Saturday, December 12, 2009


When a paralyzing snow storm comes our way, it freezes you in your tracks. Literally and figuratively. We know it's coming, we have the non-stop "weather crawl" on TV to warn us, the shift in barometric pressure alters our moods and our physical senses, and there's a swelling-up of that calm-before-the-storm that centers in your chest. We're used to it in Iowa, and when we had children at home, I was always prepared.

Cookies. Hot chocolate. Mac & cheese. Goulash. Entertain the kids. Avoid hearing "I'm bored" at all costs.

This storm was no surprise. "Biggest of the decade," my favorite weathermen told me. That can only mean one thing in Iowa. You'd better buy bread and milk. And lots of it. I never quite understood that "milk sandwich" thing, but I usually just do what the guy ahead of me in line at Fareway does.

Until that day.

I left work irresponsibly later than I should have for a stormy day, and the evening was already wrapped in full white garb. The white skies were peacefully eerie in the dark. Streets were covered, businesses closed, and respectful white-knuckled drivers were headed with trepidation to their destination.

I stopped at the grocery store, only because I could. I knew not what to buy. Our refrigerator was on the blink, so "stocking up" was pointless. I'd just thrown out an unopened bottle of milk the day before, and chastised myself that I hadn't caught it sooner and thrown it in a cooler.

I left the store with bananas, an onion, two sweet potatoes, and three grapefruit. Storm patrol at it's finest. My mind was simply adrift along with the storm. You really don't need to think much when you're driving 20 mph.

The drifts blanketing our yard and sub-zero temperatures would not let me keep refrigerator food - like fresh vegetables, yogurt, and eggs - unfrozen. The garage hovered around 42 degrees - for now. The freezer was chock-full with everything that could be frozen that had been rescued from the fridge. Two big containers of freshly-made soup sat on the garage floor, but I was hesitant to eat the beef noodle - it had never really cooled from its initial preparation before my fridge met it's maker ("Hello, Amana, I'm home"). The black bean was a different story. My jalapeƱo passion would kill anything.

Hating to waste anything remotely related to red meat, Ron Burgundy decided he'd try the beef soup anyway. Brave man, always going ahead of us to sense out danger. It was apparently fine, but I left it for him, knowing I wouldn't be cooking much the rest of the week. (And I also know bacteria will grow in 42 degrees). Other than my sparse grocery purchases, I was left with 3 of the four food groups: frozen, canned, and preserved. I could make do.

The official snow day came as predicted. I was imprisoned by beautifully sculpted 3 foot drifts in the driveway. The laundry and de-cluttering was done, except for the most obvious things I don't mess with:

The yard art in the family room in various stages of re-stringing, which prevented me from cleaning that room prior to assembling the Christmas tree

the kitchen desk containing very important things that cannot be lost and must not be moved

 or the den-turned-computer-room-turned-editing-studio with strategically-placed video cassettes, DVDs, and yards of firewire

Disorganized clutter is certainly a spiritual gift for a certain few in my family, and I decided not too long ago it's not the hill I want to die on.

I was paralyzed. Literally, nothing to do except read or work on the projects I hauled home from the office (bleh). I entertained the idea of making cookies, but nearly every recipe called for sugar. (Obviously I don't bake much). I found 1/3 cup in the container, a recipe for Snickerdoodles, cut it in thirds, and made a batch for RB to enjoy with his salmonella beef soup. I found myself adrift on the internet, but with my email down, it was difficult to communicate. I couldn't make any calls out of our area, because our new cell service does not work in our house (huh? SprintFail), so there was no catching up with out-of-towners. It was a good day to shop online, but I had not one clue what to get anyone. My trusty little book collection was lulling me to sleep.

I made lists. I love lists. They offer hope and plans and tomorrow.

I enjoyed the solitude, staring at the beautifully formed drifts in the yard.

I read Scripture and caught up on podcasts.

I did a couple of online yoga sessions, for which my back was grateful.

I baked a sweet potato.

A wise person once told me "only boring people get bored." That was assurance that I wasn't boring, but Snickers didn't seem too bored either, and she is the epitome of boring. Besides, she thinks yoga is dumb (and for dogs).

It was most certainly a day the Lord had made, and I loved every minute of it. Adrift among the drifts.

Am I the only one who can enjoy a day like that and not feel restless or bored?