Weatherman, aka Mr. Google, said it was supposed to start snowing around 4 am. It didn’t. I woke up at nine. Nothing. I went back to sleep. I dreamed I was fighting repeatedly with a dude from high school named Justin. Or maybe that was early and instead, I was dreaming about bar hopping between two bars that were only separated by a parking lot. Fuck, I need to record my dreams more often. Might learn something. 10 am. Let it snow, let it snow, let it… For the next nine and a half hours, that’s what it did.
In the middle of North Carolina, people- some, not all- freak the fuck out. Two inches to them is like a foot of snow. The grocery stores were packed the day before. Milk and bread. Schools and business were closed well in advance, and rightfully so this time. It was pretty clear by the radar map that we were gonna get more than an inch or two. My job requires me to drive around four hours a day, so no way was I going to work, even though I know how to drive in it since I grew up in Illinois. I was raised six hours south of Chicago mind you, but we got our fair share of snow almost every year. Enough to learn how to get around in it. Still, screw that. Who wouldn’t want a snow day? Assuming you can afford one, or your job pays you for them. Or you’re a child. I love snow days. I always have. Sledding was uber fun as a kid but snowboarding was my favorite. There was a lagoon at the bottom of our hill. which was a pretty badass slope. It wasn’t extremely steep or anything, but it was long. You just didn’t wanna go too long and end up out on the ice, or worse, go through it and drown in half frozen turds. I know their not likely floating around by the time they reach the lagoon, but that’s the way I always pictured it. Gross. I did I slide out onto it once, but the shit ice was frozen solid. Another time, I walked out on it. Frozen. It might have been the same day.
I remember one time in middle school or high school- I can’t quite pin down exactly when, but the neighbor kid’s friend destroyed our snow packed ramp. It pissed me off and I shoved him down I think, but there was never a big brawl or anything. Years later, in my twenties, my buddy and I- and another buddy- or was it my brother? Shit I don’t know, but my one friend jammed up his finger pretty good on a nasty crash and he said it bothered him for years after that. That’s probably why I recall him being there. My memory sucks sometimes, on certain things, a lot of things, but then when it comes to other incidents, I remember them very, very well. I know that’s pretty common, but it still feels uniquely weird to me. Anyways, let’s get to the frosty parts of my snow day before I forget.
I got hooked on the cosmos because of the solar eclipse in August and a trip to Kennedy Space Center in October, so naturally, I channeled my inner ten year old and I asked for a telescope for Christmas. I got it and I finally got it out on snow day. It had been sitting in its box for three weeks because I didn’t feel like trying to put it together. I’m the worst at assembling things. I never wanna read the instructions, then when I finally do, they don’t seem to instruct me very well, so I go back to trying to figure it out on my own again. Thank God my Aunt was there to help me! She’s not quite as good at putting shit together as my mom is, but she’s adequate. A helluva lot better than me at least. We figured it out and gazed upon some snow sticking to different limbs. I was amazed. It doesn’t sound cool when you’re only reading about it, but it was pretty sweet. Perhaps it’s just because it was my first time ever using a telescope. I’m pumped about checking out the sky with it soon. I’ll finally be able to figure out whether or not there is actually a man in the moon. Man, I sure do hope so. After finding my view, merely looking out at the snow wasn’t going to cut it. I could have stayed inside and played videos games and that would have suppressed my boredom. Not a chance, I wanted the full effect. It was time for a little romp.
I went to my room, put on two layers worth of pants, three pairs of socks, a T-shirt, and a sweatshirt. I grabbed my jacket and out the door I went. It wasn’t that cold. Thirty degrees. Perfect for shenanigans in the snow. I had decided I was going to attempt to drive up the hill and go a mile down the street to the nearest disc golf course to play a round. That never happened. My aunt and our lady neighbor were hanging out on the front porch having a cig (moak break!) and a chat about a weird noise that was coming from our house. It sounded like running water in the pipes. I was about to hit the road but decided I better help lady neighbor’s man figure out what that damn noise was. He was grabbing his tools to go under our half of the duplex townhouse and take a look when I found the problem. My aunt had already asked me ten minutes prior if I had turned on the outside faucet. I said, “No, why would I do that?” We didn’t think much of it after that but I told her I’d check it out once I got my winter clothes on. I did, and that’s exactly what it was. How the hell that got turned on I have only one idea. Apparently, the neighbor’s dog almost got stuck between the house and my Aunt’s car, and they think maybe she brushed against it and turned it on, but man I don’t know. Seems like a bit of a stretch, because that damn faucet was on full blast. Mysterious.
