What to DO when you’re snowed in…

The trick is to enjoy the “NOT Doing!”

It’s not safe to venture out anywhere. Okay, work probably can get you on email or your cell phone, but you will still have some spare hours that would have been taken up with meetings, conference calls or those water cooler mini-meetings that seem to eat huge chunks of workday time.

The thing is, as any self-employed person knows, you don’t need eight hours to get your work tasks done. When you are left to your own devices and spurn displacement activities like Facebook or computer solitaire, you can probably clear the decks in half the time. And still have a lunch hour left over.

So even if you do have to tend to some work tasks, you have probably gained anywhere from four to six leisure hours, depending upon how long is your commute time.

Don’t waste this precious gift on TV or web trawling. It’s only on Day 14 of being snowed in that you will really appreciate Facebook Friend contact. (Trust me, I have it on great authority from a Leitrim friend who was proudly housebound for one day shy of a month Dec 2009/Jan 2010. And Charlie’s hot tip for being snowed in was to have a big supply of rainwater to draw on. (“I can survive being shut in for a long time, but not having my hot evening bath was a trial.”)

Assuming you have plenty of fuel stowed, that your water supply is well insulated and your indoor pipes are frost proof, that you have some candles and oil lamps and wind up flashlights, that you have snuggled up your bottled gas and have hot water bottles handy for thawing it out in the morning — now, what are you going to NOT do?

Well, snow is a time for recreation. That can mean getting out the sleds and skates, snowshoes and cross-country skis. You can’t DO skating or sledding.  You just whirl or go Way-hey down the hill! I suppose if you put on the snowshoes to go to the store you might say that you are DOING the shopping. But let’s face it. Once the forecast is grim we always stock up before we batten down the hatches.

For those of us that are hearth pussycats this is the time to declare other sorts of recreation.

Do you have some handicraft project that’s languished long in the top of the closet? Time to haul it out. Did you promise you would put those family reunion photos into an album last July?  You have been given the gift of extra time. Do you enjoy making soup and cakes but always feel short of time or energy? Cherish yourself. When the electricity fails you will appreciate having board games, a jigsaw puzzle and an ordinary pack of playing cards for some evening’s entertainment.

Oddly enough, all those things – the crafts, albums and games tend to languish in the back of the closet for most of the year but come into their own for snow time. Those baking materials that have been in the dark corner of your larder might need their best before dates checked before you launch yourself into Kitchen Goddess mode though.

Snow days always give us that feeling of release. Remember when you looked fervently for the school closures when you were a kid? Remember that sense of glee to have a day without routine? Suddenly it is a Wednesday and nothing is going to happen according to plan, not third period French or that meeting with your Regional Manager.

Snow days are a gift. Plan ahead and do stock up, but then kick back and decide just what you are NOT going to do.

About BeeSmith

I was born in Queens, N.Y, reared in Pennsylvania, did university in Washington, D.C. Then I moved to England for nineteen years. I lived first in London and then in Leeds. After my partner's sister died of cancer in 2000, we decided to take the leap of faith and move to Ireland to be nearer his family. Despite our friends thinking we were mad and feckless, it has worked out. The angels really do look after fools! We have a cottage on an acre and a quarter three miles from where the River Shannon rises. We have a polytunnel to grow vegetables and fruit organically, a small orchard of apple trees and plans to create a sacred space on the land over the rest of our lifetimes. We share our home with two tortoiseshell cats, Zelda and her daughter Zymina, and three dogs, Murphy, Pippin and Cara.