What Happens When Cajuns Experience Snow.

If you are not familiar with what has been going on in Southwest Louisiana, let me give you the Cliff Notes version. 2020 ended with 2 hurricanes in a 6 week span. 2021 began with a snow storm. Flying pigs are now being moved into the realm of possibilities.

It is crazy here, and it is not because of Mardi Gras; that was canceled. Now with the hurricanes, I had an idea of what to expect. I understood the information the weather channel was relaying. My family and I were equipped with resources (e.g., boards for windows, generators, tarps) to prepare for the inevitable. We evacuated. We checked our hurricane insurance coverage while making hurricanes in the blender. We may not have been sober, but we stared down Laura as she hit land with an unsurvivable storm surge and told Delta what we thought of her as she followed in her sister’s path.

A shingle left from Laura is now covered in snow

The snow apocalypse of 2021 is an entirely different story. We look like deer in headlights.  It is like living in the Ice Age with a bayou right now. Alexa sounds like she is calling out Powerball numbers as opposed to informing me of the weather. I am walking around yelling, “The low is 10 degrees. Ladies and gentlemen, I repeat 10 degrees. This is not a drill! Frostbite is not your friend!” My kids are double fisting hot chocolates. I am Googling if sleet and freezing rain are synonymous. I am praying the temporary roofs on my kids’ schools will hold under the ice and snow. My plants have lost their will to survive. The Weather Channel might as well be showing ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics at this point (e.g., thermometer and snowflake combination symbol). At one point, I didn’t even know what we were experiencing. I had to ask my husband, “Is a thunderstorm with snow still called a thunderstorm, or does the involvement of snow categorize it as a snowstorm?” 

Along with learning weather jargon, I have also discovered that ice doesn’t care who your momma knows. It is taking you and your whole family down. I was taking a picture of my house yesterday; my son walked into the frame and slipped just as I was taking the picture. I now have a fantastic picture of my home covered in snow with my child’s epic wipeout. He wasn’t alone in his struggles navigating the unfamiliar terrain. I aged about 10 years after I accidentally skated down my driveway. Fortunately, there is no photo evidence of that, and my son and I are both okay.  Ice is also invasive and shows no mercy as it kills plants in its path and consumes all that it touches. It camouflages in the snow and preys on your weaknesses. It knows you think everything around you is just snow. Before you know it, you are on your butt and wondering what just happened.  Seriously, ice is enough to give anyone trust issues. 

While ice is definitely a concern, keeping warm is an even bigger issue. Louisiana is supposed to be hot. The phrase, “It feels hotter than hell outside,” is often used when talking about the typical weather here.  Well, hell just froze over, and we are trying to dress like it. I am kicking myself for shaving my legs a few days ago when it was warm. I could use that extra layer about now. In fact, anything would help at this point. I tried wearing my whole closet all at once. While several layers did help with warmth, I began having concerns regarding my limited mobility. For starters,  I was like the boy in A Christmas Story; I couldn’t move my arms.  I didn’t have a game plan for bathroom trips. There was no plan B. I was wearing everything I owned and moving at the speed of a sloth in peanut butter. 

In desperation, I raided my husband’s hunting gear. That was the best decision I have ever made. Scarves do not even compare to a fleece gaiter neck. My 5’4 frame was sporting my 6’2 husband’s compression shirts, fleece vests, and waterproof fleece lined pants that I had to roll 6 times. I even wore his jacket that gave me the marshmallow man in Ghostbusters look. Sadly, his onesie looking ensemble didn’t fit. I may have looked ridiculous, but I was warm!

Wearing my husband’s hunting gear to stay warm.

While people in Southwest Louisiana may be lost in this weather, we are not short on creativity.  Credit cards are doubling as ice scrapers. Airboats are cruising down streets. Tubes once pulled behind boats are now behind jeeps on country roads. Grocery sacks are serving as a protective layer between socks on hands and the snow.  Iced over driveways are being used for laundry basket sledding. Dads are pulling crawfish pots on ropes with their toddlers beaming from ear to ear in them. Is it cold? Oui, cher.  But, “Laissez les bon temps rouler” will forever be our motto.  

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How 2020 Affected My Waistline.

Can we all take a moment to acknowledge how crazy 2020 has been so far? This year has felt like a, “wait there is more” tag line from an infomercial. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if dinosaurs made a comeback. However, the predicted active hurricane season and the swarms of murder hornets would probably put them back into extinction. It has been that kind of year, and we are only 5 months into it. To add to this, I am a stress eater, and man has this year been stressful! Over the last 3 months, I have gained what I have started referring to as “The Corona 10.”

The demise of my healthy eating started on March 13th. To be more specific, it was Friday the 13th. The governor announced schools would be closed for at least 6 weeks. I grabbed the snacks that would not be going into lunch boxes anytime soon and brainstormed a game plan. Three juice boxes and more cookies than a human should ever consume in a single sitting later, I optimistically made out a healthy menu for meals and snacks that didn’t include what I was currently eating.

With my shopping list in hand, I got into my car and drove to the store. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed cars parked in the grass. The grocery store was overflowing with people shopping as if they were stocking bomb shelters. The shelves were empty, and the lines to check out were wrapping around the store. I immediately walked out of the store and called my husband to let him know we were having pizza for dinner. The next day I ordered $150 of groceries online, but a single bottle of Drano was all they brought out to my car. Grocery shopping felt like an exhausting scavenger hunt. I ended up buying whatever was available, which lead to eating whatever.

I did manage to make some healthy meals, but as the weeks went on chicken nuggets, fries, sandwiches, pizza, and ordering meals to go became more frequent. I started eating more and moving less. My kids were always eating because they were “starving,” and I was continually eating because I was stressed. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner slowly started to blur together.  I even vented to friends about how much eating was going on at my house while I was eating.

Personally, I was starting to feel more like The Hungry Caterpillar every day. No matter how much I ate, I was still hungry. However, he emerged from isolation as a beautiful butterfly. I don’t foresee my emerging from isolation being as spectacular, but I will be emerging with all the new memories. So many laughs were shared over popcorn. My kids and I baked and laughed as my youngest child took the recipe literally and tried to put an entire egg (shell and all)  into the mixer that was on. The list goes on.

It truly has been a year for the books. If you found yourself a little heavier than you were before quarantine, join the club. You are not alone.  Even intermittent fastening dieters went silent on social media. The Corona 10 is real and don’t be too hard on yourself. You know why? Because you are awesome and you’ve got this! Internet high five!

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