Friday, January 31, 2014

Here's to the Red, White and NEVER get the 'Blues'

       This is going to be one of those posts wherein your writer is going to have difficulty with organization.  Generally speaking, I tend to be a rather organized person. However this past week - in terms of weather, work, and some wailing from children and grandchildren - has been somewhat out of the ordinary. We actually had snow in Virginia.  To be more accurate, we had several spates of snowstorms.
       To be sure, those hardy folks who live in Kansas and Wisconsin -  truly salt of the earth - would not have even blinked were they to have had the same experience.  (Indeed, I was speaking with a lady who lives in Kansas yesterday.  (She lives in Kansas every day but was sharing the events of recent days.). She arrived at work at her usual time, driving her four-wheel drive Jeep Wrangler with the ambient air temperature of 4°Fahrenheit.  She allowed as how the day before the temperature was also 4°but just to make things a bit merrier and more challenging, that Great Weatherman in the sky added 50 mph winds.
       She and her husband have a darling little Chihuahua.  Usually they share the walks and runs and other play rituals with the feisty, furry outlaw.  Naturally, on 50 mph day, "Daddy" got the call.  As she was speaking I could imagine this propelled little pet jetting its way to Oklahoma.  I guess you could say we had history repeating itself.  Move over Toto.
       Back here in ole Virginny, both the people and the pets had difficulty greeting this white powder with the same je ne sais quoi as did those in Kansas.  I think I'll recount the events of the week as accurately as I can although they may not be in the order best suited for the telling.  (That's never stopped me before and the results have been acceptable, if not at times entertaining.)
       Saturday morning came far too early for this sexagenarian to fully participate in the round of 'star grand children' basketball games.  Please understand that by that I don't mean my own game was not at its best.  Rather, I was simply conveying the fact that the hour was such that I did not even attend the sports events.
       Further punctuating the bad taste of my absence, our nine year-old Molly had crafted a beautiful multicolored bracelet for me which was delivered by Poppy, the grandfather for whom no hour is to early to prevent his attendance at the important moments in the lives of his offspring.  Apparently this bracelet comes in a kit and that kit is accompanied by what the company seems to feel are very complete directions as to the assemblage of the bracelet.
       I know of at least 10 mothers and daughters who expended hours of thoughtful energy and compliance with these directions - all to no avail.  Nine of these people through the towel in.  Molly, on the other hand, saw the experience as a wonderful opportunity to learn, to teach and to manufacture (for appropriate compensation) as many bracelets as she could fit into her already busy schedule.  Hence the sign hastily tacked to her door and keenly observed by her godmother," Knock before entering. Work in progress."
       These were the events of Saturday morning.  At this point we had no way of knowing that it was but the beginning of a string of days hallmarked by canceled school days, frigid temperatures, bored children and mothers who could only hope that their behavior was noticed by those with the authority to admit them to a psychiatric facility for treatment, rest and absolutely no visitors.
       It put me in mind of the article I once read written by Erma Bombeck - that lady with incomparable wit who would share everyday experiences with her public.  She once wrote of a rainy spell - seven consecutive days of  downpour - during which she and her three children, all under the ages of six, were held captive (but not captivated) in their home. 
       At one point,  bleary-eyed and lacking focus, she noticed that one of the children was coloring her marriage license.  The child looked up expectantly, as if for approval.  Erma smiled and in a soft, approving voice simply said, "Just remember to stay inside the lines, dear." Such was the mental state of our son and daughter and their friends in Portsmouth Virginia this past week.
       Our daughter was the dedicated care provider as the other moms had to get to work.  Of course the streets were not cleared and it was impossible to tell just where that patch of black ice might be, lurking, waiting for the perfect moment to not grab the boot on its surface, sending the wearer into an acrobatic somersault.  Undaunted, our girl took her troop -  her six year-old girl, four and a half year-old boy, best friends' six year-old twins and the family dog - a huge and quite harmless mutt who absolutely adores romping in the snow - on a 'nature walk'.  At some point each  of them hit the deck with the exception of the little boy twin.  He trundled along ahead of the rest  constantly calling to them to keep up.
       The following day, after retrieving some appropriate gloves for our grandson from our son's camp of storm prisoners, the little group was determined to build a snowman.  The final product was quite colorful and well done.  Its creators flanked it looking absolutely immovable.  Cherry red skin frozen into plastic smiles, they appeared in a picture that was texted to me to be able to be transported into the house like true stick figures.
       Today is Friday and it began hopefully with the thought of rising temperatures.  Having had our ritualistic argument that starts every day and centers on "Where is our dog?", I proceeded to prepare breakfast and call my daughter in Boston. Her husband is to have surgery and I sent a text inquiring as to his well being.  Not receiving a response, I decided I must have had the wrong daughter or son-in-law or surgery or city. In any case, I was not troubled enough to interrupt my morning regimen.
       About to dive into steaming oatmeal, quill poised over a crossword puzzle, my cellphone beckoned.  It was our dedicated care provider just wanting really to speak with an adult (boy, did she have the wrong number) and go over the events of the week that would be a etched in their hearts with icicles.  Or not.  In the midst of multi tasking orders and plans with the children,  she stopped - just for a nanosecond - before shrieking, "My God! It's a mouse!". "Where?", I inquired, calmly, looking around my own kitchen.
       "It's outside, in our yard, just sitting on the path!"
"Is it sitting in the sun?"
"Yes it is.  I must show Emma."
"No.  She won't sleep for weeks."
"I'll present it as a science project."
"Why don't you just create a path of cheese chunks leading to the fence and out to the street?"
"I must get a picture first. Ross never believes me when I tell him I see these things."
"Get a picture for your exterminator as well."
"Do you think it's going to die?"
(Emma) "Is what going to die Momma?"
"Get rid of the mouse, call the exterminator, then fix breakfast for the children and plan an exciting indoor project. Then call me back."
       I asked my husband to listen for my cell and went to get a shower.  Dressed and beginning chores, I asked whether my cell phone had wrung.  "I never heard your cell phone."  I checked and there was a text message.  To wit, "Left a message on your cell. Mouse hung out in same spot for about 2 hours and left.  I called the exterminator and they are closed so we'll just hang out inside.  Em and I did our T25 cardio workout and are now having a game board marathon."
       That's how we roll around here.  There is really nothing that can dampen the spirit, camaraderie, curiosity and energy of a young American family - even during an un- expected Virginian blizzard. 
Later, Lorane. . . .
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