:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.




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Sunday, February 13, 2011

COFFEE Project Post Eight: Walking in a Winter Wonder WTF (Tawni)

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.

10 comments:

Wendy said...

Tawni, I SOoo hear you when it comes to cold. Cold bites. One of the compelling reason we moved to the south because we were fed up with the cold and having to endure half a year of winter. (And because my husband is actually, physically allergic to cold. (I'm not making that up - it's got a medical name and everything). I love having this excuse, btw.

When we go back to Iowa for Christmas I'm always saying "you know, there ARE other ways to live". So, I feel your pain, sister. But I LOVE the snow ice cream idea! Now I'm bummed I've never thought of that and our snow from last week has melted.

I'm so sorry to hear about your girlie troubles. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers... love your attitude and I hope the remedy is the least invasive possible option!

I am so glad you're going to post on the Nervous Breakdown soon! I was wondering about that... Your last article was SO awesome. Seriously. I will definitely read your book because you have such an incredibly engaging, funny and clever literary voice.

amy said...

Oh, Ms. T. I am so with you on that nasty snow stuff. Back in January, Atlanta got some snow and ice, and you'd have thought the world ended. And they also don't have the equipment/means/brain power to deal with this stuff either...just stand around, all Deliverance-like, scratching heads, wondering out loud, "What the heck IS this stuff, Jim Bob?" And then wait for it to melt.

Meanwhile, people are holed up in their homes ready to throw themselves off their rooves. For the non-Arctic Cirlce crowd, snow is really only fun one day at a time. And we embrace our wimpiness.

And, like you, during my snowed in experience, I also did nada. I think it's just survival mode, and you should be proud you survived it, because on top of all that, you had a sick husband, AND you had an active just-turned-5year old...you are warrior woman, friend!

Plus, you're inventive--I just watched the snow melt. I had no idea you could take milk, sugar, and vanilla extract and make ice cream out of it! Man, *eating* the snow would have made ours disappear sooo much faster. Next time, next winter. I'm way more prepared--thanks, T!

I would like to say (again) that I am still so stinkin' excited you got picked to write for The Nervous Breakdown. So much awesomeness. So much!

Much luck and good feminine energy vibes to you and your girlie issues. Somebody always does have it worse, but when it's you & your organs, and possibly painful procedures are involved, world, humanitarian, and other people's crises can just go deal with themselves. I say.

And last (but not least) I predict much intensely fantastic writing this week, now that all is right with the weather again and husbands are healthy and sons are back in school. We in Georgia will be experience sun and temperatures in the 60's this week, and I hope you in Oklahoma get some of this too.

T-Free said...

@Wendy: Thanks for reading. Man, I sound so whiny now that I read the blog I wrote over again. I almost want to pull it down. But too bad. That's what chickens do, and I am NOT a chicken! Not a chicken!

I wish my husband was allergic to snow. I mean, it sucks that your husband is allergic to anything, but if it's got to be something, cold weather is a good one to be required to stay away from. An excuse to avoid snow is much better than an excuse to avoid dairy, right? What a wild allergy.

Thanks for girlie trouble commiseration. I'm trying to increase my cardio and eat supa-dupa healthy, with extra fruits and vegetables, hoping that will help too. I'm sure it will work out for the best one way or the other. :) xoxo.

Katie said...

Tawni, if there was a petition to do away with snow, I would sign it a million times. I agree with Amy - snow is great as long as it's the fluffy kind that disappears after three hours or about the proper amount of time to make a good snowman. It really does feel like a test of your mental elasticity when you are housebound and you literally cannot get OUT. But to be with a sick husband and a five year old?? Whew. You just won my Superwoman award lady. I could barely make it through 4 days with just my good-natured dogs! Goodness gracious me.

Even though I grew up in Iowa (translation: should be hardy in a Laura Ingalls Wilder kind of way and have learned to drive in the snow by the time I was 7) I have recently become a snow-hater. Used to love it. Now I hate it. HATE. IT.

Also, the lady-parts difficulty sucks. Sucks. Although I've never been at the point where removal was on the table, I've had my share of WTF is HAPPENING?? Also with Amy on this one. Nothing quite so distracting as when the cooter area acts up, and nothing quite so all-consuming. You have my utter sympathy.

And so excited about the NB pages. You really are a talented writer, and after reading your last story, knew you were a woman I wanted to get to know better, even if just through your writing. So. Excited for more!

Snowpacolypse 2011 can suck it!

T-Free said...

@Amy: I actually thought about you and your also-anomalous snow during the last few weeks, because I knew you would understand perfectly! I have Minnesota friends and Canadian friends that think I'm just being a baby, but I just don't think they understand how much *more* heavy snow and ice impacts cities that are completely unprepared.

"For the non-Arctic Circle crowd, snow is really only fun one day at a time. And we embrace our wimpiness."

