We tried just about anything to break up the monotony. I put my daughter in her rain boots and winter coat and hat and scarf and we went for a 10 minute walk around our block in the rain. I put my son in the car later in the day - nap strike - and drove around and around while my brother and sister in law (bless them) watched my daughter and so my wife (who'd missed most of the prior night's sleep with my son) could take a short break.
But it was like putting a new hat on a bad haircut - there was just no getting rid of that miserable, cagey feeling.
But today dawned bright and sunny and the air was kind enough to crack the windows and let the fresh air into the house. The rain had left very little snow on the sidewalks and streets so we were able to get out and about with less gear and less mess.
"Is it the springtime?" my daughter asked - she has almost no concept of time beyond the next several days.
"No," I said, but without a loss of enthusiasm, "It's just a great day in the winter."
We ran errands. We played. I even got in a short run with my son in the jogging stroller while the light lasted. We let the fresh air circulate through the house like hot water on a weary neck and back.
It was wonderfully refreshing. After a week of snow and cold and wet, it did feel like spring. It felt like, from what I remember from catechism class as a boy, like grace; an undeserved gift amidst the adversities of the world; or as my daughter would understand it - a treat.
Winter will return, I have no doubt. The cold grim set of hands will grab my firmly from behind by the shoulders and steer me into unpleasant days when the sun will be shrouded and ice crystals will seem to hang in the dank air like suspended frozen mist. The vitamin D will drain from my system and I'll be feeling glum again.
But for now, I feel as free as any school kid sent home unexpectedly early from school. I feel like I could just fly away on that breath of warm air that visited us today.