It's hard to believe another winter has come and gone, but with the months of December and February I think most of us are happy to get a respite from snow and ice. Granted we were spared the heavy snows that socked Baltimore and Philadelphia at the beginning of last month, we still got our fair share of mess.
As you know back in December we built our first snowman and unfortunately the weather did not make for good snowman building since then. We had plenty of snow since then, but it was not snowman making snow. Instead it was dry snow, good for drifting and blowing and turning to ice pellets but not good for packing.
As winter wore on and we continued to get the powdery snow instead of wet packing snow, I began to worry about whether we would be able to build another snowman. Earlier this week, Kathryn insisted she wanted to go outside to play in the snow. I took her out to play and while we were out there, my little one's call to build "Frosty" resurfaced and I had a dilemma. The snow was wet but it was large ice crystals and not conducive for packing into snowballs. I was at a loss as to how to grant my daughter's request when my neighbor Jack suggested packing the snow in cans instead of rolling it. Kudos to him for the best advice of the week.
I pulled a small pail and a garbage can out of the garage and we eagerly filled them with snow. I tamped them down by picking them up and dropping them on the pavement, then I packed the snow inside the containers to make sure it would retain its form. Once it seemed pretty solid in the cans, we picked a shady spot and stacked our improvised snowballs or snow cylinders and they ended up forming a fairly good snowman.
This led to the repeat realization from the first foray in snowman construction. No incidentals for decorations. I was not to be deterred by this problem a second time. In the garage was a roll of duct tape and this MacGyver daddy came up with his own use for duct tape. Rolling it on itself to the right size, the balls made perfect eyes. For the nose we folded a piece in half and made a triangle from it for a nose. For the mouth, I took a longer piece and folded it on itself half way on each side repeatedly until I had a string shaped pieced that I fashioned into a mouth.
Fortunately we had the hat from our first snowman and it fit perfectly on the head made from a bucket of snow. We omitted arms on this version, but in a relatively short time we had a pretty handsome snowman standing guard near the bottom of our deck and I had one happy little girl.
Unfortunately, two hours later our snowman in the warm pre-spring sun went from being an egotist with a swollen head to a pre-shrunken head. As we came back from food shopping and greeted our snowman we discovered Frosty had lost his eyes and half his nose was off his poor face.
Twenty four hours later, our snowman looked like witch doctors from the Amazon must have visited and shrunk its head. He had gone from having the head of a five gallon drum to the head of a soup can. By evening, our second Frosty's head was gone and to make him last as long as possible I repositioned his hat on the original body. Now Frosty looks more like Frosty the Teenager and less like Frosty the Snowman or more accurately probably an elf. So much so that when Kathryn came in with us from visiting her grandparents this evening, the updated Frosty momentarily surprised her and Mommy had to stay between her and our miniature snowman.
I consoled my little one by explaining that it was soon time for Frosty to return to the North Pole, but I reassured her that he would return when the weather got cold again and we would rebuild our friend again. I told her that he has to leave for a little while so that we could grow flowers and swim and play outside. After we enjoy those other seasons, winter will return and we will be able to bring Frosty back to visit. She seemed content with this explanation and soon was off playing again.
If only all of life's problems were so easily repaired. I have been extremely grateful for the time off to watch Kathryn grow and learn with her. Of course, like everyone else I need to work also, but at least for once I couldn't be more happy that the timing has given me this time that I would not trade for anything else.
Aside to Mike, yes there was a divine transfiguration in my anecdote last week that turned Peter into Paul. I forgot to mention the odd miracle I can pull off once in a while.
Til next time…