DAY 2: My eyes opened and I willed them to shut again. I could tell I hadn't slept 10 or more hours, which is mandatory for the first day of the weekend. But they wouldn't shut. I pulled my arm out from under the warmth of my down comforter to check my phone for the time. 8:17 a.m. Entirely too early. I put my phone down and nestled back under the covers to escape the cold air in my room (living above a parking garage is only a good idea because you get cheaper rent). Noli noticed I was moving around and crawled over the bed to greet me with kisses. I squinted my eyes and blew in her face to make her stop, but that just made her bark and act crazy. So I hid my face under the covers too...and then I remembered...SNOW!
I flung the covers off and leaped over some dirty clothes to get to the window. I pulled back my gray damask velvet burnout curtains (yes they are gorgeous) and looked down at the alley below. There were at least 15 inches, maybe more. I smiled big and hopped up and down a few times. I looked over my shoulder at Noli and she was doing the same thing, only her tail was wagging furiously as well.
What is it about snow that makes you feel like a kid again? Last winter, right after the first snowfall, a DC blogger (007inAfrica.blogspot.com) wrote: "I walked out the door and ran into my neighbor. I almost shouted 'It's snowing!' in his direction. But in my embarrassment, just looked up to the sky and grinned. He grinned back." Just like her, I had really gone into this snowstorm trying to be all adultlike, but seriously, when that snow begins to fall -- and even more, when it sticks and accumulates enough to actually do something with it -- all care is pretty much thrown to the wind.
I slipped into my pink fuzzy slippers and walked into the living room. Everyone was still asleep -- I felt like the kid who wakes up early at the sleepover and resists jumping on people to wake them up. Then I had an idea. I'd recently bought a bag of Pillsbury Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, and no one can resist that warm, homey smell on a cold morning. I placed them on a baking pan, slid them into the oven, and by the time they fluffed out and got all toasty on the top, people were wandering out into the living room. As we peeled layers of cinnamony pastry apart, we all stared out the window at the 20 inches of snow (Mayor Fenty confirmed it had broken a record by then), and it was still coming down hard.
The night before MetroMix had listed all the snowball fights. This time the one in my neighborhood was safely tucked away in Malcolm X Park, not in the middle of 14th Street where scary off-duty cops in Hummers could threaten our lives.
"Are y'all going to the snowball fight?!!" I asked as everyone licked icing and cinnamon off their fingers.
"Umm, I have to study," Margaret said. (She was studying for the GREs. Booooooring!)
"Umm, I don't feel well," Margaret's friend Jenny said. (Sick on Snowtorious B.I.G. day? Tragic!)
"Umm, maaaaaaaaybeeeeeeeee..." Margaret's friend Silvia said. (We all know what maaaaaaaaybeeeee means.)
So I called Jamie. "WELL DUUUUUHHHH!" she answered.
Around 1:30 Jamie showed up, had a bowl of chili with me, and then we put on our snow gear and headed out into the storm. It was interesting walking four blocks in 20 inches of snow. The funny thing is, you're having so much fun and you're so excited about the stinkin' snow that you don't realize you are wearing yourself out. So by the time we reached the park I was not as prepared for a giant snowball fight as I would have liked to be (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it).
In pretty typical Mary El fashion, I wimped out after the first snowball hit me. By a kid. Oh yeah, the entire neighborhood had showed up, including dogs and babies, and everyone was participating.
Since I've never learned how to make a decent snowball (a friend later gave me the tip to spit in it as you're packing it), mine were falling apart as I threw them, and I was therefore no competition to the other side. Seriously, this one kid and this one dog were WAY better than I was. The kid was small so she could sneak up on people, and the dog had springs installed in his legs and was jumping straight up in the air and catching snowballs before they could hit anyone. No joke.
Anyway, I persevered until an ice packed (it had to have been, probably had rocks in it, too) snowball slammed into my open eyeballs. I swear to you I was blinded for at least 3 seconds. My friends know that when I am doing some sort of sports activity and I get some sort of injury, I am finished. I turned to tell Jamie that I was finished with the fight, and as I did a similar snowball hit her in the face. Well that was it. We spotted the perp, found our own ice packed snowballs, and snuck up behind him just like that evil child had done to us. As soon as he stood still we threw our snowballs straight at his head, and BAM! Right into a tree! Wow my aim is awful.
Several attempts to give him a concussion later, we gave up and decided to go home. But as we walked toward the stairs we noticed a crowd had gathered and were sledding down the stairs! People were using anything they could find -- lids to plastic bins, trash bags, baking pans. Jamie and I got in line and, due to lack of preparation, we used our behinds. And let me tell you, waterproof pants act just fine as a makeshift sled. We zipped down the two flights of stairs and rolled onto the walkway below. So much fun!!!
After a couple of trips down, we ventured into the unpopulated regions of the park where the snow was untouched and perfectly powdery.
It just felt right to fall into it and make snow angels, so we did. The snow was so deep that when I fell into it, it felt like a little igloo surrounding me. Who woulda thunk that in the middle of a busy city we could find the most peaceful place on Earth?
Lying in the snow, we realized we were pretty tired. We stumbled back toward U Street and decided to stop off at Busboys and Poets for something hot to drink. Of course I had to order pizza as well because I can never pass up pizza if it's available. After our afternoon refreshments we parted ways and I dragged myself back to my apartment. While I soaked in a hot bubble bath, Margaret made fajitas. Isn't having a roommate grand? A couple of movies later I was drifting off to sleep and praying for a snow day Monday.