Sneaux Day

This is meant to be humorous, but there’s nothing humorous about those in the southern states who are truly suffering from this icy weather. I may make fun of myself as a Texan, but please, if you regularly deal with these types of conditions, please go easy on those who don’t.


Icy weather is not our friend here in Texas. We’re always kind of surprised when it gets cold enough for a real coat – not a hoodie, but a real, honest to goodness COAT. That has probably been in the closet collecting dust for about 358 days. We’re constantly checking the weather here because we never know what we’re going to get. Case in point:

 austin weather

It was 78 on Friday, January 31, 2014. Claire claimed on the walk home from school that it was summer again and asked if we could go swimming. I got stinky pits from my sweater – my sweater that is pretty much a loosely crocheted piece of yarn thrown over a tank top. But then! On Sunday we had a high of a blustery 45! And a low of 34! And then back to 70 on Tuesday and the effing freezing temps again. Just another week in the life of Texas.

Now let’s look at the weather up north.

 minneapolis weather

I don’t understand these numbers. Are those single digits? What’s that little dash in front of the 9 on Saturday? Seriously, y’all, I cannot compute these kind of temps. HOW DO YOU SURVIVE?


Cold weather days go a little something like this: We open the door and swear mightily at the frigid temps (which to be fair, our teeth chatter in anything under 60).  Then we hunt for the gear. Our winter “gear” consists of a jacket, maybe a scarf. Gloves if you’re feeling swanky. My “coat” isn’t even a fleece-lined number. It’s pretty thin. On really cold days I opt for my fleece zip up. I only know where my gloves are because I keep them in my “coat” pockets year round. My kids don’t even have gloves, and none of us have hats. I only think about it when it gets really, really cold, which to be fair, could be 47, but let’s not talk numbers. It’s the feeling. “Put your hands in your pockets!” I say excitedly, because acting like it’s awesome makes it better, right?

And then there’s the ice on the car phenomenon. Did you know that when it gets really cold, you could go out to your car and find it completely frozen over? Well believe it. It happened to me. In fact, it’s happened to me several times, but do I learn? No. We Texans are a stubborn breed. We don’t automatically associate freezing weather with ice. Don’t ask questions. We gave you Dell, Whole Foods, and Gary Busey. Cut us some slack.

I don’t have a scraper. When my car is frozen over, it takes buckets of warm water and attacking the windows with a putty knife to make it drivable. I rarely think to even check it ahead of time, so it’s always a last minute adventure. Time to go! Oh wait! The car is frozen! And then we spend 20 minutes trying to procure a small patch in the windshield through which to see. Totally safe.

When someone says “You need a scraper!” this is what I envision:


Here’s what they were actually talking about.



That’s for some serious scraping. Probably the kind that will give you a safer, ice-free panoramic view from the driver’s seat.


Thanks to a sprinkling of ice, the kids were out of school on a Friday. Our “snow days” aren’t snowy. They are icy, and we’re not built to drive in this weather. Our cities don’t have fleets of salt trucks because we just don’t need them. The city spread out a sand/salt concoction on certain intersections “in preparation,”  and what happened? Cars started spinning out on the sand that was there to prevent them from spinning out on the ice. I can’t even make this up.

But because we don’t want buses full of kids slipping on the ice and crashing, or parents trying to get kids to school on time spinning out and getting in an accident, the whole city pretty much shuts down, or is at least on a delay. Years ago during an ice storm – and I use the term storm loosely here – that kept Christian and I both home from work, we got crazy cabin fever and tried to go to the movies, only getting there to find out that they were also closing due to the ice. So we begrudgingly skidded back home. If only I had known the kind of cabin fever I would later get while home alone with preemie babies. Young self, you were such a fool!

Tuesday I kept going back and forth between checking my phone for alerts to admiring the nice, frozen sheen my front walk was taking on. We cancel school for an icicle. How in the world were they not going to at least have a delay?

I got everyone ready as usual, and thanks to Icy Car Condition (see above), we were running a little late, for safety’s sake. I’ll take a tardy over a spinout any day.

And when I walked them into the school and to their classrooms, do you know what I overheard?


Yes. We were now on a two hour delay. School starts at 7:45. The phone message came at 7:43, the email at 7:48, both of which occurred while I was in the throes of getting my children to school.

