winter


Today, the frost covers my windshield…tiny crystalline feathers of whiteness, spreading across the glass, only to be banished by the rays of the sun. And my defrost 🙂

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I’ve been abandoned. Really, I have. Yesterday morning, at about 04:30 EST, Mr Izz packed up his way cool rental car and drove off into the…umm…almost sunrise, headed for a distant and exotic Eastern land………ok, fine, he went to New Hampshire on business, but it sounded a whole lot better the other way. But no matter where he went or why, I have still been abandoned. Honestly, this isn’t a really big deal in general. As I’ve said in previous posts, things tend to be more laid back when he is gone. We have things like pancakes for dinner. It’s cool. But the other side of this isn’t really very cool. Almost every time he leaves on business, something happens. Not always something big, but something nonetheless. One time, Victoria tipped over in the chair she was standing on (yes, I know….bad mommy moment), and conveniently broke her fall with her head as it smacked into the cast iron radiator. The lump that very quickly emerged was a sight to behold. Another time, we had a chimney fire….it was small, but still very annoying. Then, of course, the children misbehave more than usual and my stress levels steadily climb until he comes back. The only consolation is that I know he knows he owes me big. Huge. But this time, what Mr Izz owes is bigger than big. It’s bordering on gargantuan. I’m thinking that deserted tropical island may suffice. But I’ll think more about that one. I may be able to come up with something better. Believe me, I’m going to deserve it.  

As I watched Mr Izz leave yesterday morning, I was well aware that a storm was brewing…literally. We were supposed to have lots of wind and some snow. The gusts were supposed to be close to 50mph, which meant the hatches had to be battened down yet again (the wind storms we’ve had this year have been amazingly frequent. I’m not amused). Apparently more than I had anticipated for when I turned on the water this morning to make coffee (ahhhhh….coffee…..), not even air came out of the faucet. Great, I thought; the pipes are frozen. Heaving a very large sigh, I went into the big boys’ room to get Christopher, who was still a-snooze in his bed.  Since his help was needed to remedy the situation at hand, I woke him up and told him the joyous news. He took it about as well as I did, and grumbled his way out of bed to see what could be done. I could torture you with the gory details of what we did, and how it didn’t work, but I think saying the normal avenues were uneventful will more than suffice. Still not a drop from any faucet in the house. Plenty more agitation and stress on my part, but still no water. More grumbling, from both mother and son, ending with another phone call to Mr Izz (he had been called earlier, but no help had been gotten from him…he just said to call him when the water was back on…….maybe my island can be near Tahiti……). I calmly tell him that the heater under the house didn’t work this time (oh yes…this is a regular occurrence), so he then says that perhaps we should put the heater into the well house, near the pump. Now, mind, I had said I thought it was frozen at the pump earlier that morning (by this time, we’re almost at 3pm), but I was told that it wasn’t. As it turned out, that is exactly where it was frozen (a bit of hopping up and down in irritation). Within an hour the water was again up and running.  Now, I could go off onto an “I told you so!!” type tangent, but since Mr Izz isn’t one of my regular readers, I’ll keep my speech for when he gets back. This is advantageous for those of you who do read my blog on a regular basis, for you won’t be bored to tears by my tantrum. But it will also be advantageous  for me, for by the time he arrives on my doorstep, I will have the whole thing perfected…each word stressed for effect; each gesticulation timed perfectly. My diatribe will be a work of art! I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as such.  

I’m just happy the water is back on. but I am not looking forward to round 2 (or maybe 22 at this point…it’s been a long winter) tomorrow. The forecast is calling for more wind and about 10-12 inches of snow and ice. While I really do hate snow, I will say it is a good insulator. That’s helpful in terms of keeping pipes from freezing up…or pumps as was the case today. But I am sure I am not alone when I say I am more than ready for winter to be over. I could use a dose of Spring right about now, but since that seems to be anything but a priority right now, I’ll just go for a glass or two of wine….maybe even three. If I have enough, I can pretend it’s Spring. Cheers!  

