I Think I Am Finally a Southerner

I’m not sure, but after three decades below the Mason-Dixon Line I think I am finally a Southerner. Either that or I’m suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because I just heard rumor (a.k.a The National Weather Service forecast) that a fast-moving winter weather system is expected to pass through metro Atlanta tonight and I am FREAKING OUT! Words like WINTERY MIX and SNOW and BLACK ICE make me HYSTERICAL and no, it does not matter that tomorrow calls for sunny skies and temperatures that promise to reach well into the 50’s… must…buy…large…quantities…of…toilet…paper…When snow hits Atlanta, bad things happen. BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

In case you hadn’t heard (id est… you live under a rock) Atlanta was crippled – CRIPPLED – last week by snow. Not two feet, not one foot, not even six inches, it was two inches of the powdery white stuff that crippled  Atlanta. Two inches, I tell you.  I was born and raised in Connecticut, but in all my years in the Nutmeg State, I never experienced anything as frightening as what ensued during last week’s snow storm. It snowed steadily for nearly twelve hours and in that time over 1000 auto accidents were reported, 100 of which involved serious injuries. There was one fatality and one baby delivered in a car along the side of the highway.

School was dismissed early for my son, a high school senior, but the seven miles to our house (normally a 15 minute car trip) took him five hours to drive. He was fine, but I WAS FREAKING OUT. Roads along the last part of the trip were impassable so he left the car in a nearby parking lot and trekked the final three-quarters of a mile on foot…in his baseball cleats. Yes, in his baseball cleats because it is baseball season. I think I am finally a Southerner because as far as I’m concerned IT SHOULD NEVER SNOW DURING BASEBALL SEASON. NEVER. EVER.

And another thing, Atlantans are not inferior drivers. We simply don’t own snow tires and ice scrapers and we don’t drive around town with bags of salt in our trunks just in case because it RARELY SNOWS HERE by virtue of it being THE SOUTH. I think I’m finally a Southerner because frankly, I’m sick of Atlantans, and by extension southerners in general, being the brunt of haughty jokes that imply we are stupid and inept. So to all of you hurling insults I say this: at least WE have manners. 

Although last week’s snow is gone and all the ice has melted, the mere hint of even a single snowflake paralyzes me. I suppose it could be PTSD, but I prefer to believe after three decades below the Mason-Dixon Line, I am finally a Southerner…y’all decide.


© Antoinette Datoc 2014


Trifecta In the South

trifecta:  n.  any achievement involving three successful outcomes*

We have a Trifecta in the South.  It’s the third snow day in a row for my son, Jared.  Actually we have a Double Trifecta because Christian’s college classes have been canceled for the third consecutive day too.  Can someone please tell me what is going on here?  Don’t start spouting about global warming and polar ice caps slipping, blah, blah, blah.  I don’t mean what’s going on with the weather.  I mean THREE SNOW DAYS IN A ROW is ridiculous.  I grew up in the northeast and we NEVER got three snow days in a row.  Don’t misinterpret me.  We had three consecutive days of snow plenty of times, we just never had three consecutive snow days.  We’d  have a snow day sprinkled  here and there throughout the winter, but THREE SNOW DAYS IN A ROW?  Snow days are supposed to be a little slice of heaven.  They’re supposed to be special.  You just don’t give a kid three of them in a row.  It’s too much of a good thing if you ask me.  Back in my day, the governor would have had to declare a state of emergency;  it would need to be a blizzard before we’d get three consecutive snow days.  By the way, Atlanta, please stop calling this The Blizzard of 2011.  Snow storm?  Yes.  Ice storm?  I’ll give you that.  Blizzard?  Please stop.  It’s embarrassing.  I’ve been cooped up for three days.  I’m bored and I’m cranky.  When I get cranky I start saying things like, “When I was a kid…”  It drove me crazy to hear adults say that sort of thing when I was young.  I even swore that when I grew up to be an adult and had children of my own, I’d never say it.  So much for that solemn oath because…

