Letters to Holly

Wednesday, December 23

Productive Anger

I left work around 3 in order to beat the freeze. I got to Your Sister's school to pick her up and noticed the tremendous reduction in death ice. It was now mush and pavement.

Her phone is a curious device; it will always connect to my phone immediately, but it won't accept the signal from my phone when she's at school. I call her whenever I'm back in town, and I did so again yesterday.

Of course the phone doesn't pick up, and I leave a message. The problem here is that I don't have a school key, and, if I'm picking her up, I have to stand outside the school, banging on the thick glass in hopes someone will hear me. This routine has gone on since before we married. This is the important part: This has happened for years. It's the norm.

I get to the school, park as I did yesterday morning, and slop around to the front of the building. By this time, I've had a frustrating day. Let's wrap it all up in senioritis. I'm counting the minutes until I have a vacation. And after I drive home in the slush and gunk, I have to summon Your Sister by playing building bongos. She hears me, comes to the door, and asks wide eyed and sincere, "why didn't you call?"

I lose it. "I DID." It's officially a spat. As we walk to the car (sitting on the other end of the still ruinous parking lot), her phone receives the message I left ten minutes earlier. This happens every time. Why is this such a surprise for both of us? I fume all the way home. She pulls up the garbage bags arranged to melt a walkway, and I grab the shovels. I shoo her inside eventually and chisel away the ice between the road and the garage door. Burning with anger, I keep at it until I have a walk cleared. It takes 90 minutes, and I finish just as my light disappears. The anger's gone. I've spent it.

I get inside and find Your Sis has made me my first hot toddy. It's good. It's welcome. And we're fine. She gets to bed early, and I go back to the workshop to finish her Christmas gift. It'll be in flux until the last second.

I think I can clear the road next to our yard enough to allow all of you to parallel park next to the snowbank. There's no way I can clear the driveway for parking. The snowplows have packed the glaciers in front of it.

I'm almost finished with Christmas shopping. One more thing to get ...

Picture of the Day
I'll start the garden early this year.

Tuesday, December 22

Work Ahead

It's warmer but not by much. If we're going to host people for Christmas, I'm going to have to spend Christmas Eve shoveling. It's inescapable. I'm still a bit stiff from chopping away at the road on Sunday. Hopefully, the sunlight and forecast warmth will help me out.

I'm going into work today for a half day and going home before the road refreezes. I took Your Sister to work, but the school parking lot is not plowed. We parked on a back road, and I escorted her to the building. I don't know why they wanted teachers to work when they didn't clear the lot. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Picture of the Day
Lego Hoth.

Monday, December 21


The two major weather reports -- NPR and Wunderground -- said it was gonna snow. Not maybe, not might. And we'd get a lot of it. We did. It poured snow and ice Friday, and you've seen the pics of us from that day. It continued until Saturday morning. From what I can tell by scraping the car,we got six inches of snow topped by two inches of ice. Our road was a sheet with deep tread troughs. There was no way our car could move for days.

I had to take the shovel out of Your Sister's hands and remind her she was pregnent. No work for her. Instead, I went to the road to see what I could do. It took me 90 minutes to carve away 30 square feet. A neighbor came down to help only because he couldn't make headway with his driveway ice. When I cleared a runway for the car, I hoped it would be enough to get us to the store. Your Sister and I checked the road beyond our street, and there was no stinking way. It was all ice. And I was beat up from digging and a slapstick black-ice fall. I took to the couch with the heating pad for a few hours, and we've since watched three movies: Capote, There Will Be Blood, and Alien Nation.

This morning we talked to you, and we have since gone to the store. The road was bad, but the troughs were so deep, the car slipped through. Ever seen kids bowl with the gutter bumpers? That's what we had. The store was packed and oddly hot. All those caffeinated bodies made it thick with dry heat. We nervously approached the road home, and I spied a blinking yellow light. It was a snowplow pulled to the side of the road. And then I saw it was not pulled over. It was titling over. It was stuck just before it tipped over on its side in the neighbor's yard. Some crew guys helped us slip by, and then they had to move their truck from my cleared out bay so we could park and unpack.

Since then, the plow has been righted and is now scrapping our road, and I worry it will bury my car as it sits at roadside. I'll try to clear it out in a few hours if need be. I'm sure we can accommodate the family for a Christmas visit even if we park the cars at the school and shuttle people back and forth.

Picture of the Day
Lost pairings.