I don’t have too much to say…it wasn’t nearly as bad as they made it seem like it was going to be. Anyone think that the Weather Channel likes to create drama to gain more viewers? I mean, who really wants to watch the Weather Channel when nothing is going on? Well…I do, but that doesn’t count. I’m a weather geek. But anyway, the wind wasn’t bad, we did get quite a bit of snow, but not nearly as much as predicted (woo hoo!!). And despite the forecast saying it was to be gloomy and dreary today, the sun is shining brightly…at least as I type at this moment. Here are a couple of pictures:

2007 Storm
(I took these out my window, by the way. There is no way in heck I’m going outside on a cold day like this!)
This one is of the front yard…you can see where the kids have already shoveled, and how high the banks are. We were blessed to have a neighbour (who takes care of the cemetery across the road from us) use his tractor to do the portion next to the road. That part was going to be difficult, since the snow plow compacted the snow and made drifts over 3 feet high. So we’re grateful (well, the KIDS are anyway) that he came over and pushed it all out of the way.

This one is the back porch…even though there wasn’t all that much wind, you can still see where the snow drifted. It’s kind of cool!

Snowy Porch

So, it’s over. The Blizzard that really wasn’t (and I’m glad it wasn’t!). But we did get quite a bit of snow…in some areas of the yard, it’s over 3 feet (so sayeth the child that walked around the house after his turn at shoveling this morning). We may not see the grass again until July, but at least all the snow keeps the kids busy, when they are shoveling, and happy, when they are playing in it. See? I can be positive, even when it comes to snow. 😉 Although, if we’re not careful, we might lose a couple in the higher drifts. That might prove to be interesting.

I was actually going to write a brief post about the weather (ooooo….surprising, isn’t it?). As most of my regular readers may know, I hate the snow and cold with a passion. From the moment the first of the snowflakes fly, I am counting down the days until Spring. This winter (which hasn’t even really started yet if one goes by the calendar…) is no exception…for the most part. Right now, as I type, we have about 2 feet of snow on the ground. Well, it might be more like a foot and a half, but you get the picture. It’s a lot of snow no matter how you measure it. While I’m not terribly fond of this fact, I have come to the conclusion that it’s kind of…ahem….nice at this time of year. It makes things feel really Christmasy or something…especially when you go past houses at night that have their Christmas lights on. It just makes it look that more festive. And, in a way, quite beautiful. So, as of late, I’ve been rather happy with the fact that there is quite a thick blanket of snow on the ground. That is, until now (you knew that other shoe was about to drop…). There is a monster of a storm blowing it’s way across the midwest right this moment, that is preparing to hit us with enough wind and snow to make a bone fide blizzard. Now, let me pause for a second to say something…I lived the vast majority of my life in this area, and I can honestly tell you that I’ve never experienced a blizzard that I can remember. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have one, but while we had tons of snow every year, I don’t remember anyone commenting on it getting there from anything other than a good winter storm. In other words, despite my winter weather experience, I’m not too terribly well versed on the topic of blizzards. And I’d rather not be versed at all, let alone well versed, but it seems that Mother Nature has other plans for me for the next 2 days. Take a look at this lovely map…it shows the precipitation forecast in the Northeastern US:

(the map is now redundant, and doesn’t apply. Phooey I say to weather.com! They should have kept it as it was, humph!)

You see that lovely dark purple area of upstate New York? Yeah…that’s me. Well, not all of it, but right smack in the middle of the dark purple of New York. That area, as you can see, is supposed to get over 12 inches of snow. In other words, dark purple is bad…very bad. There is a such thing as too much, especially when one is speaking of snow. And while I’m more than prepared (we went grocery shopping in anticipation…I have 5 gallons of milk to prove it!), I’d really prefer to just opt out of this one. Anyone know how one goes about doing such a thing?

