Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Southern Ice

We got a sprinkling of snow on top of about an inch of solid ice, in these coastal parts, and that ice is heavy stuff.

OK, I'll just use the other stairs....

Ice about an inch thick on flat surfaces.

Cardinal picks his way down the road.

Dirt roads fared better than the asphalt, but by 11 AM when I had dressed in enough layers (it was 25 degrees f.) to go out, that highway in the background was pretty clear; only with lots of meltwater puddles, which will slick up again overnight.

Unlike our previous snowstorm, it won't be back up to 40 degrees f. by noon.  It won't get above freezing today, and the whole mess will refreeze tonight.  Tomorrow it will start melting away!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Change the things you can. So we did.

Here's the lowdown on 2013:

We lost both my in-laws in 2012, my father-in-law 2 weeks before Christmas.  Christmas 2012 involved fresh grief, and was harder because of an unpleasant houseguest who simply could not comprehend that we had just had a life-changing loss, dammit. This unbalanced person became a problem through several months.

In January we were hit with a legal and personal attack (unrelated to the houseguest).  The legal is nothing, a nuisance that will go away, but the personal was so unexpected, we felt punched.

While we tried to stay emotionally balanced over this, elder daughter got sicker than she has ever been.  She nearly died twice.  We had endless trips to doctors and hospitals, we were up all night for multiple nights, and it took about 5 months to get her back on her feet.

I went to the ER six times March through November, for 4 family members including myself, in support roles 5 times, only once as the patient (It was time to give in and go back on antidepressants, and the first one gave me a supernova migraine).  We lost Dad, as you know.  The rest of us are fine.

In the middle of all this, the hurricane season loomed.  Yall have heard me stress out about the goddam things to a tedious degree.

My grandparents' 1930's laundry hamper

There was naturally a list of things we cherished.

There was also getting Dad through a storm.  Even an evacuation of a couple of days would be hard, since he needed a place without stairs, and I didn't want to load all of us and 3 fighting cats onto any dear people who would offer to house us.  If a storm damaged Dad's house, he'd need to be comfortable somewhere for...weeks?  Months?

We could do nothing about the other problems of the year except wait them out and steer into the wind.  But we had to do something to solve the one problem we could solve.

We went to our bank.  It was amenable to giving us a mortgage.  We bought a house.  Inland.

The above-mentioned personal attack made us want to keep this location a secret, so we did.  Basically, we've had the house since May.  Things are quiet, I'm tired of sitting on this, so.  There it is.

We've been in a slow moving process since summer, taking stuff we didn't want to lose to disaster, and setting up a room for Dad.  We didn't spent a night there until Christmas - the place was a heap of boxes, and a couple beds and chairs, but we realized that Christmas at Dad's house would be too painful, so we scrambled to take what we'd need to stay in the new house for a few days.  Changing the setup of Dad's room was sad.  Making it Daughter's room for the holiday was happy.

The house is still a heap of boxes.

We are in love with it.  It's quiet, it has a whole room JUST for a library, it has a walled garden for Scooter, a big train room for Larry, I will have a real room for an office.  We are both so ready to leave here.

We're all OK, including our daughter who is back living her life again, blessing of blessings.  Younger daughter was in a total car smashup - her boyfriend had to be cut out of the car - but they had only minor injuries, and that qualifies as miracle.  Blessing again.

So, 2013.  Blessed, horrible, ground us up in a meat grinder, then let us all get put back together, and at least for me, I'm not who I was. I never expected any year to worse than 1994, and you can laugh or generally be disgusted at my childishness over that.

So help me, I thought there was such a thing as "enough" for fate/Higher Power/whatever, to put us through.  Any fool could read the news and know better.  I could, in fact, read the blogs of some of my friends and know better.  We're still luckier than a lot of people.  But I've lost something that I undoubtedly needed to lose.  I don't know what exactly it is.  Stupid trust in a benevolent power?  Trust in a tendency of the universe to balance things?

One of the main reasons that we were anxious to have a place inland left us on the 29th of November when Dad passed.  There were other reasons we needed the house, but I also think about how we never expected to spend Christmas away from the coast, yet, how crucial it was to our sanity to have that house as a sanctuary for a holiday that I dreaded. Is that the Benevolent Power letting the storm play out but giving us a boat?

Maybe I will be an adult someday, and have a faith that's more like, "you can't always get what you want.  But you get what you need."  I'm sure closer than I was.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Not *quite* like popping bubble wrap...

Popping it is more fun, but, I swear, stripping off old tape from used bubble wrap is almost as satisfying.  Makes it more reusable, sure, but pulling off the tape is pleasurable anyway.  That wad of tape in the foreground is tonight's achievement.

Little things make me happy, but I need them to come along fairly frequently.