Day in, day out. Every day is the same. Wake up, look out the window, see the snow, drink some coffee.
This weather is getting to everyone it seems. Even children are sick of being outside in it, tired of being home from school. Some of them will be going to school in the summer. Moms are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. Some of them are ready to pull their own hair out, stuck indoors with yelling kids and a house that never quite makes it to ‘clean’.
And then there is the majority of people. Men and women unable to get to work. Weather makes it impossible to get there. Weather makes it impossible to work in the elements. School closings make it impossible to find child care.
Weather plays such a huge part in our lives. There may be little money coming in, but the bills keep coming too, needing to be paid. We need heat. We need food. We need tuition, insurance, gas and cars. Luckily we can band together and get through this. But what of others?
With every report of foul weather, be it ice, snow, rain, or wind, my heart clenches for those out there who go paycheck to paycheck. Those who have no paycheck coming in. Those who have landlords, repo companies, debt collectors unwilling or unable to cut them some slack.
My days are all the same.
For some folks, their days will never be the same.
Eighteen years ago, on the very day that Babygirl was born, Hubs began working for a company that would employ him for roughly ten years. An average day for him began with getting up at 5am in order to get to the offices by 5:45 and out on the road by 6am. His day lasted until he got home somewhere in the ballpark of 5pm. This was as close to a normal timetable as we would ever get.
Hubs is an electrician. With this particular company, his job was mainly considered to be industrial. He maintained street lights and airport runways. He made sure that many businesses had operating air conditioners, sump pumps and generators. He made sure that bridges or parking lots were well lit.
Bad weather was a double-edged sword. I would worry about him something terrible. It wasn’t always about the work he was doing, but more often it was the drivers on the road. There were always the idiots who be driving in the snow on bald tires. There were the drunks who wouldn’t see the huge flashing signs that signaled a worker on a cherry-picker fifty feet in the air. Besides these fears, there were the more human worries. Was he warm/cool enough? He was working in the middle of the night after working an eight hour day because of an emergency. He was sick, or he was hurting. It never mattered because he loves his job and his family and he always did what he had to do….and he made some serious bank. With weather like this storm, he was one of the guys that would restore power to your home. He was the guy that made sure hospital generators were working. He made sure that even through the storm, the bridge lights blinked to signal their existence to the airplanes. He would fix the wires felled by trees or ice.
We are currently in the middle of some of the worst weather my area has ever seen. And tonight my husband is not home. He is not with the other company anymore, but he is out there in this mess of snow, wind and freezing temperature. As a side job, he is supervising both of our sons, a nephew and a friend as they handle some snow plowing, blowing and shoveling. This is what they did starting at 4am yesterday. They worked until noon and then came home for food and sleep. Tonight they left at 9pm and they won’t return until roughly 8 am.
This job will make sure that the boys have a paycheck- even though their other jobs are closed this week. This job will make sure that we have money coming in since our own business has been so slow. Luckily for us, the boys enjoy this type of work. Luckily for us, Hubs only has to supervise and not physically exert himself.
But here I sit, at 10:44pm, with the television on to keep me company. My dog is lying next to me and my laptop is…well…on my lap. Hubs doesn’t take trips. He doesn’t go out with friends and stay out until all hours. The only time that I am alone at night like this is when he works. It has been a long, long time since this has happened. Long ago, I loved the quiet. My kids were finally in bed. My laundry was getting finished and the house was cleaned-at least for a few hours. I would sit up to read, watch television, or just to take a long bubble bath with my walkman playing in my ears. I would find something-anything- to occupy myself. I found it so damn hard to sleep without him next to me.
Now, I will watch “Nip/Tuck”. Then I will take my night time meds and include an Motrin PM. I may chat with a west coast friend on Facebook for a bit and then I will turn off the laptop and the light. I’ll put the television on ‘snooze’ and finally relax enough to sleep for the night.
I wonder if this is just another sign that I am at another stage of my life. I am okay with the quiet of the house. I am okay knowing that Babygirl is upstairs sleeping in her own bed, instead of asking her to come in here to keep me company with her soft snores.
Tonight I will stretch out and even sleep diagonally if I want. I can throw my arms out wide, or kick the covers off if I am so inclined.
And I will be happy that he can do the same thing tomorrow when he gets home.
