April Showers

I’m convinced that Spring is broken. While a rainy April isn’t unusual, the rain around here has been more like sleet, with intermittent bouts of snow showers. One day we started with snow; then it warmed up so the snow melted and the sun came out; then it snowed again before the sun came back out. Spring needs medication.

Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s strange. We didn’t live in the same town, so NOT seeing him isn’t the weird part. It’s when I remember that I won’t see him again. That he isn’t at home with my mom, sitting in his recliner with a dog on his lap. That he isn’t somewhere laughing at his own jokes or arguing with the tv. That he isn’t just a call away if I needed him. Not that we talked on the phone much. He didn’t like it. If he ever answered the phone, we knew mom wasn’t available, and he’d start the call with, “sorry, honey, but your mom’s not home.” Or if it was his birthday or Father’s Day, he’d talk for a minute and then say, “ok, here’s your mom,” even if we didn’t ask to talk to her. It was kind of funny, actually, and kind of endearing. He just assumed mom trumped him when it came to conversation. But if we were in trouble or needed something, he would be there. And that was comforting to know. It doesn’t matter how old you get; you still feel like a kid around your parents. If they’re around, you know someone always has your back. I’m glad my mom has been doing well on her own, but I know she misses him. She said it’s hardest at night. I get that. Heartaches weigh heaviest in the darkness.

I’m thankful for the dulling effects of time. How it makes us get used to life’s voids. How it presses on relentlessly, sometimes dragging us along, sometimes pushing us forward. It’s good to keep going. Spring is reminder of how crazy life can be. Warm and cold, dark and light, often all at once. And yet somehow the flowers come through.

 

 

May 15

After months of whining about the snow and cold and ice storms, it was a joy to see this tree covered in white today. That’s one thing that is amazing about spring: flowers show up over night. I’m so thankful today for the beauty of the season, especially what’s in my own front yard.

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April 14

I’m just going to say it and get it out there. It snowed today. Not just a few flakes, but an accumulation of white stuff everywhere. I even had to scrape my car. While this is not something I’m thankful for (quite the opposite), I am thankful that I know it won’t last. Unlike the polar vortex of the winter months, this is just Spring’s funny little pre-Easter joke. Therefore, I’m not letting it get me down. I’m not dragging my winter coats back out of the closet either. I’ll double-up on jackets if I must for a couple of days, but I refuse to bundle up in a down stadium coat any longer. Instead, I’ll continue to enjoy the lovely flowers sitting on my kitchen island, waiting to be planted outside. The smell of lilies, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils fills my kitchen, reminding me that the white outside will be gone in a flash. In the meantime, I have spring inside, waiting.

March 30

The sun stayed out all day and I spent as much time outside as possible. I’m so thankful for that. I took a two hour walk through state park that’s close to my neighborhood, passing numerous people, walking dogs or riding bikes. I was also able to get my Christmas lights off my house, finally! Later I spent time wandering around my yard thinking through where I may be able to plant some vegetables and adding to the landscaping. It was simply rejuvenating to spend time outdoors.

March 21

It struck me when I got the mail tonight that the huge mound of snow which almost covered my mailbox is almost gone. Just like that. It’s funny because I had gotten so used to tiptoeing carefully out to get the mail. Every time the snow plows would go by, they’d push the snow up higher and higher in front of the box so the post wasn’t even visible. It was like my little black mailbox was sitting at the top of its own snow hill. And the built-up ice on the ground in front was precarious. Whenever we’d get a bit of a thaw, there would be a pool of water at the end of my drive, which would then freeze back over. I’d have to shuffle across the ice, step carefully to the mailbox and then onto another step I had created in the snow bank just so I could reach across the three feet of snow far enough to grab the mail without falling. Or if it was just too darn cold to even walk out there, I’d drive my car up as close as I could, which was still about 3 feet away. My car would sit at an angle while I opened the door, rolled down the window and hung out through the hole just to reach out far enough to open the door on the mailbox. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m a little crazy. But today, I was able to walk right up and get the mail, with only a small patch of snow and ice to contend with. I was thankful for that.

