On Saturday, Mark, Anya, and James enjoyed several hours in the snow. I was tired of watching the snow pile up on the driveway, so I went out for my first round of shoveling...knowing that I would have to shovel again once the snow stopped. I think Anya was trying the karate kid crane kick in the background.
Mark found a good pile of snow to sit on as he enjoyed a homemade snow treat.
Then Anya and James had to one-up him and grab a bigger chunk of snow. To appreciate the "chunk of snow" comment, you need to realize that we still had about 8-10 inches of snow left on the ground from last weekend. Then we added about 6 more inches of snow before getting to a real slushy/sleety kind of wintry mix for a few inches before turning back to snow for the last 4-6 inches. So there was snow, slush, and more snow. It was all so wet that you could easily pick up chunks of snow. On one hand, it made it easier to shovel because you could remove larger sections at one time. On the other hand, the shovel contained 15-20 pounds of snow with each back-breaking heave. :)
After a little snow snack, James thought it would be a good idea to lie down and roll around. Mark and Anya were quick to follow his lead.
I think the blob in the center is James. I'm not sure what caught his interest there. Anya and Mark are the other blob just a little further down near the end of our driveway. Are there any sympathetic readers out there who realize how incredibly long this driveway is...especially when there is a foot or more of snow...and considering that I've already done this twice before this winter? Anyone?
In all the times our kids played in snow while we lived in Illinois, we never had to caution them to watch for falling trees. But I heard a loud crack and then looked to my left and saw this:
Yep, I literally watched this pine tree fall. Fortunately, it fell towards the road and was two houses down. But I warned the kids that if they heard a loud crack, to run straight for the house. We heard several more trees fall during the day. This picture below is of the street almost directly in front of our house. You wouldn't be able to tell it was a street were it not for the clearing between all the trees. There were at least 3 large trees that fell on this street.
And trees falling during a winter storm in Virginia means no power. We've been fortunate in the past with any kind of storm while we've lived here. But our luck ran out. Saturday morning our power went out. We toughed it out Saturday night. Here's a picture of Eliza bundled up for bed. By the time we woke up Sunday morning, the house was a chilly 48 degrees.
Sunday mid-morning, we packed up a suitcase and piled in the van to go for a drive and get warm. We drove around the neighborhood and enjoyed some picturesque views. After several phone calls, we finally found a hotel that had rooms still available and spent the night away from home. If it were just Karen and I, we could have managed. But little hands don't know how to stay warm and we couldn't bare to see Luke and Peter with rosy cheeks and red hands in our house anymore.
We came back to the house Monday morning only to find the power was still out. It was now 42 degrees in the house and I was worried about pipes freezing. So the snow may have won, but the spiders didn't! Anyone who knows me, knows my sincere and intense fear of spiders. Our water shut-off valve is in our crawl space...which we have not gone in since we moved here two years ago. I removed the door to the crawl space and let out a little gasp. Ok...it was a shrill...ok, ok...it was a blood-curdling shrill almost to the point of fainting. Behind the door to the crawl space were thousands of interwoven webs. And on those webs were little spiders with the fat abdomens (I don't know which is worse - fat abdomens on spiders or hairy spiders...it's a toss up in my book). It's enough to make any grown man weak in the knees. But Karen was brave. :) She took the broom and cleared an opening. And yes, I was braver. I took that broom and cleared it a second, third, and fourth time. :) Then, with much encouragement from Karen, I crawled into the dark to save my family. Don't mock me. I had to imagine my family was dying in order to muster up enough courage to go into that crawl space. Too bad I don't have the pictures to prove it. Karen gave me a hard enough time just to go grab the camera for this photo-op. At the time, I don't think she was amused. But I assured her it would make for a great story.
So...the snow may have won by knocking out our power and helping us realize how unprepared we were for such an emergency, but the spiders did not. I showed them who would laugh last. I rose to the occasion and the spiders didn't stand a chance. And you know what? All of the stress and frustration this weekend caused was totally worth it. Because I was able to prove to myself that I can push through the fear of spiders when I really need to...and because we've been able to wake up to this:
So we're ready for one more storm tomorrow. But hopefully we can avoid the crawl space this time.