After that, lady neighbor’s man went inside, but we three hung out on the porch a little longer. Well, my Aunt and lady neighbor a lot longer. I went to have a little fun- at their request- on the paved, hilly driveway. It wasn’t a real sled, and It wasn’t a snowboard, but I made it into both. Good old fashioned cardboard. I tried going down standing up at first to see if it was even going to work. Oh, it did. I wisely stopped before I busted my ass. Instead, I plopped down on my ass and rode it to the bottom a couple of times before the cardboard split in two. Then I used one half of the cardboard for my butt, and the other half for my feet, and went down a couple more times. There were was no lagoon at the bottom and it wasn’t nearly as exhilarating as when I was a kid- a real sled may have helped- but it didn’t stop me from acting like one. I said “Ok Aunt Marsha, look at me, here I go!” in a pre-puberty like voice. I made it to the bottom and came running back up the driveway. “I did it! I did it!” I exclaimed. My sledding exhibition only lasted about ten minutes, but it felt like I had been out there all day. I was tired. Oh to have the energy I did when I was a young lad. Now I’m just an old sport.
I may have been exhausted but my hyper fur baby, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Ace, was far from it. I’d put him up thinking I was going disc golfing. I used to take him with me, but his shock collar broke, and he’s just a handful honestly, so I stopped taking him last year. I’ll save those stories for another day. I still make sure to get him close to the recommended one hour of daily vigorous exercise, on most days. He’d get way more than an hour on snow day. Some planned, some not. It was time to go through the woods and to the field.
When we got there, we were the only ones, as we almost always are. I let Ace off his leash and off he went, romping through the snow. He’s loved it ever since he was a puppy, and I love watching him in it. Fifteen minutes later, came the chaos. I was dicking around on FB after doing a stupid live video, something I rarely ever do, one of the only other times being in that same field several months earlier, with the same dog running around. Part deux. All of a sudden, out of nowhere I saw three kids and an adult approaching from the parking lot on the East end. They didn’t have a dog and Ace wasn’t showing any interest in them, so I wasn’t too worried about getting him back on his leash right away. Mistake. Ten seconds later, from the West end now, out of the woods from the very same spot that I use, came a different pair of neighbor’s, and their dog! Ace and Iris don’t get along. I tried to grab Ace before they got into it. I knew it wouldn’t be a big Michael Vick dogfight or anything, but still, I was trying to be a good dog owner and get him back on his leash. The #2 neighbors kept walking towards the greenway on the South end of the field. I was relieved for a split second when Ace went running back towards the middle of the field, but as I turned around, I saw a big group of bilingual kids and their Espanol speaking parents coming from the mostly Hispanic filled apartment complex, out of the hole in the woods on the North end. Oh, and their dog! I don’t know what kind of dog it was but for stereotypical purposes, let’s say it was a Chihuahua. Three groups of people, two dogs. I was surrounded. Ace went running across the field to the Mexican folk, then he went galloping all the way back across the field to #2 neighbors. Then back across the field, and back and forth, back and forth, I as well, much slower than he. It was like a damn circus. I’m sure the group without the dog was probably getting a kick out of it. I know I sure was. I tried to not laugh at first in case anyone was taking it too seriously. It got semi-serious when Ace tried snapping at ‘Yo Quiero Taco Bell’. The lady had to pick it up. Finally, my dumbass figured out to grab a stick and toss it for my bad little pooch. God dang stupid broken shock collar. You may be thinking I’m a bad dog owner by this point, but nah, I just got one crazy mother fucker for a pet. He’s a little like his daddy. I’m the problem and the solution.