Haahahahaha. Exactly! :)

OMG, snow ice cream is amazing. It's so simple and so good. I have been a sucker for anything slushy my whole life, anyhow (marry me, Sonic lime slushes, please), so it was right up my alley. YUM. I told my friends I was going to EAT my way out of winter this year. I came pretty close. And this is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but yes, I *did* gather up some of the fresh, clean snow after our second snowstorm and store it in our garage freezer for later snow ice cream. That's how addicted I am to the white stuff. Haha.

Thanks so much for the Nervous Breakdown props, and for the good feminine energy vibes. Yeah, I am going to try to put on a brave face during the cauterizing procedure, if I qualify, and tell myself that my husband got the vasectomy, so now it's my turn, but really, if I'm being honest, I'm going to be a terrified little mouse inside, with my heart beating out of my chest. Nobody wants their girl junk burned out, even if there *are* worse things in the world. So yes, at that moment, other people's crises can go deal with themselves, just like you said! Haha.

We are supposed to have fabulous, unseasonably warm weather this week too, and I am absolutely GIDDY about it. I hope you enjoy your sunny goodness and have a glorious week, Amy! :) xoxo.

T-Free said...

@Katie: I would sign that anti-snow petition a million times too! We should really find a way to make that happen, shouldn't we?

It was the second week of housebound and second snowstorm that really did my head in. We were just starting to melt and clear the roads after the first one and then, blammo! Another near-foot of snow on top of the nearly two feet we already had. Stupid mean old snow. But it is warm and sunny today, and the warm weekend melted the roads to a non-scary and very passable state, so no complaints from this lady. I'm just relieved and happy it's gone. And the kiddo is in school! Yay!

This made me giggle:

"Nothing quite so distracting as when the cooter area acts up..."

Hahaha. Ain't that the truth, sister! My forty-plus days of heavy bleeding (no end in sight) have absolutely wreaked havoc on me. I'm exhausted, and I'm sure anemic as well by now. It's also really unsettling and unnerving that my body won't stop. (I keep wondering why I'm still alive. At what point will I need a transfusion?) I'm honestly starting to feel like, "Just take this stupid thing out of me!" I want my life back. She whined. (I think girl troubles make me extra whiny too. I am somewhat ashamed of my whiny blog tone. Sheesh. Get a grip, Freebird!)

Thank you so much, Katie (and all my COFFEE ladies, really), for the Nervous Breakdown props and writing support. It means so much to me. You are such a sweetie and you totally ROCK. :) xoxo.

patresa said...

snowpocalypse!

well, you sure do you make your stark raving mad-ness funny and clever.

2 weeks snowed in to a 1200 square foot box with a bored kid and a sick man sounds... just terrible.

and 40 days of "lady time" (as my husband calls it) sounds like an absolute nightmare. nightmare. i'm going to send you some very serious warming and healing vibes, tawni friend. my what a trying couple of weeks you've had!

(and looking forward to the next NB post!)

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Tawni,
I know! Snow is a stupid stupid 4 letter word! I am so sorry to hear about all of the wild and stupid effects this had on your drive and car. This is simply ridiculous and unacceptable of our weather universe.

I also hope everyone gets well soon in your home (well and everyone out there who may be sick). I send lots and lots of healing vibes to your whole household, and I hope that you get to keep all of your organs. BUT, the mama bear coming out in me (or I should say puppy mama), if that has to happen, I will send you even more healing vibes and peace to your organs and send my support to you to take care of your awesome bad-a self.

Good luck on the increased writing. I love reading your brainy creativity works, and I'm Team Tawni all the way sister. So..... bug off Snow, and 40 Days, you can take a flying leap, for good.

Rock on Tawni and take extra care of yourself.

blj said...

Hey Tawni, I'm so down with the superwoman, warrior comments. Sounds like you've done your best to survive a rough go of it lately. And I hear ya about the snow. I’m done with winter, but I’m not so sure it’s done with me yet. Although this weekend and week has been absolutely gorgeous and it’s supposed to be 61 on Thursday… in Iowa! I certainly hope the snow in OK is melting fast.

I am also looking forward to your next piece on NB! Sorry I was so late in reading the first one, but it was awesome! Hilarious! And makes me want to hear way more stories about you and from you. And this blog was really well written, it was so much fun to read! It didn't come off as whining at all, you are witty and observant and your family was lucky to be snowed in with you :)

You rock, Tawni. I'll be thinking about you and your girl troubles. Hang in there, sister!

Steph said...

Ah, Tawni... your survival story sounds remarkably like mine, sans sick hubby plus two extra children & one large Boxer who's way spoiled! I'm sorry you didn't get to write, but I have to tell you that I so enjoyed reading some of your first fruits. It's really a privilege to read what you write. I cannot explain that. It sounds silly, I think, but it's very true.
I so hope things take a turn for the better for you in the vajayjay department. Nothing sucks more... Truly. Prayers for quick and decisive action on your behalf.
WRITE, Tawni COFFEE, WRITE away! Am also looking forward to your next NB post... you'll rock it, again! :)