It snowed all day. There was an inch on the ground when I woke up. By ten, Erik had shoveled the first six off the driveway. It went on like that all day. Z went to school for a couple hours but E picked her, after stopping by the store for snacks, up by lunchtime. They closed campus. I didn't have to go anywhere. Classes are over. I just have portfolios to grade. If there was a good time to be snowed in, it was this week. Except that I'm 35.5 weeks pregnant and possibly prone to early labor. Two feet of snow and the road hadn't been plowed yet.
So Erik kept the driveway clear and I made hollandaise sauce for the salmon while counting Braxton-Hicks contractions. I seem to always get contractions when I cook. They usually go away. And they did. Z went to bed at 8. We watched the Closer and the new Men of a Certain Age (sidenote: Eh. Maybe the show will make it. Not quite convinced).
Something made me wake up at midnight. I went to the living to look out at the streetlight. It was still snowing. Sideways. The Ponderosa Trees, which are made for this weather (one hopes) were bending over like I'd never seen them. I moved away from the living room--the room surrounded by the tallest trees--in case this wind and snow was too extreme, even for them. 35 mph winds and a dry, dry summer. Maybe the dryness had loosened their roots from the ground.
I went back to bed only to hear the barking seal cough of the croupy child. By the time I got to Z's room, she couldn't stop coughing and couldn't catch her breath. Her vocal cords were inflamed and snake-like mucus had wrapped itself around them. Hospital or no? I thought of our friend's kid Tyler, who, with the croup, had truly stopped breathing and turned blue. They lived 2 minutes from the hospital. We were, in the snow, at least 20 minutes away.
Still. She'd had it before. I, unlike Tyler's parents, had albuteral and a breathing machine. I plugged it in and sat her up. She hacked and pressed the mask to her face as if the machine was producing oxygen. It wasn't. Just medicine. But it worked a little. I was sitting there, thinking how lucky we were to have a nebulizer, electricity, heat, medicine and a big bed we could all fit in. And then the power started to flicker. There was no way we could stay here without electricity. The nebulizer was the only thing that kept us from the ER. The lights flickered and the pine needles bent to brush the windows. The wind was louder than the machine. Z's cough was louder than both. The albuterol helped a little but we needed to get the swelling down. We had both children's ibuprofen and tylenol. I gave her some of both and then took her into the bathroom and ran a hot shower. I sat with Z in my arms on the toilet until the steam opened her throat and she could inhale all the way to the bottom of her lungs.
The ibuprofen/tylenol combo seemed reduce the swelling. The power stayed on. I gave her another half an albuterol. I lay down with her until she said I was making her too hot. That was a sign she would probably make it without going to the hospital. I went back to my bed. She coughed again at 5 but not like before. The trees were still bending in the wind but not breaking. I fell back asleep.
This morning, the road is plowed, Erik is halfway done shoveling the new foot of snow, Z is outside helping him in her snow pants and boots. We're still here. The sun is shining which means one is really not snowed in. Which is too bad. Because in the daytime, being snowed in is a comforting luxury.