Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last hurrah

It's supposed to warm up this week.  Of course, you couldn't tell when we woke up: it was snowing again.  And it's supposed to snow again tonight.  But in the middle of the afternoon, it crept up over freezing, and it's supposed to each day this week.  So, before the snow is gone forever, I decided to take advantage of it:

What's this giant pile of snow in my front yard?

Yes, I built an igloo.

When I was a kid growing up in Illinois, I always wanted to build an igloo, but I never did.  Maybe the snow was never right.  Maybe I got tired.  Maybe I just didn't have enough understanding of how to build things.  I don't remember why, but I never managed it.  Then a few days ago we drove by another block in our neighborhood, and one of the houses has a huge igloo, at least eight feet tall.  You could stand up in it.  I got jealous.

So, with the weather over freezing and the snow nice and wet, I put my mind to it.  My sweetie dug snow, and I built.  The neighbor's kids "helped" by throwing snowballs at both of us during construction :-).

It's pretty big inside.  You can't stand up in it, but there's lots of room for sprawling.

When we dug into the snow in the front yard, I'd have to say it was at least twelve inches deep.  Amazing.  I built the igloo from the sides up; it probably would have been easier to make a giant pile of snow and dig into it, since we certainly had enough snow, but I didn't want to take the easy way.  It'll probably be all melted tomorrow, and my back is pretty sore after all that digging and packing, but hey: one of my life's ambitions is fulfilled!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Real football

Well, we did it:

I pulled out my long down coat, my sweetie put on long johns, and we went.

It snowed the entire game.  I loved it!  In my opinion, real football is played in the snow.  Football played in air conditioned domed stadiums in hot states is pansy football.  If we were only going to see one game this season (and we are), I am glad it was a real game.

Alas, the Jets lost.  Oh well, you can't have everything.  We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly nonetheless, and were glad we braved the elements and this stubbornly plow-free city to go.

OK, this is ridiculous

OK, I love snow, but this is kind of ridiculous.

It snowed again on Thursday morning, and then again last night.  And each time, it snowed a lot.  Thursday morning I attempted to go to work, in the pouring snow.  My sweetie came with me, because we were nervous about the driving.  And rightfully so: when we turned the corner to go down the hill, we sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid out of control to the bottom.  Very slowly, but still: I was scared.  It didn't help that there was a kid sledding on the hill.  In the street.  When we got to bottom, I turned to my sweetie, and said, "I'm not going to work."  We returned home and had a two-hour snowball fight with the neighborhood kids (and their parents).  (Embarrassingly, my throwing arm and all down my right side were really sore on Friday and Saturday.  Sheesh.)

Then last night, this:

Can you tell we had a huge snowball fight in our backyard on Thursday?  The snow was all torn up.  There were snow angels.  Really, there were.

See the arrow pointing out the walkway in front of house?  This walkway was totally cleared yesterday morning.  We are responsible homeowners!  We shoveled the walk!  Sigh.

For Christmas, I got my sweetie tickets to the Jets game.  People around here keep calling it the Seahawks game, but what do they know?  Anyway, the game is today.  I don't know how we're going to get there.  Seattle is totally unprepared for snow.  They never plowed after Thursday, so all this new snow is on top of packed three-day-old ice.  People are trapped in their homes.  As someone who grew up with snow and snow plows that start going even before the snow has started accumulating, I am finding this a little maddening.  My sweetie saw the city official in charge of streets clearing on the news, and they asked him how he planned to deal with this.  His answer was essentially, "Hopefully it will get warmer."

We're thinking if we go to the game we will start early.  Maybe we will walk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More suburbia

It's very, very cold in Seattle right now.  Below freezing, which is unusual.  And last night it snowed quite a bit, also unusual:

I was very excited to see the snow.  I love snow, and I didn't get enough of it in NYC (I think the city was just too hot for snow).  Last night it started snowing early in the evening,  light snow that was collecting on grass but not on pavement.  But around 10:30 or 11:00 it started snowing heavily, so that it started collecting on the streets and sidewalks.  I insisted on going for a walk in the snow.

As we walked down the block, I scooped some snow off a nearby parked car and discovered it was the perfect packing consistency.  I started rolling the ball along the street.  My sweetie said, "Why don't you do it on the grass?  The snow is deeper."  So I did.  We left a 12-inch diameter ball on the lawn of one of our neighbors and went on our way.

By the time we came back, about 45 minutes later (we stopped for a drink in a neighborhood bar which was surprisingly crowded), the ball was still there, the snow was still falling, and I decided I'd better make a snowman while the making was still good.  I picked the ball up, took it to our house, and made some additions:

I love it :-).  The next morning it was still there.  We went out to sweep the snow off our car and started talking with various neighbors who were out playing with their kids (the kids were excited: snow is rare).  My sweetie and I got into quite a snowball fight with a couple of the kids.  At least three people asked us how we had made the snowman, because by the time the sun came out this morning, the snow was too cold and icy to pack well.  Thus proving that when the snow is perfect, you must seize your opportunity.  I was out there at midnight, and I have my snowman to show for it :-).

