Snow. This word, this weather phenomenon, this ice cold demonic occurrence that makes me certain Hell has nothing to do with flames or heat, is the bane of my existence right now.
I am aware that I probably sound dramatic, perhaps even histionic, and somewhat ridiculous. Let me explain.
First: I am a big cold weather baby. I'm constantly cold no matter what the season, and therefore especially loathe winter. When I moved to Los Angeles from Kansas years ago, I sold all of my winter clothes and swore I would never return to the Midwest. And then I got knocked up by an L.A. guy from the Midwest and hahaha, the universe had a big laugh at my expense when we had to move to Tulsa to be near his family. Very funny, universe. You're killing me. (No, seriously. You're killing me. Knock it off.)
Second: I live in Oklahoma, where we have recently set new records for most snowfall all winter and coldest recorded temperature in our state. Yes, as in ever. As you can imagine, I am just so happy that I could be here for these record-setting weather conditions. (<---Last sentence written in imaginary sarcasm font.) I know there are parts of the country in which receiving over 25 inches of snow in two weeks would be no big deal, and I tip my stocking cap to you cold, northern-based people, truly I do. If there were a record for most crappy winter weather tolerated, you would surely win it. And you can have it. I don't want it. But in states like Oklahoma, where this much snowfall is an anomaly, the fact is that unlike our pals in the snowier northern states, we are woefully unprepared. Snow removal and the manpower needed to make it so are simply not written into our local budget as they would be in a city expecting this sort of thing. This budgetary deficiency has caused the kids to be out of school for two weeks straight, businesses to shut down, the mail to stop being delivered, the garbage to stop being picked up, and our local newspaper to stop printing for a few days, for the first time since its inception. Crazy snow chaos in these parts. People in places of constant snow can scoff, roll their eyes, and play the "we have more snow than you" pissing contest game if they want, but that doesn't make this any less devastating for our city and lives. The biggest problem is that the city can't afford to snow plow or scrape the neighborhoods, only the major roads. So forget leaving your neighborhood after an 18" snowfall if you have a lower, non-SUV car. We tried to get out four days after the storm and still managed to get our Toyota Camry high-centered on the snow in the middle of the road. It took my husband and another man shoveling, and then four men pushing to get that sucker unstuck. Being stuck tore up the undercover, causing dragging parts and un-goodness for all. When a chunk of torn plastic was dragging against the right driver's side tire as I tried to drive the car yesterday, making a sound like I was dragging a body from the scene of a horrendous crime, I quickly pulled into the closest auto body shop. They fixed it by re-bolting the undercover back up for me... for free. I got out the card to pay, and he said, "Oh, that's okay. It only took a minute. Just send people our way, please." That wouldn't have happened in Los Angeles, my friends. Score one for Oklahoma. And if you're ever in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and your car needs work, please go to Premier Collision Center on 71st, near Main Street. Support the nice guys.
During this time of much yuck, I was snowbound inside of a small house with a very active, bored, just-turned-five year old boy, and a very sick man, because my husband's body decided to make our prison sentence just a little bit more hellish by succumbing to a nasty virus. I don't do "trapped" very well, so it was all I could do to not go stark raving mad.
Once I realized that with a little sugar, milk and vanilla extract, snow can be turned into exactly what we all think it should taste like as children - vanilla snow ice cream - my inner Pollyanna latched onto this discovery and held on for dear life. ("Finally! A bright side! I knew I could find one!" she crowed happily, right before I backhanded her, and then told her to shut up and fetch me a sweater.)
So I turned albino lemons into frosty, white lemonade and let myself have a bowl of vanilla snow ice cream every evening after dinner. Sometimes I even had it as my dinner, with a beer, because I'm a grown-up, and I can, and because there has to be something good to counteract all of the craptastic responsibilities that go along with that title. Like, yes, I have a mortgage payment to make, but I can have a beer and a bowl of ice cream for dinner if I want to. And that makes it all worth it, right? (RIGHT?)
I promise that my perspective remains firmly in place, despite how petty this blog sounds thus far. All of the above cold weather whining is done with the solemn knowledge that there are much worse things in the world than being stuck in a 1200 square foot box for two weeks straight with two people, one of whom requires ass-wipings, meals and constant entertainment (and my son can be pretty demanding too... HAHAHA... just kidding, honey). At least I had electricity, warm water, a roof over my head, etc. I know this. I am blessed, grateful for all that I have, and lucky. But damn, am I ever ecstatic about the warmer weather predicted for this coming week. Bring it on!
Because the COFFEE Project blog is about setting goals and kicking the asses of our fears, I will now explain what all of my winter whinery has to do with anything. Are you ready? Here goes: I got no writing done whatsoever over the last two weeks. None. Nothing. I came up with ideas, and went so far as to start new Word documents with bits and pieces brainstorming these ideas, but couldn't finish a single thought. I have fifteen plus blog/writing ideas in this form, sitting unfinished on my laptop desktop, mocking me. At some point, I even got desperate enough to scratch out notes old school style, with pen and paper.
But every time I tried to focus on a thought or write an extended paragraph of any kind, there was a little interruption who broke my concentration with the white hot heat of one thousand light sabers. His name is Miles, after my grandmother's maiden name, and let me tell you, the distraction force is strong in this one.
Because it was too cold to play outside on most days, we spent entirely too much time watching television, playing school, and trying to be quiet so we wouldn't wake up his sick father sleeping in the bedroom. And I got no quality writing time, or time for me, or time for the daily silence I need to stay sane at all. I'm like a nervous, twitching chihuahua of a woman right now, folks. Not enough yoga or beer in the world to get me back to zen.
Today my son and his feeling-much-better father are having lunch with the grandparents and going to a golf expo in Tulsa, which is why I am being allowed to be alone in the house, and to write. And it feels so good. It's helping.
I have also been having health issues in the girlie department, and am anemic, dizzy and weak quite often lately after spending forty days straight doing what I normally do for three to four days a month. This health issue has been sucking me dry of motivation and creative force, no vampiric/sanguinary puns intended. I am scheduled for a sonogram this week to determine the best course of action: either the cauterization/ablation of my uterus, or the removal of it. I'm not really looking forward to either option, but because keeping as many of my organs as possible is a personal goal of mine, I am hoping for the painful ablation procedure rather than surgery. Fingers crossed! (<---Again with the imaginary sarcasm font.) The good news is that it could be much worse. Isn't that a dreary way to put it? The good news is that it could be much worse. But it's true. No matter what, somebody always has it worse. And in the grand scheme, I am really lucky to be alive, with options and health insurance when my body is acting up, so yay for me. (<---No sarcasm font, I promise. Maybe even sincerity font.)
Another good thing is that my son will be in school again this week, because we are expecting warm temperatures, so I will have time to write all week. I'm planning on making it count. My goal is to write every single day except for Thursday, the day of my ultrasound. I want to finish my second piece for The Nervous Breakdown website for which I've started writing, because I would like to post once a month there. As a reader, I prefer the writers don't post constantly, but rather keep it to one quality piece every month or so, so that will be my goal. I also want to update my personal blog, update the oft-neglected family blog I keep for my son's relatives, and work on the book chapters (they're just blogs, not a scary BOOK, she told herself).
So that's my latest happenings, and my goals for the next two weeks. I hope any remaining Snowpocalypse 2011 tomfoolery has melted from your world as you read this, my friends, and that you are having a warm, beautiful week.