The Snow Warrior
“What’s a grade 2 snow storm warning?” I asked TSH casually yesterday morning. “I don’t know…” he answered as he fussed around getting his breakfast in order “… but I think it goes up to 5 so don’t worry about it”. Don’t. Worry. About. It. It’s just that when the government starts classifying things, such as into a grading system, I think you should pay attention. “Well on the news it just said that 1/2 a metre of snow is meant to fall in Stockholm today…” I continued. “Half a metre? do you know how much that is? I don’t think so…”, he laughed. It did sound a lot, “I’m not sure if I understood, maybe they meant that 1/2 a metre of snow is going to fall on all of Sweden, not Stockholm, you know, evenly distributed.” He looked at me like I was a little crazy and then went about his business.
I looked out the window and saw the snow, the wind and lots of people digging cars out. I read in the news and somewhat gathered that “Grade 2” snow storm could be translated to mean ‘blizzard’ and wondered for a split second, if indeed Bubba should be going to daycare today. I’m sure she’d have fun but how on earth would I pick her up? I’ve got the baby and it’s 1/2 hour away and we don’t have a car and heavy snow usually means that public transport goes to burning snowflake hell. But then again, I’m not Swedish, I’m Australian. And a big wuzz, so I better not say anything and just shut the fuck up. But these thoughts were all in a split second and soon my mind was onto other more important things then Grade 2 storm warnings, like boiling water to make a cup of tea.
Bubba was bundled up in layer upon layer of clothing and TSH, the half viking that he is, delivered her safely to daycare. The day went on as usual, with me taking care of The Flash and pottering around the house. The weather worsened and I was enthralled. I ‘liked’ all the facebook updates about the blizzard in Stockholm. It was so pretty with so much snow!!! It’s Christmas time!!!! This is an exotic treat!!!! I felt like it was my birthday and not Jesus’s.
And that’s when the phone rang. It was TSH. The 40 minute trip to work had taken him 4 hours and he was only just arriving. You see, we don’t have a car and heavy snow usually means that public transport goes to burning snowflake hell. He suggested that because I am a great big Australian wuzz, I should leave immediately to go and try to pick up Bubba even though I still had 3 hours to pick up time. “Oh, it’ll be o.k”, I soothed, as I tucked into my hot chocolate and pressed refresh on Facebook.
But he had a point. Maybe I should leave a bit early as by now, I could barely gaze out my windows as they were full of snow. TSH called again. All schools and daycare in the south of Stockholm had been closed and parents were being told to go and pick up their children. I put on every item of clothing I owned and got out all the snow gear for The Flash. We headed downstairs to the basement where all the bikes and prams are kept. I opened the door and found this:
Yep, bitch slapped in the face by a metre of falling snow. I couldn’t see the stairs, I couldn’t see anything. How was I going to pull my Mountain Buggy Double Pram up a flight of stairs? When they used the term Mountain, I don’t think they meant a mountain of snow. Well I set The Flash down on the ground out of harms way and then tried my best to drag the Mountain Buggy Beast up the stairs. I made it to step 1, got puffed out and then made a retreat.
New plan! Leave the kid on the floor and take the pram out the front way, not the back way. I pulled it up a flight of stairs and opened the front door and dragged it about 1/2 metre before it got stuck in the snow again. The scene before me was not a positive one. The street was filled with people and cars and lights flashing and digging and stress and ripping winds and more snow and more snow. I asked a man to help me carry the pram up over the snow and onto the partly cleared road. We got it there finally. Quite the picture, me standing in Grandpa’s wet weather gear, standing with snow up to my thighs with the Mountain Buggy up over my head. “Where do you think you are going?” the stranger asked. “I’ve gotta pick my kid up from day care… like now.” “I don’t think you are going anywhere with that pram, it only gets worse up the street. I’ve got a four-wheel drive and even my wheels are having trouble today.” He had a point. I looked around and no one else had prams out on the street. In fact,everyone just looked at me like you’re not from around here are you. No, I’m not.
And that’s when I remembered I had my baby lying on the floor of the cellar. Fuck me. I made the man help carry the pram back inside and raced down to find her happy as, looking at the lights and smiling. And not stolen.
What was I to do? I’ve got one kid on the floor of the bike room and another kid half way across town. Time was tick, tick, ticking. The fucking pram was totally covered in snow and my back was killing. Most Swedish women at this stage would have been putting on their gortex triple insulated walking boots and would be on their way to save their kid. I decided a better option would be to cry and to frantically call my husband.
Oh yea of little sympathy. Yea of no ideas to help me. Yea of some story about being stuck 4 hours away with no trains running so what was he supposed to do. And then he said, “well honey, you are just going to improvise…” IMPROVISE????? WHAT THE FUCK!!!! I’M A CLASSICALLY TRAINED MUSICIAN, YOU KNOW THAT, I DON’T DO JAZZ, I’M NOT DAVE BRUBECK*. I CAN’T IMPROVISE!!!!! IMPROVISE??
Well he was obviously no use so I called my neighbour to see if she could take The Flash whilst I made the dash to pick up Bubba. Nup, she was totally sick and had to do her own dash to get her own kids. But she offered me a sled. A SLED. Yep, that’s right. A SLED. WHAT THE FUCK WAS I GOING TO DO WITH A SLED. Was I a dog now? In blizzard conditions I’m meant to drag along a 14 kilo toddler whilst trying not to drop the one strapped to my boobs??
My only option was to walk. I left the sled at home. I put grandpa’s wet weather gear back on, got the kid in a sling and headed out. The snow stung my face as I stumbled up to the bus stop. No busses. No surprises. I walked to the trains. CHAOS. Everyone else without a sled was at the station too, also trying to pick up their kids. Some trains were running but not to were I wanted them to be going. I would have to walk, but in the dark now.
I made it. I fucking made it. 2 1/2 hours, but I did it. And Bubba and the very kind and understanding staff at her daycare were very happy to find me and The Flash alive. I’ve now got my Snow Warrior Scout Badge, my brother will be pleased.
Moral of the story: When there is a Grade 2 storm warning, you shouldn’t act like you’re in Grade 2 and send your toddler off to daycare without considering your means of retrieval. Or live in Sydney.
Would you have taken the sled? Or would you have hoped that day care was now boarding school and just left her there?
*RIP Dave Brubek, jazz legend.