Thursday, February 19, 2015

Such is Life

My brain locks up when I try to imagine the quantity of snow Boston has had this winter. As I watch TV news coverage and see snow piled as high as lamp posts and watch people digging their cars out from under several feet of the white stuff, I feel as if I’m watching a sci-fi movie or at least a scene from the movie, Dr. Zhivago.
And I am reminded of the disappointment I felt when I learned recently that the well-known 1965 classic – one of my favorite movies – was not, in fact, filmed in Russia, as we were led to believe, but was actually made in Spain, Canada and Finland. Furthermore, the icy cottage, with its dinky icicles and plaster snow, was built in the mountainous region 100 miles northeast of Madrid at Soria.
I suppose the betrayal I feel is my own fault for taking things too literally – not checking facts. Still, the movie was more romantic when I believed it was filmed in cold, dreary Russia where the illicit lovers struggled to stay together during the turbulent years of the Russian Revolution.
Oh, well. Such is life!  C’est la vie!  Ni modo, así es la vida.
No matter the language, it means the same: there’s nothing we can do about life’s little disappointments!
And nothing we can do about the weather.
Here are a few pictures of Boston’s recent snowfall.




Saturday, February 7, 2015

Unexpected Events Can Change Your Day

As I opened my sleepy eyes, I saw that Mr. H. was already up and dressed for the day. His look told me something was wrong. Rubbing my eyes, I sat up and waited to hear what unexpected event might change the course of our day.
When you’ve been married as long as we have, you learn to recognize an “all is not well” look on your spouse’s face, and sometimes my heart skips a beat until I know the details. Like the morning I awoke to see that look on Mr. H’s face and almost had heart failure when he told me our son’s home had burned to the ground. I couldn’t breathe until he made it clear that everyone got out safely.
Another morning, I awoke when Mr. H. sat down on the side of the bed. The look on his face told me he had something to tell me that I didn’t want to hear! I wanted to close my eyes and ears and go back to sleep, but Mr. H. put his arms around me and said, “I’m afraid I have bad news.” And he proceeded to tell me that our doctor had called to tell me that my mother had pneumonia (along with several other serious conditions), and he wanted me to make a decision whether to put her in the hospital with a feeding tube or take her home and call in Hospice!
Yet another time, I opened my eyes to see Mr. H. dressed in layers of clothing and thought it strange until he said, “Our heat is off.” We’d had a heavy snowfall during the night and many tree branches had fallen across power lines in our area, wreaking havoc with life as people knew it. The fact that it was only a few days until Christmas made it even worse! Our power was off for four days. I’ve never been that cold in my life!
The most recent incident happened seven months ago. Mr. H. stood at my bedside looking grim. My stomach turned flip-flops as I asked, “What’s wrong?” And that’s when he told me there was a message on our answering machine that our youngest daughter had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance. She was screaming in pain! She was in the hospital eight days and is not well yet.
With episodes like these in my memory, you can understand why I feel a little anxious when I see “that” look on my husband’s face. I wonder why bad news almost always comes in the morning. I think God must know we can deal with things better after a good night’s sleep.
Fortunately, the problem we’re dealing with now is minor compared to the others, but still an inconvenience and somewhat upsetting. “The refrigerator is off,” was Mr. H’s news of the day for me. We’ve been having problems with it for several months, but I’m not much on changing things. I wanted a new refrigerator about as much as my cat, Liza, wants to take a long, hot bath!
Lucky for me, Mr. H. is a refrigeration man and has kept the near-20-year-old fridge limping along for quite a while, but it occurred to me that it’s probably a little tired and ready for the appliance rest home.
Perhaps I should rethink buying a new one.
We have a smaller refrigerator in our downstairs utility room that comes in handy at holiday time when the house is full of kids and grandkids.
So – kitchen fridge emptied and its contents moved downstairs, we went  shopping for a new appliance. I even managed to get a little excited – until  I surveyed what was available and the price tags! Especially the price tags! Good grief! The fridge we bought almost two decades ago is better quality at half the price!
But that’s not the biggest problem. After we walked what seemed like miles looking at the same ones repeatedly, we finally chose one, had the paper work done and it was scheduled to be delivered the next day. Wonderful! you’re thinkin’.
But it was not to be.
When we got home, I walked into our kitchen and looked at the old fridge and the space it was in. It struck me instantly that the new one was just a little taller. I called Mr. H. and sure ‘nuff, when he measured the space, we were short three-quarters of an inch; the new one wouldn’t fit! So... back to the store he went to cancel the order.
A whole afternoon and a lot of energy wasted!
That was several days ago and we’ve exhausted every possibility at every store online looking for that one white refrigerator that is exactly the right height for our space. We’ve come to the conclusion it doesn’t exist – unless we want to go to a much smaller capacity fridge, which we’d rather not.
I don’t understand why everything has to be such a problem. We had a similar problem a few years ago when our microwave went out. Took us forever and a day to find a white one! But we hung in there and finally found it. I’m convinced we’ll find a fridge, too. Eventually.
Just you wait and see! One morning soon, I’ll wake up and see Mr. H. standing by the bed smiling, and I’ll know he has “good news” for a change!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The First Olive

The first day of February! Can you believe it? One month of our brand new year gone like smoke in the wind!
My mother used to say, “We got the first olive out of the jar – the rest will be easier.” I hope that’s true for this year, although January wasn’t so bad weather-wise. We hardly had any snow at all – only a few light snowfalls that barely covered the ground and lasted only a few hours. However, we did have some single-digit night-time temps.
Cold weather doesn’t bother me; I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to get up and go out to a job every morning. I just sit in front of my fireplace, drink hot tea and do the things I love, like reading or writing. But when those sizzling 80 and 90 degree days of June and July hit, along with scary thunderstorms, I’d like to be a big black bear and hibernate – in reverse, of course.
My son and daughter are completely different. They both live for the hot summertime! I’m sure they were mixed up with other babies at the hospital; neither could possibly belong to me! Just as soon as the holidays are over, Daughter starts making plans for summer vacations (yes, that's plural!). Forced merriment, I call it! According to her, everyone must enjoy the sun, sand, surf and sea. Also seafood, which I could live without from now on!
She already has reservations for the first vacation of the year for herself and her husband. She sent info the other day to show me where they’ll be spending their March mini-vacation.
She hasn’t yet divulged where their mid-summer vacation will be – nor the “last farewell to summer” escape that comes oh, about mid-September... or sooner.  But that's not all. Between vacations, they spend weekends at Lake Norman, boating. 
I don’t begrudge her any of this. She and her husband are hard workers. They deserve every good thing that comes their way. I just have trouble understanding why they never take a winter vacation. Skiing and ice skating can be fun, too!
Oh, well. To each his own.
According to Son #One, everyone enjoys planting and tending flowers and growing a few vegetables - vying for the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood while soaking up vitamin D and getting all tanned and healthy looking at the same time. 
He's been trying to convince me since New Year’s Day that spring is almost here. He already has bulbs and seeds planted and is talking about planting tomatoes soon. He swears the days are longer and refuses to believe that we’ll have any more snow. “It’s too warm,” he says.
I remember having snow in March and April a few times, but I don’t argue the point with him. He enjoys his dreams of sunny spring and hot summer days so much that I wouldn’t dare spoil it for him.
My children seem to be getting happier by the day – planning their warm weather activities, so I’ll let them do that.
But, secretly, I’m still dreaming of that one snowfall – just one – deep enough for me to lie down in and make just one snow angel! One! Or a snowman.
That’s not too much to ask, is it? 
Happy February!