Friday, August 7, 2009

Scientist of Seasons

Once, when Sicily was about four, I was taking her to school.  She was complaining in the back seat about how cold she was.  She dressed earlier in a t-shirt and skirt, but there was a cold snap overnight.  After we finished breakfast and the nanny arrived for John, we marched out the front door, both dressed for the weather from the evening before.  Late as usual, I ran back into the house and grabbed jackets to throw over us; we didn't have time to change.

I'd like to say this was an isolated incident, but I never know the weather.  We don't even have umbrellas.  The other morning, I noticed through the kitchen window that it was pouring down rain.  We don't have a functional garage - my car is parked out front.  I pushed breakfast time to its absolute limit, but the swimming pool in our backyard kept growing and the water spilling out of the sky exhibited no signs of abating.  So I looked at John and Sicily, and said, "OK guys.  We are going to have to do a mad dash.  Are you ready for a mad dash?"  John asked curiously, "Mommy, what is a mad dash?"  I explained the term, and they both became excited at the prospect.  I warned them, "The only rule of a mad dash is that you can't dash so madly that you fall down and hurt yourself.  Splashing in puddles is allowed.  Slipping is not."  We all ended up soaking wet, but happy.  They looked like drowned rats when the umbrella wielding carpool girl, Miss Samantha, opened the car to greet them.

Instead of wallowing in frustration during the drive to school with chilly, four year old Sicily, I decided to tell her about my friend Carrie.  Carrie always knows the weather.  She loves the weather, studies the patterns, and even, if I remember correctly, spent a little time in Oklahoma at a "weather school," before getting her law degree.  I told Sicily that if she was in Carrie's family, she would always be prepared.  Carrie knows if a cold front is moving through during school hours, and packs appropriate hat and glove gear for her daughter so she won't be stuck freezing in the carpool line.  I went on and on about Carrie's knowledge of tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc.  I finally ended my diatribe as I was dropping her off.  Before the door opened, Sicily asked, "So mom, does that mean Carrie is a scientist of seasons?"  I was surprised and thrilled at her fantastic three word summation of my long-winded explanation.  I answered, "Yes, she is."

So I am happy to have Carrie along on our second annual "Friends Head to the Ocean" trip next week.  Last night, after book club dinner at The Pantry (I strongly recommend the Weiner Schnitzel, pate, and bratwurst), Carrie and the very statuesque, genetically unchallenged Mary and I were sitting on Mary's Hillcrest front porch chatting over a bottle of wine.  I reminded Carrie of the title Sicily had given her a couple of years ago, and we laughed at the memory.  Carrie is much more than a scientist of seasons - she has amazing taste in books and clothes, is uber-prepared in every arena, and has taken Michael Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which we both read a little while ago, into everyday practice in their household.  She started working out again a few months ago, and we plan to run together on the trip.  Her husband is a blackjack genius and an amazing cook.  We talked, a while back, about having backgammon tournaments at night, and I hope we do it, even though the backgammon board I bought in eager anticipation a few months ago died a "missing pieces from too much John attention" death.  So I need to get another one.  When I was growing up, my dad would always challenge us to backgammon on whatever ocean trip we took that year - and one of the biggest thrills of my pre- and adolescent life was beating him.  

But I digress.  Weather.  Scientist of Seasons.  I am so glad she will be there, with us.  After all, it is hurricane season.  You never know when you might need a scientist for that.


ts said...

how can you not have umbrellas?? i'm shocked, you are always prepared! we have multiple, in all the cars, garage, house, as well as a spare in my work bag just in case!!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

We leave them places. It is an illness.

Scientist of Seasons said...

Finally catching up on your blogs, which always make me smile- what else can be better than that?! Thanks for the nice props in this one! Looks like we picked the right week for our trip given this week's storms- although you know, as the "scientist of seasons," I am always a little disappointed not to be there during the real weather action! Seriously, we had an incredible time with all of you and cannot wait for the next one. Love ya!!!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

Yes, we barely missed ?Claudette? I had to drive home from Conway in her yesterday - what a nightmare! The Arkansas River looked like the ocean.