The following dispatch was discovered in a room strewn with Legos and fruit snack wrappers, floating in a puddle of melting snow, scrawled in the margins of a Captain Underpants book in what appeared to be spaghetti sauce.
It bore no explanation or signature. Only this title:
Alone with an 8-year-old. Snow Day No. 5.
Consider this diary a case study, a tool for understanding the volatile mix of surprise snowstorms, canceled school and out-of-town spouses. It is offered here for research purposes, a brave and meticulous log recorded under extreme circumstances, a document from an adult-starved world.
9:10 a.m. Boy puts a Hexbug toy in his pants during breakfast. Is there any of that good cough syrup left?
10:09 a.m. Boy has several questions before putting on his snow boots: Can lava melt anything? Can it melt rocks? Why doesn’t it melt the whole volcano? Does lava ever freeze? What about at the South Pole? Why don’t we make lava-walking shoes out of rocks?
10:34 a.m. Boy samples the falling snow, holding it to the light, sniffing it, swirling it on his tongue. A fluffy consistency with a grassy finish and notes of soil. Best rolled into a ball and paired with your father’s nose.
11:47 a.m. Rules for flying remote-controlled helicopters indoors are relaxed.
12:03 p.m. Limits on weekday television watching are waived. It’s OK if it’s just “Wild Kratts,” right? Everybody needs to know the diet of the black jaguar.
12:15 p.m. Stray Legos made into floor tile.
12:34 p.m. Boy argues strenuously that homework can be done without wearing clothes. The homework doesn’t mind.
1:52 p.m. What’s on sale at Peace Street Market? Could I get there on a sled? Could I send the remote-controlled helicopter?
2:34 p.m. Piano practiced. “Frogs on Logs” nailed. “Petite Minuet” muffed.
3:01 p.m. Boy asks, “Can I have a snack?” Boy hears, “Go ahead and eat an entire box of chocolate bunny grahams.”
4:17 p.m. Where did the boy learn the words to a Miley Cyrus song?
4:43 p.m. Lego figurine attached to the tail of remote-controlled helicopter.
5:03 p.m. Boy carves “I love you” in the snow with a stick.
6:17 p.m. Taco Tuesday, normally an affair for neighborhood multitudes, enjoyed quietly for two. Pace slows.
8:47 p.m. Boy asks for one more chapter of Lemony Snicket before lights out. Boy gets no reply. Boy pulls blanket over Dad and turns out the light.