Well, another snow day here in the heartland for the kids, what is one to do?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. After making our obligatory trek through the snow to the grocery store to pick up much needed vital supplies and such, me and my kid wound up having quite the day.

The weather had sorta “warmed” up and the snow, all 15 or so inches of it, had turned into what’s commonly known as “good packing snow”. Most of you probably know what I’m talking about when I refer to that but for any novices to winter out there, good packing snow is not very powdery. It’s kind of wet and heavy and it doesn’t take too much if any effort to build all kinds of things. The only tools required are warm clothes, a shovel, a bucket and some good old fashioned imagination. So that’s what we started out to do, little did I know how much of it was going to get done though.

We started out to build ourselves a little igloo. Sounds simple enough huh? I mean, how hard can it be to build yourself a little snow house. Let’s face it, we’re not talking about something that an Eskimo would be proud to call home but rather something that a few kids can horse around in. And so we began, my kid would fill up a bucket of snow. I would then tamp down the snow and flip over the bucket. The result was a nice kinda brick. Not too heavy and easy to stack. We figured we’d make it about 3 feet high and in a nice circle.

Do kids have an internal radar or some kind of innate sense that there are goings on in the neighborhood? The reason I ask is that before we knew it, we were surrounded by about six or seven kids ranging in age from 6 to 10. It seems they all had their own theory about what should constitute an igloo and they weren’t shy about offering up their wisdom. Designs were drawn up in the snow and idea’s offered up that would have made Frank Lloyd Wright a little squeamish. For any of you out there familiar with project management in the software industry, you can see that the scope of my little project had just been greatly expanded.

To make this part of my epic a little shorter, the igloo, when completed, now stands at over six feet tall. It has a roof (some plywood I found in my basement and covered with snow), a couple of windows and a doorway. It can to accommodate four to five kids pretty comfortably unless they start getting too fidgety and wrestling around in it. It is, much to the chagrin, of many of the locals, white. (Some of them had the grand idea of mixing the snow in different colored food dye thereby giving said igloo a sort of Technicolor effect. An idea nixed by yours truly. Not that I thought it was a bad idea but the thought of sending kids home in a dazzling array of wet colored snow would probably not win me the endorsement of the neighborhood parents.)

The front of it is adorned with a couple of old Halloween skulls that I found laying around in the basement. I guess these are meant to dissuade any likely intruders (other kids from other blocks) from entering this humble abode and thereby signifying their fate. To deter any intruders from entering the igloo from the roof, target practice in the form of snowballs was used to knock down icicles that grew to about 12 inches in length from the neighborhood rooftops. A somewhat “menacing” snowman guards the rear against other forms of attack. Another legion of snowmen (snowpersons for you pc types) numbering eight or so guard the backyard in the event of a sneak attack.

Many pictures have been taken of the igloo and the various kids for posterity sake. If the weather forecast is correct, the igloo is destined to either collapse or melt in the next couple of days. Although my back is killing me today, I’m happy to report that the same thing can’t be said about the memories. Hopefully they will remain with us for a long time to come.

Good thoughts go out to all friends and family, past, present and future.