Sliding down the hill…

J and I left the house at 8:20 this morning to wait for the bus.  The two-hour delay wasn’t too much of a catastrophe as J has learned to understand the difference between no-school and late-school days.  (And I would like to thank our schedule board for this…I wouldn’t be able to get these things across without her!)  To pass the time between when Dada and TGG left, and the time when J had to leave for school, we started laundry, cleaned the kitchen, folded and put away clothes…

Bundled up against the elements (of which the only truly active one was the cold temperature,) we stepped out through the deck and onto the lawn.

That’s when J decided it would be fun to pull me downhill while feigning distress.  I thought he was falling when, in fact, he was just walking fast and dragging me along.  The slope, mind you, is not a long one…it’s not very steep either.  I, however, had visions of fractured middle-aged hips and traction while, all in one confused jumble, I was having the time of my life.  The ten-year-old me wanted to scream “more, more…let’s do it again!!!!”  We were, however, out there for a valuable reason so I had to refrain.  On the way back, I was tempted to skate down the hill once more but I decided to do the mature (and hip-saving) thing: into the house I came and started opening windows to air out the place.

Yes, in the past hour and a half, I’ve aired out the house, straightened up all the small messes that constant habitation cause and surfed channels until I realized that, because I am home and can watch TV uninterrupted should I choose to do so, there is absolutely NOTHING on.

I don’t know how many trick-or-treaters we will get this evening.  I am pretty sure the turnout will not be affected because kids+candy+weather still amounts to “I want to go out dressed in a flimsy outfit because people give me FREE CANDY!!!!”  It makes me think back to TGG’s last Halloween costume from childhood (right when he decided he was “too old” to dress up)…I’m sure there won’t be a single Legolas (with blonde wig and all) in the bunch…but I can dream, can’t I?  So many ninjas last year, and zombies…sigh…

In any case, if the treat bags go unclaimed, they are ALL going to work tomorrow with both working men…I refuse to have a house full of candy.  It’s bad enough that I have cookies…

Back to my book I go.  After all, J will be home at 3 P.M. and that’s merely five hours away.  Time is precious…

Off to the kitchen for a cup of tea, a couple of cookies (which I KNOW I should not eat, but they’re my hips and there’s snow on the ground and I need all the help I can get if I fall,) and my book…

Have a happy and safe Halloween…

The Storm…Epilogue

The phone rang shortly after six P.M. and we were holding our breath…the woman who lives inside the Caller ID announced “call…from…s…cho…ol.”  (We’ve never quite understood why she breaks the word SCHOOL down.  It must be something in the programming.)  The governor of the state has declared a state of emergency but left it to the superintendents’ discretion to determine if they would close the schools tomorrow.  When the phone rang and Caller ID woman started speaking, we all froze.  J, you see, has been bored stiff in spite of all the activities that we’ve completed today.

We’ve cleaned.  We’ve baked cookies.  We’ve decorated cookies.  We’ve cleaned AFTER baking and decorating cookies.  We’ve done laundry.  You name it, we’ve done it.  By five P.M. poor J was ready to throw in the towel.  I sat with him and he hugged me very tightly, as if to say “I love you, lady, but if I have to spend another whole day here with you for no good reason…well…this hug is the tip of the iceberg.  I will CRUSH you!”

So, his foot was in midair as the phone rang, and -like the rest of us- he stopped where he was.  I turned on the speakerphone…we might as well hear the bad news together.

A two-hour delay!   We only have a two-hour delay!  And the weather forecast says we won’t trudge through snow because it will rain after 11 P.M.  I am pretty sure that oh, frabjous day, callooh callay is not a bad thing to say right now.

We are celebrating a return to normalcy even while we see how bad things are elsewhere.  It is horrible.  It is truly sad.  So much destruction and so much work ahead of everyone…

We are thankful for our blessings…but don’t think for once we forget what others have gone through and will continue going through now that the storm has passed.  Once you’ve been through a hurricane, it’s hard to say “oh, well…they’ll be fine in the long run” because you know how long the long run really is…

We go to bed tonight feeling grateful, but we know how blessed we are and how difficult things have been and will be for others.  Our happiness is tempered by that.

