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Take a snow day

New York City, like the rest of the East Coast, has had record-breaking snowfall this winter in January alone. I believe there have been four major snowfalls since Christmas, the first classifying as a blizzard. Even down in Nashville schools are planning to add days to the end of the year to make up for how many they’ve had off. I talked to two teachers last week who were running out of things to do anxious to get back to work.

I couldn’t believe that. I told them to find something fun and take advantage of the time off like I’ve challenged myself to do in the city. Then I finally got a job offer, and I instantly felt the urge to soak up my last few days of free time last week. With frigid, unwavering weather, Coney Island adventures and surfing day trips are things of the past, but Central Park maintains its appeal year round. I may not be paddling boats or biking anytime soon, but there’s endless potential in that much snow.

I can’t even reach my goal of making a decent snowman on the porch, because the cold’s so unbearable, but my friend Kristin and I were finally up for the challenge of sledding. You can act like you’re way too old for it all you want, but those childhood memories creep up every time the snow sticks, and passersby of all ages asked where Kristin got her standard orange, plastic sled. Because they’ve sold out.

As always, I questioned whether bringing Nugget along would be worth the trouble before leaving and decided he deserved a day of play as much as anyone else regardless of how dirty he’d inevitably get. We met Kristin at the 96th St entrance and began scoping out capable hills. We capitalized on the first paths we found a few kids had made and got right down to business. Nugget was indescribably hilarious in this deep of snow and kept us completely entertained. He went ballistic when either of us took a turn so he scored a few rides himself.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but that pup had the time of his life. We walked the park for hours looking for steeper spots and passing cross-country skiers, snowball fights and snowmen galore. We finally came upon a group of five girls who’d dug out three intense paths down a steep hill. One had a jump halfway down that had to have left a bruise on my bottom. They invited anyone to join them and Kristin and I took a few turns while Nugget played with their dog, Monster.

In the end Nugget was caked in snow that called for a very unpleasant bath, we were both frozen from the melted snow in our boots and gloves, and our adult bodies were pretty banged up. It was completely worth it though and reminded me when we’d all skip class in college on the first warm day of spring and go to Centennial Park. You’ve got to take a snow day every once in a while, even if you don’t think you have the time, otherwise they’ll just pass you by.

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