The teachers were there. A sprinkling of children were there. Rachel’s teacher shrugged and said, “I guess we’re just going to play  for 2 hours!” We all sighed longingly for the sleep we could have gotten.

When I got back to my car, my windshield had frozen back over, and I could barely see on the quarter mile drive home. By the time I pulled in my driveway, the sleet was coming down hard and fast. Drinking coffee and checking Facebook, my entire newsfeed flooded with parents outraged over the fiasco. A friend said she picked her kid back up, I was all, “Uh…. should I have taken them home???” Seriously, queen of the dense mothers over here.

It was a bit ridiculous on the outside, but in truth, the district just wasn’t ready for the unexpected turn the weather ended up taking. At 9:30ish we got the call to come get our children when it was safe to do so. I welcomed them home excitedly, agreeing how cool it was that they “got to watch a movie!” and then come home without even eating their lunches! I was ready for fun! Infinite playtime! Reading! Making construction paper princess crowns!

I was completely done by 2. I threw Despicable Me in the BluRay player and promptly fell asleep on the couch.


So yes, laugh all you want about our inability to withstand temperatures in the range known as “must wear sleeves,” or the fact that I used a credit card to clear ice from my windshield last week. Just remember, without our ice-ignorant ways there would be no this:

gary busey

Join the Conversation


  1. When I was in Minnesota for Christmas my nephew wasn’t wearing a coat. It was 10 degrees, but it had been -20 where he lives, so he felt it was balmy. That’s just insanity. I didn’t realize Busey was a Texan, but that explains a lot.

  2. Leigh Ann, you crack me up. I don’t make fun of anyone who doesn’t understand the cold, mainly because I am usually woefully inadequate at surviving winter myself. And I live in Pennsylvania. I have lived here nearly my whole life, and I do not own an ice scraper. You and me, girl: dense all around. Bring the kids: I have a Blu-ray player and extra gloves.

  3. I lived in AR for a while, and totally understand. Up here in KS, we have a lot of budget for snow plows, salt for the roads, etc, and they get out there pretty quickly. We also hardly ever lose power. But if it’s not a regular occurrance, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on it. I will always remember the ice storm we got in NWA when I was in college. The city is, like, nothing but hills, and the roads got icy fast. People just left their cars in the middle of the roads FOR DAYS. I don’t think I left my dorm or 4-building campus radius for a week.

  4. Because I am just so used to having buckets of snow and ice dumped on me it never occured to me that someone wouldn’t have ice scrapers or snow removal trucks. This was a real eye opener and very interesting! I love that you used a putty knife to clear your windshield! I don’t know what I would have had in your situation.
    Maybe my credit card… I don’t use it anyway.. they won’t let me LOL

  5. Who is that guy? He looks familiar. (sorry. I live in a hole).

    It must be a mix of fun, excitement and annoyance to get ice in a place that’s usually so warm. At least you got your kiddies back home safely. And the fact that you lasted til 2 means you’re a hero mom.

  6. Oh yes – I know what I wanted to say. What is Sneaux and how is it pronounced? (I know it’s a play on words). We used to live in a town called Sceaux and it was pronounced So.

    Soooo. I totally read Sneaux as Snow.

  7. That negative sign in front of a number is just wrong. In math and temperatures…

    Good ole Texans (and Louisianians) and their inability to “deal” when it comes to freezing temps. Yiu gotta love us. 🙂

  8. I came from the 85-90 range with 90% humidity, to freezing 30’s, so we were completely unprepared for how cold it’d actually be. We had to go out and buy extra jackets/ mittens/ hats/ scarves for the boys. So I commiserate!!

    1. Alison that must be crazy to you! But know that every winter I am scrambling to do the same for my kids because it will suddenly turn from shorts weather to pants weather and they have nothing that fits.

  9. bahaha. in the “must wear sleeves” range. we generally have a mild(er) winter here too, but my god this winter has been brutal. I just don’t want to feel trapped by the weather. that’s the worst.

  10. OMG, I know, right? How *do* we survive here?!

    (I’ve lived here for more than a decade and I’m stilled stumped every. single. winter. Like what is *happening* here and why are we all still here?!)

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