Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Snow Ball Effect

It has been a long time since I have written and I blame the snow. Since I returned from Miami we have had two gigantic snow storms and several mild ones. This is the snowiest winter in Washington DC history, and even now, several weeks after the last big storm, huge piles of dirty, plowed snow line the streets and hamper walking. All the high school jogging tracks are still covered. I guess clearing them is the last thing the beleaguered school system is concerned about.

My reaction to being snowed- in was normal. At first I enjoyed the snugly log cabin feeling of a roaring fire, and the camaraderie with Joe and Allyson, since none of us could leave the house. We never lost electric power, but Rose and her family, and Tami (Joe's sister) and her family took refuge with us when their power went out. We have a four wheel drive, so we were able to pick them up even though Tami and her family had to wade through waist deep snow to a main road since their street was impassable. It was great to have a full house. We all baked. Allyson made lemon meringue pie, Rose made her famous mince pie, and I made chocolate chip cookies "for the kids."

The snowed clear a bit. Rose's and Tami's power went back on, and they went home. We made a grocery store run, and then the second storm struck. It was a real blizzard with howling wind and blowing drifts. We dug out again. The second time it was a lot less fun. Thankfully it turns out that Allyson and Joe are both quite efficient with a snow shovel. I did a minimal amount of shoveling and made my self useful by scraping off the car and pouring warm water on the windows to help defrost them. Aside from this activity, I did absolutely no exercise during the storms and continued to eat whatever I felt like eating. As the second storm lingered, I began to feel lethargic and penned-in. Finally, when the main roads were opened, I took the grandchildren skiing, two hours from here in southern Pennsylvania. There, I walked around the snowy resort and got my first fresh air in days. It improved my mood, but not my eating habits. Since I no longer ski, I made myself comfortable in the lodge's Starbucks and sipped endless hot chocolates with whipped cream and non-fat lattes while eating cinnamon rolls and brownies. (Don't ask me why I even bothered with the nonfat part of the lattes.)

Since I staked out a table with a couch in Starbucks for the most of the day, a steady stream of strangers, who were taking a break from skiing, asked me if they could share my table. They all seemed eager to talk. I guess big snow storms make people feel sociable. My first table mate was Steve, a friendly computer guy, who's wife was on bed rest expecting their second child. I heard the very sad tale of how they had lost their first son because he was born extremely prematurely. We bonded over tales of bed rest and anxiety, as I told him about the troubles my daughters had had with their pregnancies. Steve was very happy to meet Kenny and Lawrence who came bounding in periodically for snack money, all pink cheeked and the picture of health. I think their presence helped Steve believe a little bit more that all might end well with his wife's second pregnancy. We are in e-mail contact and I am eagerly awaiting for news of the birth of their daughter, whom they plan to name Sophia.

Steve went back out for a few runs and my conversation with my next table mate seemed normal enough until she blithely told me, " I have a dead dog in my car." My eyes shot up from the book I was trying to read and I was all ears. It seems her beloved, huge (part Great Dane) mutt had had a seizure the night before and had died before they could get him to the vet. She and her husband struggled to get the 100 plus pound seizing beast into the back of their station wagon, when he expired. She called her vet and asked if they could bring the dog's body in to have him cremated, but the vet 's office was closed for a few days due to the snow storm. After discussing the pros and cons of removing the dog's body, they decided it would be OK to leave it in the car since it was so cold outside. That morning her husband was able to dig out and go to work in their other car. She was overcome with sadness and decided to cheer herself up by going skiing. So she drove the station wagon with the dog's stiff, straight-legged body to the ski resort and parked it in the parking lot.

My immediate reaction was to be concerned that a parking lot attendant might spot the body and assume that some negligent pet owner had left a live animal in the car and it had frozen to death. But she assured me that she had covered him with his favorite blanket. After skiing she planned to drive over to an open space near Gettysburg, so he could visit, one last time, the field where he loved to run.

After the ski adventures, things have gradually started to return to normal. The kids are finally back in school and both Allyson and Joe have returned to work. But, my eating habits have not changed, and I have consumed a whole box of Girl Scout thin mints, purchased from Gabriela, and a half of a very good carrot cake, purchased from Kenny's school fund raiser. Fortunately, the school misplaced the banana cream pie I also ordered. (If it is in the school building, I assume they will find it when it starts to smell.)

I have, however, returned to exercise, even though it means walking up and down hills in my neighborhood on the street because lots of the side walks are still not cleared. I am stretching to get the kinks out from the hours I have spent on the couch watching the Olympics. It is great to be retired since I can stay up watching until after midnight every night and then sleep in each morning. During previous Olympics, I had to call in sick some days due to sleep deprivation.

So now, like most Washingtonians, I can't wait for Spring. I want to start jogging again, and hope my healthy eating habits will fall back into place too. It is about time for my annual physical, the first since my retirement, and I am hoping that, despite my many setbacks, I am healthier than last year. I certainly feel a lot better.

No comments:

Post a Comment