And for once I was SuperMom

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Snow More

When I was in high school I was raising money for a trip to Mexico.  We followed a common model and sent letters out asking for donations.  We got a response from one women that if we did her ironing for her she would donate a dollar an item of clothing.  I volunteered, being quite unsure of my ability to raise money by just asking, earning it seemed reasonable.

I received the pile of clothes and set to work.  After a bit I noticed that they were all t-shirts.  T-shirts that smelled of closet.  I had the sneaky thought that she had pulled a bunch of old clothes out of her closet and made up a job, to teach us kids a lesson.  I bit my lip as I ironed and felt more than a little bit insulted.
As a child of a single mom I was not unused to work.  Many of our Saturdays were spent cleaning the house, in fact it was the only time that my Mom would order pizza.  I remember pulling the chairs down off the kitchen table with shaky arms and tired legs, to get ready for that rare treat.
I suppose a teenager that is willing to iron a pile of clothes might also not be the teenager that needs to learn that lesson.  Mostly I felt patronized.
Who irons t-shirts anyway?

This winter has felt a bit like that pile of t-shirts.
Last winter was bitterly cold.
Not only has this winter been bitterly and unbreakingly cold, but it has been full of snow.
Last winter I learned that I wanted a heavier coat for New England's particular brand of cold.  So I got one for Christmas.
Last winter we learned that our house is full of cracks and needs insulation.  We're in the process of getting a grant to fill in those cracks and get that insulation.
Last winter we didn't get out at all because our youngest child would just cry in the cold.

This winter feels just a little bit insulting.  Not only is it cold, and we re-learn where the cracks in the house are, that small children can't quite handle the cold, and that a down coat is a true blessing.  But we've learned what it's like to be housebound for days on end.  That even when the blizzard goes away our sidewalks are gone and we can't walk anywhere.  (My husband and I share a car, I rely on walking every day, if I want to leave the house with the girls.  I live within walking distance of a lot, but currently there are no sidewalks and narrow roads covered in ice slush.)
I've learned what outfits that I can wear thermal underwear underneath without looking like an L.L.Bean model.
I've learned that to go grocery shopping without a pack of panicked New Englanders buying bottled water and batteries can feel like a luxury.  I've learned that my friends are kind and will offer to give me rides.  I've learned that children are a bit more resilient to being housebound for days on end than I would expect.

Yesterday when the Army was digging out my street (I'm not kidding), it was bitterly cold, so I walked out to ask the soldiers if I could bring them a cup of coffee.  The soldier pulled the bandana down from his mouth and smiled,
"Thanks, but people have been bringing us coffee all day long!  We've got two Boxes o' Joe back there!"  He used his thumb to point to the front end loader that was shoveling snow off of our sidewalk at the end of my street.
I've learned that I live on a street full of nice people.  New Englanders are known for their road rage, I expected a full Army crew of trucks and machinery would incite some kind of gesturing.  I found that they brought them coffee instead.  That makes me relax a little.
I've also learned that all my neighbors have snowblowers, and every single one of them has blown out our driveway and sidewalks.

I suppose that while this winter has patronized me.  I've learned that overall we will hunker down and continue on.  We will find a place to put the snow.  We will offer each other coffee.

But I do declare if one more person, tells me to 'stay warm,' I will send the blizzard their way.

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