I was convinced all winter that I was going to slip one day and hurt myself. I have a tendency to trip over my own feet. And when I fall, I do so fabulously. It’s the stuff of cartoons. Once, when I lived in the country, unbeknownst to me, my entire yard became a sheet of ice. As I trudged to my car (I had no garage) I slipped, my entire body went airborne straight up in the air, and I came down on my back. My purse, my work bag, my coffee mug went flying. I lay there, stunned, coffee pouring out around my head, papers and junk scattered around me until a one of the outside cats slinked over and meowed. I chipped a bone in my elbow on that fall.

Another time, I was on my way into work. The concrete steps were covered in rubber, and because it was winter and my shoes were wet, I slipped going down the stairs when my heel hit the edge of the stair. Again, I flew up and came straight down on my back. This time I not only had my bags of junk, but I was also talking on my cell phone. Everything went flying. My cell phone landed at the bottom of the stairs and broke apart. Papers scattered. And I just sort of slid down the stairs on my back, completely winded. And hurt. I collected my items and limped to my office. I called the girlfriend I was talking to at the time to let her know why we were so rudely disconnected. She laughed, of course. But wow, you should have seen the bruises I sported about a week later.

Unfortunately, those falls were unwitnessed. Which is too bad because I’m sure they were hilarious. I wish I could have seen myself; I would have laughed. Another good fall I had did have a witness. It was inside at work when I was escorting a copy machine repair man down to the work room so I could unlock the door for him. As we rounded a corner, I stepped on the side of my high heeled shoe and twisted my ankle. I went down so hard on my hands and knees that my hands made an echoing slap against the floor. I’m laughing as I write this. The poor guy tried to pretend nothing happened. Thankfully, only my pride was hurt that time. And even more thankfully, no one from our police department witnessed it on the security camera. At least no one ever mentioned it to me.

So, I’m glad today I made it through the ice and snow without a major fall. At least so far. And if I have one coming up, I earnestly hope there are witnesses to enjoy it.

March 10

It’s Spring Break at my school. I just wished it actually coincided with spring. I think we actually have more snow on the ground now than we did at Christmas break. Oh, well. The weather did turn a bit for the better today. I think we actually got close to 50 degrees, which felt amazing. I spent the afternoon with my daughter, riding around in her new little Miata convertible. She wanted to put the top down, but I nixed that. It may have seemed warm, but 50 degrees in the form of fast wind feels a whole lot cooler on the face. We did roll the windows down for a little while before stopping for ice cream. That was delightful. Until we both felt sick afterwards. Unfortunately, my kids have adopted my eating habits, which are basically eat whatever sounds good at the moment. It could be green beans and apples or it could be popcorn and Skittles. Today when I got home at lunch, she was eating chocolate mug cake. Since I had that last night, I know how filling it is. I settled for an avocado with basil olive oil and leftover edamame. When we added ice cream later, it was a bit much.

At any rate, the break from work and the bitter winter was a good switch. So I followed that up with cleaning the growing mess in my basement and upstairs office. Both places had become a dumping ground. The office was filled with stacks of papers that had been periodically moved from the kitchen when the mail piled up and visitors were coming. After sifting through and filling a garbage bag, I can now see the office floor again. And I can also see the new carpet in the basement after putting away the Fall and Christmas decorations that got left in a heap. In the process, I unearthed items I had forgotten about–a whole tote full of clothes and shoes. And the cover I bought for my grill but never put on before the snow fell. And some exercise DVDs. (Those I left in the basement. I’m not that motivated yet.) It felt good to clear away the clutter. It felt like a spring thing to do. I’m glad I took the time to get some of the organizing done that I clearly need to do. And I’m also thankful I took some time to enjoy the warmer weather with my daughter; that was a treat.