Friday, February 4, 2011

The weather outside is frightful; we're sick of snow

This is the most severe winter we’ve had since we moved here six years ago. We’ve had lots of snow, freezing rain, about two inches of sleet, and then more snow.

Getting Ivan and Dasa ready to go outside is similar to wrangling toddlers into snowsuits. The munchkins wear sweaters all the time in the winter, but now they need their coats over the sweaters when we go outside. Then booties must be applied to basenji feet, back feet first, then front feet and then we scurry out the door. When we come back inside, I scramble to remove booties—first front, then back—and coats. If their sweaters also got covered with snow or ice, we change sweaters as well.

My apologies to the basenjis and their people farther north who battle winter weather for months. I’m sure you’d find this frozen equivalent of a plaque of locusts just business as usual. How do you do this? How do people with toddlers do this?
My poor little munchkins are being very brave. Dasa, my uncomplaining little girl, scampers out and back again in short order. She doesn’t seem to blame me for inflicting this atrocity upon her, although I can’t say Ivan feels quite as magnanimous in his discomfort. I dutifully shovel paths in the back yard, and also in the front so when Ivan refuses to poop in the back because surely there won’t be any of this dreadful white stuff in the front, we can stride out of the garage and discover at least a couple of swatches of grass sticking out of the snow. This does not meet his approval, so we trek down the street in search of grass or at least a spot where the snow isn’t up to his tummy. We can sometimes find a tiny sliver of grass where the snow plow turns around at the end of the street. My frequent mentions of the grass I uncovered in his yard make no impression on Ivan.

In the back yard I shovel a big circle with paths leading off to four trees. This is not satisfactory, as I haven’t shoveled the right places and Ivan is forced to step into the snow up to his tummy, stand in shock, lift one foot and then another, attempt to circle a bit, and scramble frantically back to the patio. This is all performed with just the right amount of pathos. He hovers on the edge of the patio, hesitantly lowers one foot toward the snow, stops, steps back onto the patio, sighs, leans slightly forward and again raises a foot, preparing to valiantly step off into the white abyss, and finally flounders around in the snow with great fuss.

On a recent morning, my bare feet quickly thrust into boots, laces flapping, a coat pulled over my pajamas, I walk around the cleared area, calling to my puppy boy. He glances briefly my way and stands forlornly at the opposite edge of the patio. Then the shelties next door come out into their yard and Ivan plunges through the snow and over to the fence. He races up and down between the arborvitae and the fence several times until the shelties are recalled. Then he minces carefully toward the back corner of the yard where he again remembers there is snow everywhere and it is terrible.

I hurry across the yard to Ivan, stranded on the tundra by the back fence, holding up cold footies and looking for help. I start to pick him up and he is indignantly appalled. Now that Mom is out here knee deep in the snow beside him, he decides he can trot back along the fence behind the arborvitae then charge across the snow and meet me at the patio. He stands with his front feet on the doorstep, waiting for me to let him in, clearly expecting treats and praise for his heroic efforts.

In the meantime, Dasa has quickly trotted out to the cleared area, pottied, gotten her treat, and is upstairs snuggled in her still warm spot on the bed.


  1. HILARIOUS! Peggy, I have to laugh - hard - at this post. My two basenji boys HATE, and I mean HATE, the snow. Of course, my 3 larger dogs love it - especially the huskies. BUT, even with all of the snow we've had, I have to say that my youngest b-boy, Twister, is the brave one. He, like your "kids", runs out to do business and runs back indoors. However, if he sees the huskies having too much fun without him, he wants to run and play too - and he does, briefly! Much fun reading. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is quite, quite, hilarious!!! We live in Florida, but I can just picture these antics. SO typical.