My school district announced last night that we would be closed today because of ice and snow. I had already planned to miss school because of a dental surgery appointment to fix a cracked molar, but it looked liked my students wouldn’t be going to school, either. I slept through most of the storm, oblivious to the ice pellets and sleet that blanketed our neighborhood in solid sheets of ice.
My phone woke me at 6 am. The dentist’s receptionist was calling to cancel my surgery because my dentist and her staff couldn’t get to the clinic. Disappointing, but at least I wasn’t faced with pouring hot water under my car tires and finding my ice scraper. My bed was warm—a nest of husband, pets, and blankets, so I went back to sleep.
Waking up later, my mind automatically went through the endless to-do list of tasks I could possibly accomplish with a free day. I could get so much work done! Empty my email inboxes. Finish an article that’s due next week. Write lesson plans that will take me to Winter Break. Sign and address Christmas cards. Clean. I could always clean something.
Before I drank my first cup of coffee, I had filled my snow day with work plans. In other words, I turned it into every other day. Not satisfied with booking up my own day, I suggested several tasks that Don could accomplish since he would not be going to campus to take his Statistics final. Good-natured (and used to my ways), he only grumbled a little.
I am, by Nature, a worker bee. My mother raised me to believe that if you are in bed after 8 am—even on holidays and weekends—you better have a fever. I also suffer from the insecure notion that my value is linked to what I do and how much I do for other people. It is hard for me to relax. Don is a self-proclaimed slacker. He has no trouble lounging. The Grasshopper and the Ant. We joke about this, mostly. Don urges me to rest and enjoy myself and I push him to be more motivated. It’s a delicate tension between us.
I stalled about getting out of bed. Faced with a day full of work, I just wanted to go back to sleep. What would I be doing today if it wasn’t a snow day? I would be lying in a dentist’s chair getting a root canal and spending the rest of the day sleeping off anesthesia and pain. Was that the only thing that would keep me from filling every day with work? Surgery?
I made a decision—a snow day is a rare gift and I wasn’t going to waste it by being productive.
Don was thrilled. My decision to lie around all day liberated him, too.
I made new plans.
After a shower, I put on clean pajamas.
I pulled out a pile of books and journals to read and found the TV remote.
I got back in bed.
Don wandered through on occasion, checking in to chat and bring me more coffee (or cocoa, or chili, or grilled cheese sandwiches).
We watched three weeks of Walking Dead, then three days of Stephen Colbert and John Stewart.
We spent all afternoon reading–advancing though pages the only evidence of productivity all day.
Besides pet maintenance and food preparation, we didn’t do anything else.
Checking Facebook and Twitter, I admired my friends who were working harder than me today, but I squashed any urges to join them.
It was glorious.
I will tackle that to-do list tomorrow, but I must hold the memory of this lazy day. I need to remember that I can’t be productive every minute of every single day. Here in Texas, we don’t get snow days more than once or twice a year. Maybe, I need to declare my own “snow days” more often.