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.