* You shovel your walk and dig out your car. You put the snow in the street. The plow pushes it back and buries your car. So you dig out your car. You put the snow in the street. The plow pushes…
*If your shovel broke on Saturday or Sunday, GO TO THE FUCKING HOME DEPOT AND BUY A NEW ONE TODAY!! Don’t wait until Tuesday afternoon when the next storm starts. Oh, and while you’re there? GRAB A GODDAMNED BAG OF SALT!
*The snow comes and everyone runs out and buys up all the milk and bread. If you can’t drive down a street in your little freaking Prius, what makes you think that delivery trucks will be able to fit through? If the cashier says “We have no milk and bread.” Don’t ask if she is hiding some in the back for tomorrow’s shoppers. Yeah, she’s hiding it…..fuck head.
*If you park your car under a tree or other area in which it is possible that snow will fall on it, turn off your fucking car alarm. If it goes off at three in the morning again, you’d better not let it honk for an hour. If you do, I will pour water over your car doors and windows and your front steps.
*The roads are narrower due to the snow piles. They are narrower for everyone. This means MOVE THE FUCK OVER if you see another car coming. Your Hummer is an asshole’s behemoth. Don’t be so freaking selfish!
*Are you an exerciser? Are you a mom? Stay out of the street! Can you skip the shit for ONE DAY?? Slip on the ice while we are driving and you deserve to be run over. If you have to take the kids out in the stroller, don’t make them a party to your idiocy. I saw cars fishtailing. Who’s to say that one wouldn’t plow into that stroller with your beautiful twins in it? You don’t know me, but you ruined my day just knowing you were responsible for those little angels.
I’m sitting here looking out the window and I’m waiting for the ‘blizzard’.
I hate the cold. I hate the grey. When it gets ready to snow, I feel it. It’s like someone is holding onto my knees or my elbows as I am moving around. Have you ever felt like that? It doesn’t hurt, but it is annoying as hell.
Once the snow starts, however, it is one of the most beautiful things in the world. The white covers the world and makes it look new…at least until the cars get to it.
When I was a kid, my mom didn’t drive. We’d walk everywhere. And of course, having four kids, we always needed milk and bread. She would wait until after dinner if possible so that dad was home to stay with the little ones. As the eldest, I went along as ‘company’. No matter how much the others would cry to go along, mom would never allow them to go. It was our special time.
Bundled into my coat, with the scarf pulled up high on my face, I would feel like ‘hot shit’. I was going with mom! Kiss my ass, eat your hearts out! It was all about me! She would get a few dollars from dad and into the white we would go. I remember the magic of walking at night, how the snow made the neighborhood bright even where the streetlights didn’t reach.
I remember the joy I felt as my feet were the first to put prints into the snow. Since the snowplow had cleared the streets, we’d walk right down the middle of the street. It was my mom who taught me how to slide on the snow and ice. We would walk the four blocks to the store, sometimes taking a circuitous route. Now that I am an adult, I realize that this was mom’s escape from the house. She never took the younger ones with us, because they required more preparation, more attention, and they would tire easily. She claimed it was because I could carry a bag of groceries, but now, I know the truth.
We would talk about school, about what I wanted for Christmas, and after that, what I wanted for my birthday. She would ask about my friends or about the book I was reading. These memories blend into one another because this was ‘our time’ from the time I was five until I left home when I married. We went from discussing Christmas, to discussing college and boys. It was during one of these walks that I told her about my feelings for Hubs. That was the night she found out that he was out of high school already and she warned me of the dangers of ‘construction workers’ who could possibly be after one thing….(I think she meant hamburgers)
As an adult myself, I haven’t given my kids these memories. We always lived with a store on the corner (the same on I walked to with mom) We were two doors away from the in-laws. If it was snowing, my kids wanted to play on the street with their friends or in the back yards with their cousins. Our memories of snow will be different, but I hope that they never forget the sound of Grandmom’s voice calling them for cocoa, the sound of the laughter they shared with family and friends, or the magic of the sparkles.*
*As you look at the nighttime snow, and you see the sparkles, look very closely. If you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of Santa’s workshop and the little elves at work. A sparkling snowflake is the only window to the North Pole…..or so my mommy told me….
Those of us with pets love them like they were our children. We take the time to come up with the ‘perfect’ name. We notice the little things that would distinguish your own bulldog from three other nearly identical bulldogs. We give them a place to sleep and buy them toys. Some folks will be happy with that. Many, many others go that ‘extra step’.
