Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winters of Our Discontent

In the last several days we have had over two feet of snow dumped on us.  It's still coming down.  We had enough snow and it was heavy enough that it necessitated shoveling it off our roof as we noticed cracks in the ceiling widening considerably under the weight.  Isaac had been permitted departure from the premises before we noticed the problem so Mr. Lime and Diana spent four hours clearing the roof.  Isaac came home and decided jumping from the roof into the large piles of snow was and activity begging to be engaged in.

To remind you, the first polar vortex of the season is when our house decided it was time to reveal its decades long march toward self-destruct.  The plumbing froze and the bathroom demonstrated horrors previously unimagined.  So the winter has been spent doing a great many significant repairs and renovations...in addition to moving massive quantities of snow.  Mr. Lime is feeling every single day of his recently attained half century age mark and reminding us all.  I try to keep him warm and well fed for his efforts.

We have had so many snow days this winter Isaac fears his graduation may not take place until July 4th, making a celebration of Independence Day something with more layers of meaning than usual.  All this is to say there has been a significant amount of discontent at Chez Lime this winter.

And then I heard a news report that this has been confirmed as the harshest winter in 20 years.  In my mind I flashed back to the winter of 1993-94.

During the week between Christmas and New Year's we moved back to Pennsylvania after a year in Trinidad, West Indies.  That in and of itself was not a happy occasion as it meant conceding defeat to the various forces which required our departure from the island.  I was especially unhappy because I had truly come to feel very at home in Trinidad in ways I never did in my own country.  My spirit had been at rest and my heart had taken root in a place that felt nourishing only to be ripped up and brought back to an environment that felt depleting.

With no jobs we had what little money was left from selling our furniture and appliances in Trinidad.  We hoped to save that for deposit money on a rental once Mr. Lime found work. I was not only sad to have left Trinidad but being back home at my mother's was difficult.  She never wanted us to go there in the first place and stated how overjoyed she was that we'd been forced to come home.  I understood her feelings but felt there was very little appreciation for my own disappointment.  Without an outlet to discuss those feelings I sank deeper into my grief.  There was also the joy of being back under the same roof as my brother who had stopped speaking to me a few years before.

Calypso developed bronchitis.  In order to keep her from completely disrupting the sleep of my mother and stepfather, who got up very early for work, I kept her in bed with Mr. Lime and me.  Once she recovered she was so accustomed to that nest we couldn't get her back into a crib.  Sleep deprivation plus depression, anyone?  Oh what a fine mix that was. 

Meanwhile Diana was acting out because her life had been thrown in disarray and her parents were melting down.  She wanted to "go home" only there was no "home" to return to.  She was also a fully tropical child who resented having to wear clothing.  We had a great many arguments as to the necessity of hats, mittens, coats, boots, and other required garments for being outside when the mercury dipped and snow fell.  Finally, the only solution was to let her take a walk without said outwear.  She was only willing to consent to a spring jacket.  Very well.  She walked along and found a snow bank into which she decided she must plunge her bare hands.  She kept them there as she played with the snow and finally pulled them back as she screamed in pain.  After that she consented easily to the required winter-wear.

That winter we saw 17 bona fide blizzards. SEVENTEEN....while readjusting to life after the tropics and trying to Mr. Lime looked for work. It's hard enough to be a teacher looking for a job in the middle of the school year.  He sent out over 30 resumes in a 200 mile radius even as he worked as a substitute teacher on occasion.  In the event he was called for an interview it was invariably canceled due to yet another blizzard.  It was disheartening to say the least. 

One day he took three year old Diana outside and then spent the entire day building a snow fort that would stand until the spring thaw.  It was an impressive enough structure that even I, who had succumbed to spending hours sitting on the couch, holding a cranky infant as I gazed into white nothingness, remarked with measurable enthusiasm on Mr. Lime's work.  He dejectedly responded with, "I just needed to be able to have something to point to and say, 'I accomplished that,'"  before settling back into the hopeless malaise which had rolled over us like an avalanche. 

Eventually, Mr. Lime found a teaching position in the town where we have been for the last two decades.  We bought a home after a year.  We had Isaac.  Life moved on in ways we never would have imagined, as it is wont to do. 

This year we find ourselves in the midst of another record breaking winter, in fact, sitting at home on yet another snow day.  We've grown discontent with the weather this year but we can look back in compassion on our former selves and remember the sadness and disappointment but know from experience that Spring arrives eventually.


13 comments:

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Thanks for the reminder of what "This, too shall pass" means.

Bijoux said...

Despite my latest post, I did have to rev up the blower this morning. It took me 90 minutes to clear the driveway alone. I would be excited about spring, except it always snows here in April, so I'm just going to hold out for July.

Tabor said...

You are brave and strong and have been honed by life. What a challenge. Actually challenges, because there were so many. Yet, the marriage survived and the kids survived and you can look back.

Anvilcloud said...

What a pleasure to read this post and to learn more about you. You folk have come through much and accomplished much. I imagine that you are due for a bit of a warming trend as it's going to go above freezing for the next three days (not nights though). What a treat that will be, and I won't talk about what we are expecting in four days time. :)

Secret Agent Woman said...

We've had an unusually cold winter, but no snow like the blizzard we got in March of 1993. Of course, it isn't March yet....

Craig said...

It's those trials by fire (or ice, as the case may be) that really make grown-ups out of us, isn't it?

Around these parts, we remember the Blizzard of '78. Altho we never forget the April Blizzard of '75, whenever we start feeling safe just 'cuz the calendar turned to March. . .

I was reading the other day that we've had only a bit more snow than average so far this winter, but today was the first day in a month-and-a-half that we've been above freezing, so whatever we've gotten, hasn't melted. . . AT ALL. . .

Leave It To Davis said...

What a wonderful post! The way you told this made me think of Moannie. Still miss her stories.

Hilary said...

That's a tough thing to remember in the midst of "winter".. but things do get better. You've weathered many storms and are all the stronger for it.

Suldog said...

As Skip said. I've been feeling the blues a bit myself lately. The weather is NOT helping matters. However, you've reminded me that things get better and I'll hold onto that. Thanks!

Kat said...

The husband and I took the kids to an indoor waterpark today to try and escape some of this winter. It helped.
This winter has been an absolute beast. It is hard to imagine a spring much less a wonderful summer but I keep reminding my kids (and myself) that this too shall pass.

Wonderful post, Lime!

Beach Bum said...

I remember talking with one of my neighbors during the middle of last August remarking how pleasant the humidity was and that it was only around 82 degrees Fahrenheit when the former should have been in the high 90's and that later around 100.

Winters here in South Carolina are, needless to say, tame compared to what you guys and gals deal with up north but with two serious snow storms this year we are pushing the effective limit of civilized behavior here in the south. Some of the locals have started floating the idea of a new ice age.

I resist the urge to play Bill Nye and remind them the west is catching hell with Biblical-level drought and high temps.

Jocelyn said...

What a lovely, reflective post. Isn't it something that a post about discontent and tough times can be lovely? Yet it can.

I like Mr. Hairy Woodpecker so very much in that moment when he makes the fort--so plaintive and sweet.

Wilson Horton said...

You had quite a busy winter. Winter is indeed a beautiful season, with all the snow all over the place. It’s just disappointing that it can also be the reason of a bigger problem, especially on your house, what with frozen pipes and all. Good thing it’s all over now. I just hope that the next winter will give you and your family enjoyment and not a problem.

Wilson Horton @ Capital Care Plumbing