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What a Week

Growing up in South Texas, one dreams of snow. One suggests prom themes like Winter Wonderland. One decorates said prom with batting material. One obviously has no idea what cold weather even means.

If our kids even get to have a prom this year, I bet it will be more along the lines of Balmy Nights. Or Desert Delight. Or Space Heaters and Cocoa.

Monday morning we woke to a snowy laden land, and wasn't it beautiful? We had power. We had forgotten about letting the water trickle, but my husband fixed that by aiming the paint thinner (read: hair dryer on steroids) at the pipes, so now that was working, too. Younger Son, who has been pining for snow ever since the 5th grade when it snowed, but by the time he got to go out for recess, the First, Second, Third, and Fourth grades had played with all the snow, and there was none left for the 5th graders, finally got to experience a yard full of untouched snow. He came back inside in about 10 minutes reporting that snow was highly overrated, it was just cold, powdery ice. See? Coastal Texas kids!

Tuesday the power was gone. But it was a brilliantly sunny day, and we would Carry On! I suggested that we leave electronics for night time and make the most of the sunshine, so everyone huddled under blankets and read books. How delightful. This must have been what it was like for Laura Ingalls.

That night we celebrated Fat Tuesday and made pancakes with the help of my husband's running headlamps:

I know, we still look so chipper. My parents had given us these very cool rechargeable light bulbs, which I had charged up the previous day, so we played Ticket to Ride after supper. The bulb only started to wane as the game ended. Seriously, y'all, these bulbs are pretty amazing - get yourself some here. I should note that after Hurrican Harvey, my family started gifting us with emergency supplies, like these phone chargers from my Aunt Lisa. I think we were all thinking For the Next Hurricane, not For the Winter Storm, but no matter.

No power the next day either. And it was grey and rainy. So, huddling by the window to catch some light to read by just made us colder. "Drizzerable," is my friend Mari's word for that kind of day. "Drirritating" is how Monica described the day.

And so it became clear to me that my sense of adventure lasts for about a day. My equanimity is rather more fragile than I really care to admit.

My husband snapped the above photo. I'm wearing 2 pairs of pants, my warmest/itchiest sweater (a gift purchased in Scotland where they know damp cold), scarf, hat, and mittens. I look drawn, but I just suck in my cheeks when I'm throughtfully stressed.

When I was a little girl, my mother and I were on a roadtrip that led us through Vandalia, Illinois. That is where our car broke down. When my mom asked the mechanic where the nearest hotel was (it was going to take 4 days to order parts and fix the car), the mechanic whipped off his hat, stared hard at my mom, and explained slowly, "Lady, you are in Nowhere, Illinois." I started to cry, and my mom sternly, but kindly, informed me "that the women in our family don't cry for situations like this, no, we are strong."

All that is to say, I didn't cry. But I didn't feel very strong either.

My friend Mari texted that afternoon, "We have power! Come over and charge up your stuff." Would you believe my initial thought was to say No? What in the world?!? Why is it easier to slump a little further down in grey, cold misery than to take the hand that is being offered? Gentle Readers, I still do not have an answer for this, but I can say when things are awful, it feels easier to stay alone, but DON'T! Make that little extra effort to say YES to an offered meal, YES to a "Can I help?" and YES to coming over to a warm, powered house. After a few minutes deliberation, I decided I needed to snap out of it, and we headed out. Out to a warm, so toasty warm, and brightly lit house. My ebulbs and phone charged. Mari made us Fancy Hot Chocolate. Why had I ever thought to turn this down?

The power is back on. I have even taken a shower. It will be a while before I take turning on a light for granted.

Here is what I've learned:

Keep the warm itchy sweaters. When it's this cold, you barely notice the itching. Maybe itching helps with circulation.

Keep paper plates on hand. Do you know what Laura Ingalls really did with her time? She heated up water to wash dishes over and over again. Much thanks to Kathryn who reminded me that I had Christmas paper plates saved. Oh my gosh, wouldn't that have been the Blog/Instagram photo? All of gathered for our Christmas in February Winter Storm Photo. Sadly, I'm not a cute blogger in hard times.

Buy those chargeable lightbulbs.

And when someone offers to help, say Yes. You don't have to be in a jolly mood to receive; you can sit quietly while someone fusses over you and let some cheer trickle into you slowly.

Take care, Gentle Readers, and take care of each other.


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