Bandit is as spoiled as they come. I can tell you why too. My own kids were independent from the get-go. Before they ever reached school age, I knew which ones never wanted breakfast. I knew how much it annoyed one to be woken up by mom, prompted to hurry up and asked if they had all their papers. I knew which one wanted some chitchat.
Bandit has no such requests.He loves the ‘smothering’. He wants me to sit down so he can sit on my lap. He wants his ears rubbed. He likes to be warm. Oh boy, does he like to be warm.
We got our gas/electric bill for the month of December. It was nearly $150. higher than usual. Since I am here alone in the daytime, I like to snuggle with the pup on the couch, under a blanket, watching a movie with a cup of tea or cocoa. My night sweats and hot flashes make me want the heat turned down all the time. I love the weight and feel of a warm hoodie, a thick sweater, and fluffy socks. How did it go up so fucking high??
I finally put two and two together.
Bandit will sit in front of the heater. Not just near it. Not just in front of it. ALL UP IN IT. If he got any closer, he would be sliced into quarter inch little slivers. He hears the heat come on and runs to the heater, and sucks it all up. When it finally starts to cool a bit, he will run back to me and snuggle again, or he will curl up on his couch.
Today, it’s cold–or ‘Fucking Cold” according to my weather page.
I made sure to put his warm jacket on when he went out to pee, but I pulled it off him when he came back in. (After much whining and trying to get away from me!) I felt bad and since I was also taking away the heater privileges, I let him wear his sweater. He’s not very happy with me, but an extra $150? I could use it in my pocket!
We will now see if the bill goes down. We will also wait and see if Bandit can find a way to get at the heater. Because I don’t think the cold is going away any time soon….
The snow that has fallen all day has finally decided to stick. Earlier, flakes melted as they hit the earth. Now they cling to trees, adorning the bare branches. The light coming from the house illuminates the trees from below, turning my yard into a latticed igloo. It is so still, so peaceful, so beautiful.
It has snowed all night. Even though there is no light, the world is still a luminous pearl-gray. A lone plow scrapes its way through the streets, its light flashing amber across the silent lawns, making way for the traffic that will come in a few short hours.
Though the streets are clear (for the most part), there is no traffic. The neighborhood is still hushed. School will open two hours later, so the buses haven’t started yet. The sun will be rising soon and the light is beginning to come.
The yard that was once dim and gray is now bright. It looks like a bride, adorned in virginal white and delicate lace. A random squirrel scampers. A lone bird sits on the fence. Not a footstep spoils the pristine covering.
A slight wind has begun to blow. It shakes the treetops, dislodging the tufts of snow. Like dominoes, the snow falls from the peaks toppling more from the lower branches until it finally falls to the street below. The road disappears into the tree-created blizzard. As it falls into the sunshine, it looks like a sheer drape has been drawn.
The morning is gone. Traffic now moves freely along the wet street. No longer pure, the snow now shows signs of humans. The cars are scraped. The walkways shoveled.
As the day has warmed up, so have the trees. They have shrugged off the shawls of white. Branches now stand in stark contrast to clear blue sky.
The night has returned. The darkness hides the yard that was once glowing with nature’s beauty. No photograph can capture the image. There is no light. The dark is so deep that the flash is sucked into it’s depth.
Seventeen hours of observation. Not one moment was boring to watch. I have captured it here to enjoy at my leisure. It will remind me of the winter while I swelter in the summer. When I hear news that makes me doubt the existence of God, His beautiful work will be documented as proof. And when I am saddened, I will remember the day that I was quiet, and happy watching Mother Nature’s handiwork.
I hate the cold. Not just this year with it’s unholy blasts of arctic winds, but every year. It is a standing joke among my family and friends that I “stop going out in November and stay in until May”
This isn’t far from the truth.
When I have little ones here, I don’t go out. Because I don’t drive, it is a pain in the ass to dress them in layer upon layer only for them to cry about having to pee or crying because their diaper has suddenly filled with shit. Then I have to peel them out of those clothes to remedy those situations. Sometimes young moms forget that their kids aren’t going to be in their stifling hot cars all day and they will need a coat or a hat or gloves. (Yes, I have had kids dropped off in blanket sleepers, a onesie and little else…in January)
I hate the ice. If it is icy, I am afraid of falling while out walking. You see, my middle name is not Grace so this is more than just a possibility. I have broken more than a few bones in my life and I am fearful of slipping and breaking a wrist or ankle.
