The sun came out to see what it missed Plunking water from a detached rain gutter Plunk, plunk-plunk, plunk, plunk-plunk Kids back at the park laugh and carry on as if the freeze was only a dream A Mini Cooper Car club member back at work on a rebuild in the garage, a can of Bud Light sits on its primed hood it too, awaits a coat of paint Two chihuahuas yip against me from across the street their owner grumbles at them to quiet down Normalcy hums, whatever that means, zipping through neighborhood streets. No rush hour zoom, but slow casual zips scope out damage you can't see on neighborhood streets except for tree limbs piled curbside. Damage runs deep in burst pipes empty grocery store shelves people boiling water to drink. Shovels scrape, scrape, scraaape against concrete driveways saws groan at broken tree limbs trying to hang on. The last of the slush sloshes underneath my stride evidence of snow and ice evaporates One side of the sidewalk looks more like a post springtime rain shower, the opposite proves otherwise. Back outside after a week, grateful it wasn't worse when it was for so many others. A dry leaf gently cartwheels in front of me as if saying "I've come back out to play!" Along with the rest of us, picking up where we left off.
It’s so cold…
I moved here to get away from the cold. I grew up in the Texas Panhandle. Plain. Windy, oh so windy. Tornado season turned my stomach in knots. A clear, spring morning turned into a dusty gale by noon where I’d spit dirt out of my teeth on the walk home from school. It wasn’t a two mile walk, but it could’ve been in that wind. Summers were hot and dry and winters were so cold. It never failed that I’d slip on the ice as I stepped out of Papa’s pickup holding onto the handle for dear life while my feet slipped out from under me. I’d gingerly step to the curb, get to the cleared off, salted sidewalk, and make it in to school, finding that one last patch of ice that curled its mean fingers under my heel to tease me.
Decades later, I’m praying our power doesn’t go out, thankful for the heat and legitimate snow days. Central Texas doesn’t get much snow. We had a snow day last month, one of those dustings of snow that resemble a poweered sugar coating. We can’t drive in icy weather around here, so I relished the day off. None of this virtual stuff either. The kids went out and played. I went out for a bit, but I’m so over the snow. I’m glad I didn’t have to go anywhere. My family laughs at our snow days. They keep on with business as usual, unlike those of us down here. But hey, a snow day is a snow day.
We get a few days of cold weather where we have to wear a heavy coat in the morning and at the end of the day. Last Thursday was one of those days. Except that the rain started turning into ice late that afternoon. Broken tree limbs blocked some lanes in the neighborhoods I drove through to get home. Two chunks from two different trees came down in the backyard with two coming down from trees in the front. Along our street, tree limbs hung over the curb as if someone had gone on a tree pruning spree, icicles still coating the leaves. I had a massage scheduled for Saturday and thankfully, it was only cold and the roads were clear. Until Sunday. Temperatures were down, the lowest I’ve experienced them here. Yesterday, there was snow. And power has been out all over the state.
Snow is nice to look at, but I never liked the cold weather. Didn’t ever like sliding on the ice underfoot. Snow sneaking into my gloves or coat sleeves annoyed me. Stepping on melted snow in my socks still makes me cringe. It’s pretty, but not fun. I have no desire to try snow skiing. Maybe it’s because I was born in summer. Maybe it’s because I don’t like messing with layers of clothes. Maybe it’s just uncomfortable. Snow is not my favorite thing. But a snow day or two? That’s a whole different story.
It’s so easy to click a button, enter my email address and sign up for another challenge. Then they pile up on me. Something sabotages any progress I make (ahem, me!) and then my plans get derailed and it’s hard to jump back in. Because I have too many train tracks in front of me. I don’t know which one is the right track, off track, on or off a beaten path, or flat out hitting a dead end.
Planner challenge. Yoga challenge. Scripture reading. Prayer pledge. Drink half your weight in ounces-of water-per day. Run the year in miles. Exercise every day. No spending for a week. Read a (picture) book a day. Read a book a week. Sugar. No sugar. Fasting-but did I sign up for the 12, 14, or 16 hours? What the heck, put some cream in that coffee and just give me a cinnamon roll already! Oh, but didn’t I sign up for the no-carbs challenge or was that last month because it’s already February and I might have put that one on my list, but I messed up two days in when El Panadero, pulled out a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies and the kids insisted on homemade pizza for dinner. On the same day. And I didn’t eat a salad.
Walk every day challenge. Then we get the random once every 12 years legit snow day and I’m a cold weather wimp, so I don’t think I walked farther than the length of the couch that day. Dry January. But there was that snow day and I added a little brandy to my Mexican hot chocolate. And the one day I bought the cute little “single” serve bottles of Prosecco.
Well, at least I’m doing well with my planner. Until the third week of the month when I had a wacky week that was busier than the whole month put together and I just left a bunch of blank calendar squares. Do I go back and fill them in? But WHY? Seriously!
Okay, well, there’s the Morning Pages. And those were going really well until, surprisingly, AFTER we had to start working on campus again. My usual commute became my time to get some writing in before logging in to work from home. I have, for the most part, kept those up. Three pages of random nonsense to help me make sense of things first thing in the morning. I’m on year 2, week 17. Sure, I’ve skipped some days here and there, but out of all of the challenges so far, this one I’ve managed to tame.
What else did I sign up for? Something on Shut Up and Write! I missed, already, the prompt for the day and the first day isn’t quite over yet. But it’s also day 1 of the February Yoga with Adriene calendar. I completed up to day 22 or so of the January “challenge” until, once again, life just caught up to me. Which is a good thing. I’m getting better about letting things go and a teensy bit better about thinking twice before I sign up for something else. That’s the easy part. Showing up is the hardest. Unless you count the mindless trigger fingers entering my email address. Anyone want to join a “No Challenge Challenge?”