynical wife might say that my husband got me scat for our anniversary, but I’d like to think it was unintentional.

Besides, with next year being our twentieth and the traditional gift of china, I don’t want him buying me a panda.

We all know what they do in the woods.

(Cross-posted at