Ace fetched the stick and thankfully brought it back to me, and put it in my hand. That’s one thing he listens to me about. Yay! Best dog owner ever. I grabbed the stick with one hand and his collar with the other. The ruckus in the field was over. Time to settle in and settle down.
I made some cappuccino and netflixed and chilled. It got dark. The snow continued to fall. The end of the fucking world is what I was watched. If I was one of those types that worried about stupid shit, that’s the way I would have felt about the middle and soon to be later part of my day. Thank God I’m not. Not anymore. An hour later, we had pork steaks for din-din and they were muy delicioso. After that, I went upstairs to read a book: Lucky Bastard by Joe Buck. Damn right I am, well I prefer to say blessed, but there’s plenty of ways to say it, all depends on your viewpoint. I’m just fortunate enough to call myself blessed. I’m lucky, in that regard.
A chapter and a half later I hear another noise. Much different than the one before. It was tires screeching from someone trying to get up the hill. Curiously, I go down to give it a gander. I put Ace out back on his lead to piss and shit in the snow and I go out front. By this time we had got about all of the fluffy white powder that we were gonna get. It was the perfect type of snow for a Snowman. There was two of them back in the field, but I didn’t build them, and they weren’t all that cool because they didn’t come to life. We got a solid six inches. Not an overly well-endowed amount, but long- err- I mean deep enough. Shit, deeps still dirty too huh? Weatherman aka the dude on the telly, said it was the most that the triangle area had seen in seven years.
I investigate the noise, but can’t see the vehicle. They were too far up the hill and round the bend. I go back inside and head for the back door to let Ace in for the night when I hear a knock on the front door from neighbor numero uno. Her and my Aunt were still out on the porch having another moke break and still laughing at whoever was trying to make it up the hill, in what they said was a tiny little two wheel drive truck. I’m telling you man, people in NC don’t know how to handle snow. Hell, they don’t even know how to drive in the rain, I swear.
I open the front door. My neighbor says, “Hey do you wanna let Ace out front to play with Bella in the snow?” I say, “Sure can I use her lead?” “That’s fine,” she says. I knew her dog wouldn’t run off and Ace would. I go grab my boy from the back and take him off of his lead and out through the front to the other lead. I clip it to his collar and he takes off down the steps to play with Bella. I step back in to grab a coat and I hear screams. Ace had broken the clip on his collar and he was off to the races with Bella in tow. I walk a little too casually back inside and put on my Aunts enormous coat; one of those ones that go down past your knees. I don’t know what they are called but their pretty freaking sweet, and warm. Picking up my pace, I venture back outside and the neighbor and I proceed to yell and scream as we chase the dogs around the neighborhood. She is able to get Bella with relative ease, but Ace takes off in the other direction up the street towards the tire spinning truck. I run after him in shoes without socks, that I didn’t even bother to put on all the way. I got a little wet foot, but that’s alright, a little wet foot never hurt nobody. I yell and ask the lady that was trying to push the truck up the hill if she could grab him. She tries. She slips. She falls. I don’t bother to ask if she’s ok because I could tell she was and I was focused on trying to get a hold of my God dang bleeping dog. I wasn’t laughing quite as hard on the inside this time, but I was still laughing nonetheless. Ace goes up their driveway. I yell at him yet again, “Ace come on! Wanna go bye-bye? Come on!” he comes. I pretend I’m opening the guys truck door with one hand and go to grab Ace with the other. Thank heavens that truck was there or Ace may have kept going. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’s run off. Another day, another story. Although, if that truck would have never been there, I wouldn’t have been intrigued by it, and none of that would have taken place. It got me into the mess, and it got me out. Problem, solution. I wonder if they ever made it up the hill.
I get my dog by the collar and don’t let go. He takes- we take- the walk of shame once more. I guarantee you one thing, it won’t be the last time.