Connor’s mom wound up at the Jacksonville Public Library with his 3-year-old sister, where they waited with another mother for story time to start in the children’s department.
She had already exhausted other entertainment options, including making and mailing Valentine’s Day cards. She was planning to find an indoor playground for her kids if the library wasn’t open.
“We’re just trying to find things to do to occupy his time,” said the mother, Karen Howell. “We were about to go a little loony after spending three days inside the house.”
The Howells were just one of many Calhoun County families who spent time at home this week waiting in vain for a winter storm that threatened to dump inches of ice and snow across the area. The storm never quite materialized, but it did cause parents to adjust their schedules when school officials canceled classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Paige Parris said she and her husband, Taylor, had to find creative child-care solutions for their two children, Abby, 8, and Ella, 6. On Tuesday the girls went to work with their father at a Talladega automobile dealership. On Wednesday Paige took off from work at the Jacksonville Water, Gas and Sewer Department to be with the children. And on Thursday the girls were able to stay with their retired grandparents.
“There was some juggling to work things out,” she said.
Clouds covered the sky and a cold, steady rain mixed with sleet fell across the area Tuesday. There was little to no accumulation, but the gloomy weather and the threat of ice on roads kept many cooped up.
Wednesday the weather remained dreary but continued to produce little winter precipitation until about 5 p.m. when snow showers crossed the county, coating some communities in about an inch of snow. By 9:30 a.m. Thursday the temperature was in the mid-30s and most of the thin layer of snow had melted, though a few snowmen remained on area lawns.
The snow at Mandi Houser’s home started to melt Wednesday night and was almost gone by Thursday morning, so she and her 10-year-old daughter Kodi spent part of their morning playing with the snow that remained on the grounds of Jacksonville State University. She and Kodi took pictures in a chair built from snow on the lawn of the International House at JSU, before slinging fistfulls of snow at each other in a snowball battle.
Mandi, a JSU student, is taking online criminal justice classes. The fact that her daughter was out of school didn’t disrupt her schedule, she said, but it was starting to bother Kodi, who was ready to get back to school.
“She’s a little bit bent out of shape about it, actually,” Mandi said. “It’s not difficult for me, but I think that’s a unique position to be in.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.