I hate the wind. Because of my back, if my shirt isn’t tucked into my jeans, I risk having a stray breeze blowing up into my jacket and causing spasms in my lower back. They can make me stand still on the sidewalk gasping to catch my breath in their intensity.
Yet there is something exhilarating about feeling a crisp wind blowing redness into my cheeks. To borrow a phrase from Fantastagirl‘s daughter Tink, “my boogers will freeze”….or at least the nose hairs will. I like sweeping snow from my steps and the front walkway. (Not shoveling….sweeping!) I love the feeling of snowflakes falling gently on my face. I love the muffled silence that it brings.
The cold also means snuggling up in fluffy jammies or cozy sweats under a crocheted blanket on the couch. It means a mug of hot cocoa with the little marshmallows melting on the top. It means the smell of a nice stew or a pot of soup cooking on the stove for dinner.
It is the second part of my feelings that I must keep secret, hidden from my family. If they knew that I liked sweeping the snow, it would become my new job. If they knew that I liked lying on the couch, they would stop believing me when I say that I’m only lying there because I have a headache or cramps. (teehee)
Minnesota- Bitterly cold. Abundant sunshine. High around -5F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
I thought that was pretty damn cold. Just trying to imagine it made my joints ache. So I looked around the internet to see what everyone else was getting.
Chicago- Bitterly cold. Intervals of clouds and sunshine. Dangerous wind chills may approach -25F. High near 0F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph
-25?? Jeez!! Do I consider that to be ‘bitterly cold’? Oh, hell, no! I think that qualifies as ‘fucking cold’! Then I tried to think about a place that would be colder than that. Hmm….Maybe Alaska?
Anchorage, Alaska- Rain and snow showers in the morning. The rain and snow will change to rain showers in the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precip 60%.
MID 30s!!! Did someone forget to send Alaska the memo stating that it was WINTER?? Where do they get off being warmer than Chicago? After I recovered from my surprise, I turned on the television to see what was happening in my neck of the woods
Philadelphia,PA-Sunny to partly cloudy. Colder. High around 25F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.
The weatherman tossed around words like “bitter winter weather”, “freezing conditions”, and my favorite- “dangerously cold”. For 25 degrees? I don’t think so. In my opinion, it’s cold. But is it ‘dangerous’? Nah! Compared to Chicago, it’s damn near summertime!
Why do they hype this shit up? Why isn’t ‘cold’ acceptable? What words will they use when Philadelphia is covered by ten feet of snow and the wind is blowing forty miles an hour? What new word will describe -30?
I woke up with a warm puppy. My Hub’s hand was warm on my breast as we snuggled up like spoons. Eventually, he got up and ready for work. The boys left. Babygirl left. I turned on the television to catch the news before getting out of bed.
Snow showers. Yes, that’s what the weatherdude called it. Oh they’ll just blow right through and easy peasy, no problems. I got up, and dressed. I put on Bandit’s jacket and my own and stepped out for his morning pee.
We had full-on snow. Bandit can’t find grass and therefore, he cannot poop. I’m currently waiting for him to figure something out. I had to sweep the walkway because the kids were still coming.
The air was cold but not too bad. (Thanks to Dave, my head was hugged by an artificial duck!) I love it like that.
I love my neighborhood in the snow. The traffic alongside my house is muffled to a “shuuusshh” as the cars roll through the intersection. I can’t see the leaves all over my yard. And the trees which have been nearly an eyesore due to the lack of leaves are arrayed in white glory. This, my friends, is the best part of living in area full of trees. Nothing is ugly. All the scars are erased.
And since everyone is at work, I can stand at my door, cup of coffee in hand, and watch the flakes fall.
I walked a bit today. Just enough to keep the muscles good. Tomorrow I’ll work ’em out again. I am planning to do this every other day for a while. Later I will try for every day. Until then, I am becoming very good friends with this:
On a different note, I wanted to post this for Winter. I think of her every time I hear this song. And it’s also for Unkey Monkey, who agrees with me that these guys are hot! Yes it’s in German, but parts are in English. Learn something new….!