When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut snow days were scarce.  When we were lucky enough to get one, it was like pennies from heaven.  Let me tell you about snow days back in my day. When snow was in the forecast, you’d wake up about an hour earlier than normal because you’d been praying for school to be canceled the whole night before and you were anxious to find out if your prayers had been answered.  So you’d sit in front of the television with a bowl of Captain Crunch.  You didn’t sit on the sofa, you sat on the floor.  For one thing, you’d be in big trouble if your mom caught you eating anywhere other than at the kitchen table so you sort of scrunched down so she wouldn’t  see you.  Mostly, you had to sit on the floor in front of the television in order to get close enough to reach the knob that controlled the volume because there was no such thing as a remote control.  You had to be able to reach that knob so you could turn up the volume just as loud as it would go as soon as the local news anchorman announced, “and now for a list of school closings.”  School names did not scroll across the television, so you’d be very quiet and you’d listen till you heard him say the name of your school.   You’d sit and you’d listen, and you’d wait, and you’d listen.  Most of the time the doors of school remained open, but on that rare occasion when the anchor man announced that fate had swung your way, you’d immediately leap from your perch and run around the house screaming, “SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY!”

Now here is a list of the things you would NOT do on an official snow day.  You would not text your friends.  Cell phones had not been invented so there was no such thing as texting.  You would not email your friends.  People did not have personal computers back then.  Computers were really, really big and were reserved for use by people like the president and James Bond.  You would not call your friends on the telephone.  We did have telephones back then, but you would not call your friends because there was no need to make a plan.  The plan was always the same.  If you were lucky enough to have a snow day, you were going to play outside and so was everybody else in the neighborhood.  So the next thing you would do was run to your bedroom to get dressed.  Your mom would holler from the kitchen, “You need to bundle up and make sure to wear that wool sweater I made you!” and you’d holler back, “I will, ” and then the ritual began.

You’d start by putting on a full set of thermal underwear, top and bottom.  Then you’d put on a pair of tights, and another pair of tights.  Then you’d put on a pair of socks, and maybe a second pair if you weren’t getting close to growing out of your snow boots.  Then you’d put on a turtleneck.  Then you’d put on that heavy wool sweater.  Yes, it made your neck itch, but you suffered and wore it anyway because it was warm, plus your mom just told you to wear it.  Then you’d put on a pair of blue jeans.  You’d put on a pair of snow pants if you had some and if not you’d put on another pair of blue jeans that belonged to someone bigger than you, like your dad.  Then you’d put on your boots and your scarf.  Then you’d put on your gloves and finally your coat and a hat.  You might think putting on a pair of gloves before your coat is odd, but let me tell you something.  Try putting on your gloves last and you’ll find there’s a tiny gap between your glove and the cuff of your coat sleeve where snow can get to the skin on your wrist.  Except for down your back, the tender skin on the inside of your wrist is possibly the most painful and uncomfortable place on the human body for snow to touch.  That’s why you always put on a pair of gloves before putting on your coat;  it seals up that gap.  All those layers made it nearly impossible to move, but it was worth it.  The more layers you wore, the longer it took for the snow to melt through to your body which translated into MORE TIME TO PLAY OUTSIDE!

You’d run out the door and you’d play hard.  You’d have so much fun that you wouldn’t notice how cold you were until it was too late.  You’d notice it was time to come inside only when your friends started telling you that your lips were blue.  THis would cause you to instinctively lick your lips and you might taste blood if they were chapped enough to crack.  You’d probably have icicles hanging from your nostrils and you might not be able to feel your toes.  Suddenly you would realize you were freezing cold, wet and on the brink of losing a toe or the tip of your nose to frostbite so you’d run home, probably fall a few times along the way, and maybe even start to cry a little because you didn’t want to end up having anything amputated.  You’d stand on the front porch and ring the doorbell continuously with your forehead until your mother answered the door, “It’s unlocked, ” she’d say, ” Why didn’t you just come in yourself?”  Through chattering teeth you would reply, “Hannnddddsss nnnummmbbb.  CCCCouldnnn’ttt oppppennn dddoor.”  After peeling off all of your wet layers and discovering that none of your toes had turned black, you’d  breathe a sigh of relief.   You’d warm up with some hot cocoa and a bowl of soup or if you were really lucky a plate of pastina with butter and parmesan cheese.  Then you’d snuggle up under a homemade afghan to read one for your favorite books and before long you’d be asleep because romping around in the snow is exhausting.  Now that was the kind of snow day we had when I was a kid.


