Sunday, March 10, 2013

We finally got a snow day! OR And then they laughed me to scorn

We don’t get President’s Day off where I work, so after Martin Luther King Jr. day, there are no holidays until Memorial Day. What can a state employee do then but look at the barren calendar and hope for a snow day?

As far as I can tell, “snow days” are not universal. When I was going to college in Idaho, where snow is a constant, they never shut anything down. There could be four feet of snow, cats freezing to death, and a nine-inch layer of super-slick ice covering every road, but school and work would still be business as usual. You were just supposed to harness up your dog sled and mush your way to class. One time there was news that a blizzard was moving in, and I naively asked some of my Idaho peers if they thought we’d get a snow day. First, I had to explain to them what a snow day was, and then they laughed me to scorn.

However, when it snows here in New Mexico, everything shuts down: schools, roads, places of employment. What kind of state cancels school and work for a few inches of snow? The best state in the whole union, of course! It makes me proud to be a New Mexican. In my office, all through the boring months of January through March, this is the prayer that is on everyone’s lips:

The State Employee’s Snow Day Prayer” 

Dear Non-denominational Entity Who Governs the Universe or Lack Thereof because the State of New Mexico does not give preference to any one based on religious beliefs or lack thereof,

Please let it snow long and hard, especially at the home of my supervisor who makes the decision on whether we close or not. Let it snow at their house most of all.  


It snows in New Mexico, but not very frequently. Weathermen/women are always leading us on. When we hear “20% chance of snow” our hopeful brains instantly translate it to: “SNOOOOOOOOOOOW DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.” And when the snow fails to materialize, everyone is irritable at work the next day because we all made plans and stayed up too late, certain we’d get a snow day. We get our hopes up every time, and we never learn. 

After several weeks, the state employees’ prayers were answered and we finally got a snow day! And it was on a Monday, too! My office was closed and I stayed home and played in the snow with my son, and it was glorious. We made a snowman, but we couldn’t find any good sticks so we ran back inside, grabbed a spatula and a slotted spoon, and used them for snowman arms. My son was delighted. We don’t own a sled, so I tied a jump rope to a laundry basket and pulled my son around in that. He had pulled one of the snowman’s arms off and he waved the slotted spoon and shouted for me to go faster. We had a blast.

It seems like no matter how boring or bad life is, every once in a while you're bound to catch a break. 

Do you have snow days where you live? Any good snow day memories?


  1. We don't have snow days in Florida. When I was growing up in Kansas, we wouldn't get a snow day right after it snowed, but sometimes we'd get one the day after because so many people complained about not getting one the first day (makes no sense, I know). My kids grew up in Maryland. We had LOTS of snow days and we loved them. They threw themselves off the rail of our deck into two feet of snow and then we made popcorn and watched movies. Those were fun times. I'm so glad you played with your son.

    Janie Junebug

  2. We just had a snow day on Wednesday in Michigan. Apparently there is only one plow in the city. I grew up in Maryland, Ohio, and Illinois, and snow days were plentiful.

    I loved the laundry basket idea.

  3. I remember when it first really snowed in Las Cruces since I moved here. It was after the Kelly Clarkson concert a few years ago (don't hate! Kelly deserves to be an American idol, by the way) and we walked out of Panam to see so. much. snow. I was super excited to go and play! It was weird because we had to convince the rest of our roommates to come out with us. Like, WHY WOULDN'T THEY WANNA PLAY OUT IN THE SNOW?? But yeah, I'm super glad that snow is a rarity around here, otherwise I'd hate life.

  4. As an Idahoan myself, I have to set the record straight about snow days: We used to get at least three a year most of the time because the snow would be so crazy that the buses couldn't drive in it -- or because it would be -21 degrees and the diesel fuel would gel up. Twenty-one below was the cut-off (though BYU-I didn't have the same rules). :)

    It is a bummer that you don't get snow days; they are a lot of fun. It's great that your son got to experience one, though!

  5. Aw, I love the way you celebrated your snow day - great memory making :)
    Where I live, we are more about 'heatwave' days. If the weather gets above 40 degrees celsius (is that a hundred and something in Farenheit?)for something like 3 days in a row, schools and outdoor workers are apparently able to have a day off. I remember all my childhood, we'd have three of those days forecast as over 40, but after two days it would suddenly drop a degree or two and we'd all be so disappointed!

  6. I love snowdays! We haven't had too many lately here in Colorado. Have you heard the Trip Shakespeare "Snow Days" song? Here's a link
    it's pretty great. I hope you get a couple of more spring dumpings so you can enjoy time off.

  7. Hahahaha...we don't get snow days in Upstate NY. Snow is too commonplace. Similar to your earlier life experiences, nine inches of ice could be on the road and work is still open. We do have an "inclement weather policy" at work though where you could call in and charge your vacation time based on how horrible the weather is.