We finally got our lights up, too.  We visited several stores before finding lights: the Lowe's in particular looked like light-eating locusts had descended and devoured every last bulb.  It was creepy.  But if you look closely, you can see what we did manage to buy at the nearby drugstore, standing by the porch.  My sweetie calls him "Snowy."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

One advantage of suburbia

OK, I realize that I do not technically live in the suburbs: I am in Seattle.  I don't have a gigantic scary huge grocery store to shop in, I just have a big store.  But seriously, after years in Manhattan, this is plenty suburbian for me!

I noticed this past fall that the changing color of leaves were really stirking me.  I'd turn a corner (in my car) and see a whole avenue of orange or red, and it would lift my spirits.  It made me realize that I didn't get a whole lotta nature in Manhattan, and while I wouldn't say I really missed it (after all, I never sought it out), it's kind of nice to have.

One thing  I did miss in Manhattan was sky.  I like sky.  When the Hale-Bopp comet swung by earth, I had to go out on a boat on the East River to see it.  I visited the Orkneys once, and was completely enchanted by the sky.  When I got home, people were like, "Um, why did you take so many pictures of the sky??"   When I went rafting in Idaho some years ago I was amazed at the night sky.  I don't know much about the sky, but it's sure pretty.

So today, as I left the house at 7:40 am to go to my Saturday morning Pilates class (so worth it, seriously), I was struck by the gorgeous sky.  Normally I don't look up.  It's often overcast here.  It had been dark when I had gotten up.  But this was not ignorable.  I whipped out my camera and took pictures....of the sky.


Same sky.  Cool, hunh?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm not sure what to think

So, not unexpectedly, my sweetie was laid off this week.  Most of his coworkers were also laid off.  WaMu is truly no more.

It's got me thinking about a lot of things.  I recently got into a brief discussion in comments on someone else's blog about choices, the economy, and how to fix this whole mess.  Twenty years after I first got on an online message board and learned the meaning of the word "flame," and you'd think I would know better :-).  Anyway, this person told me that we make our choices and have to live by them, and her husband had survived 25 years at his company and countless rounds of layoffs, so "he must be doing something right."  Implying that if my husband got laid off, it would probably be because he was lazy.  She did use the word "lazy". The smug complacency in this statement left me breathless (though no longer speechless) with rage.  I heard on the news that 80% of WaMu's Seattle workforce lost their jobs on Monday.  I suppose you could say that it's no wonder a company with a workforce consisting of 80% lazy people failed.  

I wish I could be as sure that making the right choices is always guaranteed, or even that making the right choices, assuming you can manage it every time, guarantees health, happiness, success, etc.  I wish I could believe that nothing is left to chance.  That there are no flukes, that you cannot be affected by anything that you are not personally responsible for.  I mean, of course, that I wish nothing had ever happened to me to make me think otherwise.

There are a lot of reasons to be down--how about the WalMart employee who was trampled to death on Black Friday by shoppers who continued to shop even when  they knew someone had been killed?  The self-centeredness depresses me.  That's why I think even though the election supposedly changed things, nothing will change, because everyone thinks they're better than everyone else.  Everyone thinks the other guy should suck it up.  We'll be pointing fingers at everyone who is lazier or stupider or more morally bankrupt than we until we're a snivelling footnote in history.

All of this has me thinking, too, about love and marriage, because what makes everything OK is that we're in this together.  I know that sounds smooshy and cliche's kind of true.  However worried I am, being with my sweetie makes me smile.  I can't say we haven't had a few stressed moments during this mess, and or that we won't have more, but I think we are both very happy to have each other.  Though I sometimes miss NYC and my comfortable single life without any real worries, I don't really wish to be back there.  I like it in Seattle.  I love our house.  I like my job, though now more than ever I wish it paid more.  And I love my sweetie.  Life, for all its scariness right now, is better than it was.  So I guess, on balance, we ended up making some good choices after all.  Ask me what I think in a couple months if my sweetie has not found a new job :-).

And, because I am the way I am, this got me thinking about divorce.  You always hear about marriages falling apart during periods of crisis--the loss of a child, or a job, or the aftermath of crime.  How do people get from here to there?  Do they make a choice to give up?  Does the lure of comfortable single life, where there are no decisions to live with but your own, become too strong?  Is it a fluke?  Does it always mean that the choice to get married was a bad one?   Maybe our crisis isn't bad enough yet, or hasn't lasted long enough.  Maybe divorced people were just lazy.

Sigh.  I think I'll go curl up with my sweetie now.  At least until we start blaming each other for everything that's wrong in our lives.