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“Why are there handcuffs on my kitchen counter?”

[silence]

“Guys, this room is a mess, can you help me clean up?”

[silence]

“Does anyone want some hot chocolate before I pour my booze into it?”

Just a few of the conversations that happened over a very long 36 hours that was, according to Twitter, Instagram and all of the hashtag-using entities: #snowmageddon #winterstormjuno and the #blizzardof2015

Also known as….just your average Tuesday….or most hopefully, Chad Myers’ swan song.

Although it would be sad to see meteorologist Chad Myers go. I eagerly turn on CNN whenever we’re in the face of an impending storm. Simply to see him wild-eyed and foaming gently at the corners of his mouth, talking about Arctic highs and barometric drops. And, I might add, sourcing every other word from World Wrestling Entertainment. With all of the slamming, rocking, and pummeling, we could alternatively be talking about a Guns ‘n Roses concert or a fracking expedition in North Dakota.

So who hangs out with me couch-side when I’m watching these Emmy-worthy performances? That’s where it gets complicated.

Every television show needs its own tactfully-chosen viewing partner. It’s best to watch the tube with someone who’s properly attuned the show’s comedic vision. For ABC’s “The Bachelor”, that viewing partner is my husband. Some of our finest moments as husband and wife have been on the couch, glass of red in hand, voicing suspicions about who’d illegally snuck into our bachelor’s tent after hours. If I were to prioritize, watching these television moments together rank lower than the birth of our children, but might top our trip to South America.

For CNN – and yes, CNN does have a comedic vision…it just doesn’t know it yet – that viewing partner is my Mum.

Rodney, despite his strengths as a Bachelor accomplice, doesn’t think that CNN is funny. A wind-whipped newscaster plunging a yardstick into 3 inches of snow isn’t funny. Don Lemon riding around in the “Blizzardmobile” through the night, investigating a most unstory of stories, isn’t funny. Chad Myers yelling at his fellow newscasters and spiking his script on the ground, isn’t funny.

My Mum, bless her heart, thinks it’s hysterical. Which is why when a storm bears down on the East Coast, we swap phone calls and exchange notes – “did you see the woman with the giant thermometer?”

We’re lucky when we get to watch CNN together in person, which doesn’t happen as often as we’d like these days. So we’re forced to chat virtually; the silver lining of our phone conversations is that she doesn’t have to wonder whose handcuffs are lying on the kitchen counter (let the record state that they belonged to Sam) …or witness the mess that our living room becomes after 36 hours indoors. Or, heaven forbid, see with her bare eyes how much booze gets poured into my hot chocolate.

Some things are better left private. Others…well I’m happy to share a few moments from our experience with Winter Storm Juno last week:

The actual storm before the storm…
(Really, if there was a storm, it happened two days before Winter Storm Juno. Don’t ask me why this storm didn’t get a name…. Weathercasting is confusing even before you even start talking about divergent models and barotropic systems)

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frozen_FeedMeDearly (22)

With all of the sun and fog and toes in the lake, it would seem as though we haven’t had our fair share of winter.

I’m here to prove to you that not only has blustery weather passed through the Northeast corridor, but that we’ve also been taking advantage of the season. 

Some of you may recall that last year our winter season went down the tubes because our pipes froze and burst. I won’t go into the details, but despite all efforts to keep our house at a minimum temperature and turn the water off whenever we leave….sometimes the weather/housing construction gods are in cahoots and will foil your best efforts to maintain a flood-free zone. It was a mess and a three-month effort to clean up.

The good news is that new insulation has made our home much cozier than ever before, giving us renewed freedom to freeze our nose hairs off doing all manner of winter activity.

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There’s the obvious winter sport: skiing….a favorite pastime, especially now that we have two down/one to go in our efforts to get our three kids on skis. This weekend I even used poles. Poles I tell you! No backwards inverted pizza as I steer a rickety kindergartener down the mountain. I was carving skis and planting poles and it was northing short of a miracle.

It may surprise you that New Jersey has skiing, but it shocked me to find out that our neighborhood ski area, Mountain Creek, has over 1,000 feet of vertical drop spread across 3 peaks. Look across the foothills and you can see the ridge of the Appalachian trail. If it weren’t the closest ski resort to Manhattan and overrun with a bunch of wild-on-foot yahoos, it would be pretty much perfect.

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pierogies

It was 1990 in Banff, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies when I had my first kiss. I remember it vividly. The Banff Mountain Ski Academy was hosting our team for a set of races at Nakiska. We’d be racing the same downhill course that had been used for the Women’s Olympics just two years before. I was terrified.

But I was turning 15, that tender age when you morph from innocent kid into hormonal teenager. Boys were a good distraction, and there was a kid on our team who stood out. He was strong and confident, cocky even. I was downright attracted. What girl wouldn’t be?  At least in the early teenage years, when the concept of boy-girl attraction is so new. The nice guys were a blip in my rearview mirror.

With a few days to kill before the race, we arrived in Banff ready to eat, sleep and train. We bunked up with our hosts and settled into our new schedule.

And then it happened. Out of nowhere, the kid started to flirt. I must have spun around in surprise. He hadn’t spoken a word to me all season long. But here he was, trying to make me laugh. I welcomed the attention. I had a huge crush on him after all.

So, one night after a Polish-themed dinner, we crept upstairs. With the smell of ski wax and the sound of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon filling the air, we kissed. It should have been an incredible moment, but it wasn’t. I expected romance and here was this guy, groping like he was searching for something.

Fortunately, I’d fallen in love with something else that night: pierogies.

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It was an odd Christmas this year, fun, but odd. Mostly it was the weather’s fault, which was having an existential crisis and couldn’t decide if it wanted to be summer or winter.

On Sunday when we headed up to the lake, it felt hot in the car. Like really hot, put down the windows and strip down to a T-shirt hot. I turned on my mobile and saw this:

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Hmmm….I admit that I’ve never seen that in December, let alone November, but we went with it. When we got up to the lake, we ran down to the dock, eager to dip our toes in the water. Unfortunately the lake was still frozen.

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Unperturbed, we suited up and got ready for a few of our favorite summertime activities. Emma dug out her swimsuit, while I made myself a BLT.

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We considered breaking out the Slip ‘n Slide but figured that the ground might be too muddy, so we headed back inside to do another favorite summertime activity: decorate our Christmas tree. Pardon me, a favorite wintertime activity. Now you can see how confusing this was for everyone.

Tree decorating is really Lauren’s domain. She does it so well that I’m hands off about the whole thing. We end up with a bunch of bare spots and hand-drawn ornaments but it gives our tree a certain look that I’ve grown to love. My dad’s question: “Is your tree decorated?” Answer: “Yes.”

At last, just in time for Christmas, it snowed. Hard to believe that after a 70 degree day, we snuck in a white Christmas after all.

Christmas morning was the usual chaos. Toys were unwrapped and opened, game pieces went missing, pieces were retrieved, garbage bags were stuffed, pieces again went missing and were thought to be in the garbage bags, pieces were again found, cocktails were made, toys were defended, claims were staked.

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