By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA, MSA
As I sit here and write this, I look out my window and it is a terrifying sight. It’s 8 degrees outside, the wind is blowing around 30mph and snow is coming down in blizzard-like conditions. I’m seeing videos on TV of downtown Boston flooded with chunks of ice floating down the street. We are in the midst of a ‘bomb cyclone’ which is essentially a winter storm from an icy hell. I can barely see my neighbor’s house less than 100 yards away. While I have no shortage of things to be thankful for in my life, being in Connecticut today is not one of them (except maybe for the fact that I’m not in coastal Massachusetts). I am, however, finding solace in the fact that I found someone to plow my driveway this year. I put up a good fight against Mother Nature in the past, shoveling every inch of my 150’ driveway myself (Jill helped out, too), but that got old quick. Now the hardest part of being snowed in is realizing how miserably cold, wet and sloppy it’s going to be when I have to go out tomorrow. Ok, enough negativity for the moment, because I do remember back to when I could only hope for a day like today.
When I was a child, snow days were the best surprise. We would all wake up early and eagerly watch the ticker tape on News Channel 8 praying to see ‘North Haven Public Schools – Closed’ scroll across the screen. There was nothing worse than getting all the way to the N’s, after seeing many other local towns with the day off, only to find out we had a 90-minute delay. Talk about building me up just to break me down! At the time, it didn’t matter that we were going to make that day up at the end of the year. In the doldrums of winter there was nothing better than an unscheduled day off.
Most snow days meant hours of outdoor fun with the neighbors, going sledding, having snowball fights and making snow forts. Living at the end of a cul-de-sac meant that we didn’t have to worry about plow trucks or cars speeding about and gave all the neighborhood children free reign to run all over. The days flew by no matter how early we went out in the morning or how late we came in at night. It also meant coming home to hot chocolate with marshmallows all while hoping we could do it again tomorrow.
It’s as if, as a child, I was impervious to feeling cold. Now, as soon as the temperature drops below 40 I’m complaining that we should be living in Florida (because its warmer, they don’t have an income tax, estate tax, cost of living is cheaper, etc., but I digress). On days like today I often fanaticize about what it would be like to wake up in January and not have it be 20 degrees outside. What it would be like to get in my car and not immediately have to turn my heated seat on high. How it would feel to not have to need a winter coat and gloves every day. Or better yet, to not have to turn the heat up in the house to prevent my pipes from freezing.
At this point, it is just that, a dream. While there are many people, many of whom I’d admit are smarter than me, who have figured out how to master the snowbird lifestyle, I’m still a long way from joining that lucky crowd. For now, I’ll take it in stride with the rest of New England and enjoy how beautiful everything looks covered in white!