Diary of The First Snow Fall, Dreams About Teeth, and Daylight Savings Time

First Snow Fall

When the white stuff flew through the air this morning, I was a little cheesed off because this was the deal: I move to Toronto and I’m free of snow.  “It’s supposed to be another killer winter like last year,” they’re telling me, everyone, apologetically. The Farmer’s Almanac said so. These farmers, so smart and hateful.

But November 1st – it’s too soon. Give us a week and we’ll be more ready, promise. We first want to make sure we find a matching pairs of gloves, put our antifreeze in the car, and do a quick exchange, umbrella for ice scraper, thrown in the back seat. Just one more week, please.

I sigh because we still have salt stains on our car mats from last year. From April to date I’ve been embarrassed every time I’ve given someone a ride. “Ignore the salt stains, heh-heh” I say. Whose car should we take? I never volunteer. Wait. Now that it’s snowing, it’ll just look normal again.  Dude, Snow! You saved my butt – and just like that you are welcome to stay.

Dreams About

Last night I had a dream that my teeth were falling out. Even in my dream I knew it meant something other than I should find a dentist in Toronto soon. Strangely, I felt some elation in my dream that maybe now I would give myself permission to get these darned crooked bottom teeth fixed. Then the top teeth started falling out randomly. “Oh, that’s a problem,” I dreamt to myself.

I looked it up online this morning because online knows everything about dream interpretation. The non-weird websites said that this is a common dream for those going through major transition in their lives, signifying the loss you are feeling because of it. By day, I have been feeling pretty good about this move, recognizing that it’s a big change, but we’ve got our act together, we can fake it till we make it! Honestly, just this past week, I thought I’d turned a corner and was getting excited about how much this house, this area, these friends are feeling like home. But by night, my subconscious has been in cahoots with my REM, lulling me to sleep despite my fears and leaking out my worries when it thought I wouldn’t notice.

I thought I loved change. I thought I loved new. My teeth disagree.

Daylight Savings

One of my new Toronto friends said that she is petitioning the government to get rid of Daylight Savings. She hates it, just hates it. She feels there are several mothers of young children who would support her cause. When I speak to her, it honestly makes no sense that we would mess with our internal clocks AND the one on the microwave twice a year. Perhaps it is a ploy of all the shiny, happy morning people to steal our daylight. She makes a good case, with the support of several countries around the world who don’t ever feel the need to control time.

Tonight, however, our family has stayed up late watching a movie. As we’re asking what time it is because it feels like midnight, I remember that we “fall behind” tonight. I perform some mental gymnastics before I’m fully, fully sure that means a whole extra hour of sleep. “This is the first time we’ll get to bed on time in a long time,” my youngest daughter tells us. I’m sorry, friend, maybe bring your petition by in the spring. Because tonight, these night owls are rejoicing that the night is still young.

Through the snow

I knew I would have to get up early to shovel.  Weather reports yesterday had said to expect snow squalls and up to 15 cm accumulation.  Really, though, that means nothing to me.  John-Mark manages the snow removal department in our family.  If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s in Ghana for two weeks on a mission trip, I would just anticipate a prettier view out my kitchen window.

Today I’ve learned that up to 15 cm  is snow above your knees when you open your door to the world outside.  Up to 15 cm means visible shock as you process what it would take to physically move the snow to hit asphalt.  Up to 15 cm means hoping you can remember where the shovel is and how to run the snow blower on your own.  Up to 15 cm also means a whoop from the kids as they grab their snow gear and run outside ahead of you.  Apparently up to 15 cm forecast turned into 30-40 cm reality.

It was lonely at dawn, out on my driveway.  The road, normally busy, was still asleep.  After I figured out it needed to be plugged in to work, our snow blower broke the silence with a pathetic whirr.  The thing is made out of tin cans and cannot even get through the first layer without high-pitched whining.

I tried to remember John-Mark’s instructions to me.  Think of the driveway as a rib cage.  Make the spine down the middle and then extend the ribs out to one side and then the other.  One rib at a time.  That’s right.

I pushed and shoved and heaved our little snowblower to make a squiggly spine and yelled at my daughter to grab a shovel. We’re gonna be here a while.

Neighbours started showing up, dotting the road.  I don’t know my neighbours well. I’ve always blamed the traffic for that.  But there’s something about a shared burden that can draw a friendly wave from four doors down, or a shrug from across the way.  Hands cupped to yell, “Can you believe this?!” from a person whose name you don’t know.

As more and more folks made their way out of hibernation, the street scene became jovial.  We laughed between grunts as we worked and somehow this was becoming fun.  There was victorious “right on!” when someone found the sidewalk.

An hour or so of shoveling and whirring, people retreated indoors.   A few doors down, across the way, a truck pulled up to the driveway.  I’d never met those neighbours and it looked like I wouldn’t today.  A maintenance service, three men pulled out two massive snowblowers and a shovel.  Within 10 minutes, the driveway was finished and they were gone.  Those of us who remained looked a little dejected.

I started to think, I could finish this later, right?  I could take a break.  I could race my car through the chunk at the end if I had to get out?  Vehicle ramming was the precisely the way we dealt with snow in our first year of marriage. I could relive the good old days when we couldn’t afford a shovel.

My next door neighbour was the last to arrive on the scene.  He pulled out his beast of a snowblower, twice the size of mine.  He walked right over. Before even starting his driveway, he finished mine.  I kept yelling, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! at him over the roar of his snow blower’s engine.  He eventually ignored me.

Another neighbour said we’re expecting 15 cm of snow tonight again.  I now know exactly what to expect.