Christian November 1993 - St. Louis, MO

I remember when my son, Christian saw snow for the first time.  Now THAT was snow of blizzard proportions.  It was November of 1993.  Christian was about two and a half years old and we had just moved to St. Louis from North Carolina.  Every self-respecting northerner knows that if you’re going to go outside to play in copious amounts of snow for any significant amount of time and you don’t want to be completely miserable, you have to dress properly (see above).  So even though I had spent the last seven years residing in the pleasantly temperate southeastern United States where it rarely snows, our move to a colder climate kicked my Yankee instincts into high-gear.  No sooner did we arrive in St. Louis, and I set out to buy Christian a down-filled snow suit (jacket and matching bib overalls) and all the appropriate clothing accessories required for defense against the bounty of elements that a Missouri winter was sure to hurl our way.  I was prepared for snow in St. Louis.  Unfortunately, Christian was not.  In spite of undertaking the requisite layering and bundling him up in two pairs of socks, thermal underwear, sweatpants, a turtle neck and wool sweater, snow boots, hat, mittens, and finally capped it off with that brand spanking new snow suit (old habits die hard), I had neglected to prepare Christian for the inevitable.  Playing in the snow makes you cold and wet.  It was naive of me to think that his Yankee legacy status would make frolicking in the snow as appealing to Christian as it was to me.  I foolishly assumed that being cold and wet would not be a problem; that it was a small price to pay for fun in the snow with mommy.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  It took me close to 30 minutes to bundle him up and in less time than it takes to make a snow angel, Christian decided snow was not for him.  I tried to engage him in building a snowman to no avail.  He just shook his head and shouted a defiant two-year old, “NO!”  Thinking he’d throw one back, I threw a snowball at him.  It only served to make him cry, and that’s when it hit me.  My son is a southerner.  Wow.  I never saw it coming.

Till tomorrow…Good night.  Y’all sleep tight.


*(Collins English Dictionary-Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009 ©)

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

What is the world coming to?!  Global warming?  The polar ice caps are melting?  I don’t know, but I’ll bet Al Gore has an explanation.  It was 50 degrees in Connecticut last weekend, but it snowed in Atlanta.  You heard me.  It snowed in Atlanta.  In fact, it snowed here for three consecutive days.  Nope…I take that back.  Make that four consecutive snow days for Atlanta because it’s snowing again today…right this very minute.  Did you get that?  IT’S SNOWING AGAIN TODAY!  That has to be some kind of record.  It snowed on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and some more today.  Really!  Ask anyone.  Okay.  So nothing accumulated, and it’s been anemic at best, but catching a glimpse of even the tiniest of snow flakes floating gracefully through the air makes me giddy!  (Speaking of giddy, CHRISTIAN WILL BE HOME FROM COLLEGE IN JUST A FEW HOURS!)

I get giddy over snow, and it’s not because it stirs up memories of my childhood winters in Connecticut.  No, no.  It’s because snow whips southern folks into a frenzy and it’s fun for transplants like me to watch.  The minute Glenn Burns (one of our local weather personalities…FYI they’re not weather men anymore…sheesh) even hints at dropping the “S” bomb, Atlantans (and I can only assume this is true for all southerners) rush out and buy up all the toilet paper, bottled water, milk, and bread from every grocery store in the entire metropolitan area and surrounding counties.  I swear it’s true.  And another thing.  Native Atlantans think snow flurries call for umbrellas.  Now any self-respecting Yankee knows that you do not, I repeat YOU DO NOT, use an umbrella when it is snowing.  No, no, no.  When it is snowing, you drop your head back as far as it will go, look up toward the heavens, open your mouth and catch snow flakes on your tongue.  Please do not attempt to argue with me about this.  That is what you do when it snows, and it cannot be done if you are holding an umbrella up over your head.  It’s not proper snow protocol.  I mean the whole point of walking around outside in the snow is to let it land on you for Pete’s sake.  Plus, it’s just plain weird to see people walking around outside in the snow with umbrellas hoisted up over their heads.  And how about those people, caught without snow boots or galoshes, who wrap their shoes in plastic grocery bags and think they can walk around in the snow?  Do they know how ridiculous they look?  Umbrellas overhead, plastic bags for shoes, carrying sacks full of toilet paper and bottled water?