The Storm…Part 4

Dada has been on the road to work for over an hour and a half.  That he works five minutes away from home is inconsequential.  Perhaps the best illustration of why he is not yet there is this:

 

 

Until I get a call that says he’s made it OK, I will be lingering by the phone with my stomach tied in knots…yes, I’m that kind of melodramatic wife.

The latest report (with mere minutes to go until TWO hours have elapsed since he left) is that Dada is finally at the foot of the final hill and to the traffic light.  It should be smooth sailing from there.  In the half hour that has gone by since I took that picture, the amount of snow has increased, Zelda has rubbed up against J’s legs (causing a mild and short-lived panic,) Zelda has been sent to the garage, J has had “cheese toast” and I’ve woken TGG up…

It’s not even ten in the morning and it feels like a very long day already…but we’re neither under water, nor digging out of snow (yet,) nor without power nor in harm’s way.

The Storm…Part 3

If you are reading this it is because we have not lost power.  Overnight we continued the steady rain pattern and it must have been briefly interrupted by snow because the windshields of vehicles parked behind us were covered in the stuff.  Of course, after a cup of coffee and a brief consultation with the weather forecasters, we were spurred to action by J.  [What?  You thought he was happily curled up in his bed enjoying the unexpected respite from school????  You ARE naive!]

As of 7:15 a.m., dishes were done, laundry was gathered and conveyed to the laundry room, snack box was filled, kitchen was cleaned…at the rate we’re going, J can safely remove, replace and re-install carpeting for the whole house in what’s left of this day if he is so inclined and provided with the proper materials.  I see a 1000-piece puzzle in my future…as well as various loads of laundry (if the power isn’t interrupted.)

It will rain all day.  It will snow part of the day.  The house will be made to look neat as a pin immediately after anything is disrupted by use or human contact.  Such is the way of J at home on days like this one.  If the power goes out, well, we’ll play that one by ear…TGG isn’t working today (but works 12-hours tomorrow) so we can work on painting the treat bags for Halloween.  Since TGG has to work tomorrow AND it is Halloween, we will hopefully bake cookies for him to take.  I bought cookie cutters, frosting and food coloring…that should entertain the children for a while.

Blessings counted: we have power, we’re not flooded, we have our health, we have food and water, and we’re not feeling cold…

and the house will be neat as a pin because J is on the job!!!

The Storm…part 2

It is now raining in earnest, and from time to time we hear the wind whip up and propel a band of heavy rain past our windows.  J has recovered from the disappointment of “no school tomorrow” and is happily parked in the family room.  He has folded three loads of laundry and has supervised anything that might look like it needs supervising.

We obviously still have power, but we can tell the wind might make quick work of this convenience soon enough.

Things we have discovered over the past couple of hours: we have too much Halloween candy; we no longer have our nice thermos bottle; the sliding glass door in the kitchen leaks; the plastic bin lid we put on the porch to protect the crack in the cement where the leak in the laundry room originates actually works; we shouldn’t have thrown out our old patio umbrella when Dada said “oh, let’s face it…it’s faded and needs replacing.”  I have said “I told you so” at least ten times since six P.M.  We’ve also discovered that a blizzard warning for a much higher elevation albeit seventy miles from our home will cause every relative who is currently tuned to The Weather Channel to call us.  After the first six calls, I went on wikipedia and noted the location, distance and altitude of every town mentioned in this Blizzard Warning…people now believe that we are NOT about to get swallowed by the hurricane AND a blizzard.

Back to bed to read while we still have power…

The Storm…

We walked home from the bus in the rain.  J wore his rain poncho and was happy.  Now, a few hours later, the wind has kicked up and it’s raining more, and the phone has brought the news that schools are closed tomorrow.  J is not happy anymore, but I think he’s understood my explanation.

Just wanted to let everyone know we’re fine, but we might lose power during the night.  It is expected around here.