It really does kind of stink that this lovely winter blow has dashed my feelings of festivity in regards to the winter landscape outside my window. It was nice to actually have a positive outlook on the outside. And with the amount we’re supposed to be getting (at least 18 inches), it’s going to be here until June at least, I’m sure (woo hoo…there’s a positive outlook for you!). Have I mentioned that I hate the snow and cold? Oh yeah, that’s right. I have. And I’m sure I’ll be telling you all that quite a few more times since I’ll be snowed in until July.

It seems that Winter refuses to let go of it’s stronghold upon the North Country. Here we are, in the middle of what should be Springtime, only to find ourselves surrounded by snow and cold. Late yesterday into early today, a good old Nor’easter blew up the coast, leaving us with about 4 inches of snow, ice and lots of wind. Those of us who reside in the area are ready for Spring in a big way, always hoping it’s right around the corner. And yet our hopes seem to be quickly dashed the moment another storm blows in, leaving behind yet another cold, snowy mess that needs to be shoveled off the walkways. Good thing I have lots of sons.

This snowy landscape was what greeted us at Casa Izz this morning, as it has for the past several mornings. Even the Izzlets are getting rather tired of it all…it seems that one can indeed make and throw too many snowballs (who would have thought!). The only difference today was that the storm was bad enough to cancel school for Mr Izz, much to his joy since it extended his Spring break by a day.

At one point, as we were cleaning up after breakfast, Mr Izz was looking out the window, shaking his head in disbelief. As he scowled upon the scene, Séamus came up to him and asked to be picked up.

“Do you see the snow, Séamus?” Mr Izz asked.
“Yes, lots of snow!” Séamus exclaimed.
“Where did it all come from?” was the next question.

Séamus didn’t answer immediately, which would be more in line with his two-ishness. He actually took the time to think…very much out of character indeed. Then he smiled, looked out of the window and up into the sky, and simply stated:

“From the stars!!”

Such a thoughtful answer from such a little boy…an answer that was laden with such an innocent wisdom that only a two year old can give. To him, it made perfect sense that the wonderful whiteness he saw before him outside the window was put there by the stars. And honestly, even for those of us that haven’t been two in quite some time, and hardly possess even the remnants of two-ishness that Séamus seems to have in abundance, it makes it all a little more bearable thinking that just maybe it was.

As of late, I feel I’ve been rather obsessed with winter. It’s hard not to be…I have 6 foot piles of snow in my yard from the snow taken out of the driveway; I wake up to a brisk –15F more mornings than I can count these days; and whenever I look out my window, I see a huge mound of snow and ice teetering on the edge of the roof, seemingly waiting for some innocent squirrel or bird to hop underneath to finally come crashing down. But despite my seeming obsession, I’ve been reminded quite a bit lately that this too shall pass.

While Winter is notorious for bringing ice, snow, and frigid temperatures, it also brings with it light (although I tend to think it does this begrudgingly). During Autumn, the days became dark and dreary, but with the Winter comes the lengthening of the days. Each day, as I look out onto the frozen tundra-esque landscape, I notice it staying lighter just a bit longer in the evenings, and the sun peeping up over the horizon a bit earlier in the morning. And each day, as I am noticing these changes, it’s almost if one can hear the ancient maples groaning and stretching their gigantic arm-like branches toward the sky, their internal alarm clocks ticking more loudly in anticipation of that awakening soon amidst the sun and warmth. Even they know it won’t be long.

The animals also seem to notice the abundance of light these days. The birds seem to fly a bit higher among the clouds, and sing a bit more joyfully in the treetops. The littler animals don’t scurry quite as quickly, in want of a warm nest to burrow in to. The wind, apparently wanting to get in on the action too, seems a bit less blustery at times, almost as if it’s getting itself ready to breeze through the fields, to tell the wildflowers it’s secrets.

Yesterday, I had to run some errands, and I noticed that since the temperatures had gone up a bit, the snow had started to melt in some areas. This tiny bit of thawing was enough to bring on just a touch of the smell of Spring…that smell of newness and life; of green fields, wild flowers and gentle rain.