As if southerners walking around in the snow isn’t insane enough, you should see what happens when they get behind the wheel of a car after a good dusting of the white stuff.  Good heavens.  It’s sliding and skidding and spinning and car after car, having bumped into one thing or another, pulled off to the side of the road every ten yards for miles on end.  I’ll tell you what.  Southerners just need to stay put when it snows.  Start a fire in the fireplace, people.  Pop some popcorn and drink some cocoa.  Please.  It’s like the song says, “Oh the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful.  Since we’ve no place to go.  Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!”

Merry Christmas to all and to all a…  Good night.  Sleep tight.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

Good Morning.  I heard that song Baby It’s Cold Outside on the radio this morning.  I thought to myself, “yes it is and it feels like snow,” so I added snow to the blog.  It’s December.  I grew up in Connecticut.  I live in Atlanta (a.k.a Hotlanta) so it’s a safe bet we’re not going to have a White Christmas.  Snow on the blog makes me feel happy and warm and all full of Yuletide (whatever the heck that is, but it sounds good).  Plus snow on the blog is better than snow on the driveway and sidewalk.  It’s not going to impede my Christmas shopping the way the real stuff does.  Another change:  faithful followers will notice that, since it’s over…it’s finally over, I removed  the “To the People at Good Morning America and ABC News:  Make Antoinette Datoc Your New 21st Century Advice Guru” Poll.  94 of you voted, 93 of whom agreed I should be the GMA advice guru.  Only one vote to the contrary.  Not bad.  I was going to write a really funny piece via the results of this poll.  You see I’d plan to assume Robin Roberts was the person who had the nerve to NOT agree that I should be the next advice guru.  I was going to procreate my joke about Robin Roberts being threatened by me, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  However, as funny and entertaining as that would have been, I changed my mind.  See, as I was deleting the poll from the home page I discovered that the person who voted “OTHER” also left a comment which, thankfully was filtered into the spam folder.  I never noticed it before today.  So while that other post would have been really funny and entertaining, I decided to take a different route today.  Please indulge me, just this once, if I get a little preachy sounding.

Ahem.  Here’s what I discovered.  Like I said, 94 of you voted.  I’d like to thank the 93 of you who agreed that I should indeed be the next GMA Advice Guru.  To the one of you who voted “OTHER,” and left the comment, ” f*ck you,” please read my post dated September 23, 2010 titled If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All* (or IYCSSN Rule) .  You can access it via the archives. Furthermore, you need to get some manners and I don’t care how old you are, but if I was your mother, I’d wash out your mouth with soap.  I’m glad you visit and read the blog.  I believe in freedom of speech so please feel free to leave comments.  You don’t need to agree with me.  It would make the world a better place, but you don’t even need to follow the IYCSSN or Golden Rules.  However, let me give you a piece of advice.   DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT LEAVE PROFANE COMMENTS EVER AGAIN.  Oh, and if you do leave a profanity-containing comment, please have the courage to leave your name.  Let me tell you something, I am the administrator of this website. That’s right, Smarty Pants.  You think you’re clever.  You think you can say whatever you want and hide behind the veil of anonymity, but guess what.  When you leave a comment on my blog at http://justanotherordinaryday.com, you leave an electronic trail.  Are you beginning to put two and two together?  That’s right.  I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!  If you ever try to use profanity on my blog again (and I say “try” because I filter profanity into a spam, or as I like to call it, naughty folder) , I will indeed track you down and wash out your mouth with soap.  Okay so maybe I won’t wash out your mouth with soap.  I mean I could probably get arrested for assault if I did that.  I will however, hunt you down and give you a face to face tongue-lashing that you will never forget.  I can be pretty brutal with the words.  Oh and remember this, while the rest of my readers don’t know who you are,  I DO.  I’m guessing, and actually savoring the thought that you feel pretty stupid.  And by the way, if you don’t feel stupid, you should.  Anyway, if you do, don’t.  I know. I know.  I sound like a lunatic.  We all make thoughtless mistakes, yours truly included.  You don’t even have to apologize.  I forgive you.  Just don’t do it again.  If it helps, think soap, not literally, but figuratively which from me is worse.  I promise.

Till tomorrow… Good night.  Sleep tight.