 

I don’t care what the weather forecast says…J has declared it’s winter

The lazy smile that spreads over J’s face when he knows something we don’t know has been firmly affixed since this morning.  It has also been backed up by Christmas music, and he cheerfully came outside to sweep leaves and soak up the constant drizzle that seems to be enveloping us.  The weather forecast says we’ll eventually get rain by the bucketfuls and we might get snow showers here and there…

The In-House Groundhog has determined that the cold weather is here to say, and that any rumors of and Indian Summer later in the week are not only unjustified, they are downright risible.  While last weekend he complained when I tried to remove the screen curtains from the door frames that give access to the great outdoors, today he assisted in their removal.  While last week there was very little enthusiasm when a pumpkin for carving was mentioned, today he smiled broadly when we returned from the grocery store with a sizable orange gourd-like orb.  In spite of the cold air and breeze (43℉ or 6-ish Celsius,) and the constant drizzle, TGG has decorated our doorway with “spiderwebs.”  J hasn’t so much as batted an eyelash to stop any preparations…

I know J has accepted, nay…AUTHORIZED, the cold weather because this morning he stopped in his room, cozily relaxing, until nearly nine.  He had followed me downstairs at six to get his medication, and turned on his heels to go straight back to bed.  In summer this is not something we do voluntarily…we have to be bribed to return to the cocoon.  Today, smiling and quietly hopping up the steps, he went back, climbed into bed and turned off the light.  We suspected that, perhaps, it was just the rain that persuaded him to do this, but this afternoon he has welcomed us into the living room where I sat reading and Dada sat working at the computer for a whole hour while J clapped and giggled through the same Christmas carol over and over again.  Blankets were offered; lamps were lit.  He welcomed us into the warm glow of his preferred area, and he pointed out how cozy we were and then how miserable it looks outdoors.

Our new camp stove works well.  It is also light enough that, in winter, I can bring it up to the kitchen balcony if I need to…which I hope I won’t.  I confess that I am relieved we now have it because when Dada travels, if we have an outage, I can still cook.  I walked around the pantry this morning and we are well provided for in terms of canned and dry goods, but I have a few things that I need to add to my shelves before winter comes.  We have been told (not unkindly) that our first winter here was unusually gentle.  Having grown up dealing with tropical storms and hurricanes, I don’t take prepping for emergencies lightly.

I am happy to announce that J has made peace with Zelda.  It came about rather unexpectedly.  By peace, of course, I mean that J has lost any apprehension he felt about dealing with the cat.  Not only does he now call her by her name (which, in his vocabulary, is signed as CAT but using the Z movement,) but he also feels empowered to tell her to leave his room.  For some reason, she loves his room; if the door is open, she will immediately dash in there and head directly for his little battery-operated fiber optic lamp.  J plays with this lamp for five minutes every night, and Zelda does her best to play with it as often as possible during the course of the day.  She knows its operational state involves illumination, and she has yet to experience it that way up close.  Today, after changing his sheets, J saw Zelda dash into his room and he followed her; there she was, parked in front of the lamp.  J politely said PLEASE to her, and then looked at Dada as if to say “hey!  She’s not playing fair!!!”  Dada said “J, she doesn’t understand PLEASE so you just have to shoo her!”  Out came Slinky, Indiana J’s best friend, and this propelled Zelda from the table to the bed, where (in true Zelda fashion) she plopped down as if all her bones had turned to liquid.  J said PLEASE and whipped out Slinky, and Zelda looked at him with her big yellow eyes.  She wouldn’t move.  J, knowing that we wouldn’t be of much help, then leaned forward and smacked the mattress quite firmly, and this startled Zelda enough that she dashed out of the room.  The smile on J’s face was priceless.

I am hoping that the weather doesn’t cause school to be cancelled.  I don’t think this will happen unless the wind downs trees or a major power outage takes place.  The only other thing that might affect the schools is flooding or the river rising to a menacing level.  To get to J’s school, the bus has to go over bridges that span tributaries of the much larger, navigable river.  Snow could pose a problem, but so far we’re only hearing snow showers and well-above freezing temperatures.

Time to go back to the “tundra.”  J has been doing laundry all day and is happily waiting to get everything cleared out of the laundry room.   We are watching for drips there, as usual.  I am sure that the ceremonial carving of the pumpkin will take place some time after dinner, which means that some time BEFORE dinner, J will have to take his bath.  He does this every year…he gets clean to get dirty, and then he goes back and bathes again.  I have to persuade him to wear his boots when out from tomorrow on; I don’t mind if he carries his heavy sandals to wear IN CLASS, but he must wear the boots to go out.  This might require great diplomacy.

I leave you now.  The coziness of the tundra beckons.