I know we have some time until Winter is officially over here in the “North Country”. But these things have given me hope that it will be here sooner than we think. Soon, I’ll be able to walk without the trouble of a bulky winter jacket, feeling a warm breeze in my hair rather than the cold, blustery wind that bites my nose and cheeks. No more mittens, no more gloves or boots. Just think of how much time I’ll have on my hands! I may just end up having time for that book I was going to read through the Winter…

I hate cold weather. This is a fact that those who know me know all too well, for I tell them often enough. Once the cold, snow and ice have their strangle hold upon the land, I’m ready to fly south for the winter. Heck, even the thought of it coming is enough to prompt me to start wishing for Spring. Unfortunately, wishing does not make it so, and now here I am, in what I not so lovingly call the frozen tundra of the Northeastern US.

I have considered myself lucky this year, honestly. The cold came late. I admit I was hopeful that it wasn’t coming at all, until that ill fated day in early January when I realized it had. After putting on the coffee, I peered out the window at the thermometer, only to think there must be a mistake. It read –22˚ F. Yes, you did read that correctly. NEGATIVE 22˚ F. Without windchill. And to think I willingly moved here.

Of course, with the cold came the snow. With snow comes children with eyes aglow, asking their mother (which would be me) to help them find their snow boots, coats, mittens, and various other essentials, so they can venture outside into that vast white landscape. “I can’t wait to make a Snow Angel” exclaims one. “Just wait until my snow fort is done! I’ll put in a whole arsenal of snow balls to fight off intruders!” announces the next. Meanwhile, there I am on hands and knees, searching through the closet to find all of the things they need to make their snow dreams come true. Now, mind you, I seem to be the owner of the only closet on the face of the earth that has contained within it a black hole, the ending of which no earthly man can ever know. Searching within this endless vacuum is futile, for nothing lost within the confines of this closet will ever be found. I’m actually beginning to think that there is a correlation between it and my dryer, but that’s another story for another day.

Despite this, I still search, and miraculously I find enough gear to get them out the door and on their merry, snow filled way. After 30 minutes of sheer torture, I have gotten 6 children dressed in snow pants, boots, mittens, jackets, and hats…a record on my part! As I get up and breathe a sigh of relief (and congratulate myself on my speed and agility), I hear a very faint voice coming from somewhere behind me. As I whirl around, I see a small bundle, and this bundle seems to be talking. I crouch down in front of it, only to hear the dreaded words “Mommy, I have to go potty” come out from under the scarf over her mouth. At this point, I figure that I may as well make all of them go, so off comes all the gear, and into the bathroom go the kids. I deserve a medal after all of this.

Believe it or not, they attend to their business, get their gear back on and are out the door in a relatively short amount of time. The littlest ones are upstairs with their older siblings who didn’t want to go outside, and so things are……dare I say it?……QUIET. I go into the kitchen, put on water for tea, grab my book that I’ve been dying to start, and curl up on the couch.

Of course it’s too good to be true…not 2 minutes later, I hear a faint knocking on the door. When I open the door, a child waddles in (you have to understand that with that much “stuff” on, you cannot run or even walk. Waddle is the appropriate adjective). “Mommy…it’s too COLD to play outside!” “What about your snow fort, and the arsenal of snowballs?” I ask, hopefully. “But the snow is COLD!” comes the answer. Off comes the jacket, the hat and the mittens. The boots come off just in time for the baby to come back downstairs with his sister. He apparently likes how cold the snow is because he lays down on the floor to lick it off her boots. At least I won’t have to clean it up, I suppose.

Not too much longer, the rest of the troop makes their way in, each complaining about one thing or another. So as long as it took me to get everything on them, they’re back in, and all their stuff is piled onto the heater., in an attempt to dry what never had time to get wet in the first place.

“Yay! Mom put water on! Now we can have hot cocoa!”

SIGH! The hot cocoa is made; my tea long forgotten. As I sink into a chair, I hear that little voice again….

“Mom, may I go outside?”

Where did I put that brochure for Tahiti again?