Talking about the weather…

Like thousands of other New England homeowners, I spent the day waiting for the roofers. I’m no genius, but this might be a problem.

ICE DAM

Or… this.

ICICLES

As soon as the mercury rises a scoach, we’ll need umbrellas to pass through the front door. And we’ll have to pass through the front door, because we’re snow prisoners at every other portal to the house. Instagram cannot really do justice to the historic enormity of it all because everything is just so very… white. Snow this deep has nothing peeking out for perspective. So, we use props—like our kids or the basketball hoop— to collect Kodak proof that it is really up to there.

BRODIE SNOWHOOP

The children are becoming stupider, public transportation is crippled, roofs are caving, decks are sagging, and forced family togetherness and nothing but white white white is making us a bit loony. It was snowing again this morning. We oscillate between fist shaking disbelief, muttered expletives, and giggles. Because, really? REALLY? We tentatively joke that the unrelenting snow has a bit of a Biblical feel to it… if the Bible stories took place, you know, in colder climes. But we’re shy to make these jokes, because maybe a little part of us thinks this might be supernatural karmic payback for all of that Super Bowl gloating.

Whatever this is, it’s beginning to feel like punishment.

Those of us who haven’t budgeted thousands of dollars for shoveling, roofing, and re-painting (not to mention ice melt and fender benders and snacks and wine) are wondering if our homeowner’s insurance will pony up or if our plans will deem The Winter of 2015 an Act of God. Another 4 to one hundred inches of snow is expected again between tomorrow and this weekend and our collective learned helplessness and StormWatch fatigue leave us nonplussed.

However, New England law dictates that I must don a sleeping bag-cum-jacket, race to the grocery for more crock pot necessities, and check the vents and alarms and drains before this new snow. And then once more for the next scheduled wintry mix promised for Valentine’s Day. If carbon monoxide and icicle daggers don’t get us, boredom might. We are absolutely desperate to talk about anything but the weather, but there is nothing to talk about except the weather, and if you’re not currently suffering through this weather, forgive us our snarky comments on your ice-dam-free posts. It’s raining INSIDE over here.

The only distraction is today’s insanely large Power Ball draw. Reporters could interview any number of locals about dream plans for impossible winnings, and I’d wager nearly all of them would include moving closer to the equator. After 72 inches of snow, even this Atlantis-escaping advocate of happy homebody-ness is willing to give the islands another go. Stir-craziness will cause most of us to stand in line at the convenience store to buy tickets for a 1:170 million opportunity of a warmer life. And while we’re in line, you’ll find us talking about… the weather.

This is the State of the Commonwealth, darling reader from afar. We’re dodging ice daggers, pairing all outfits with unflattering, puffy clothes, packing on the pounds, and using our best Emily Blunt voice to repeat, “I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids.” And really, we do. But after the 158th “… ugh, but there’s nothing to do” and neverending requests during a neverending day, cocktail hour now applies to school nights. Luckily, I’ve got my tickets to paradise right here.

POWERBALL

Here’s my 1:170 million chance to write future posts from St. Barths. Sadly, winning a half billion dollars is far more likely than the slimmest chance than we won’t need to shovel again, or need Marcello because it’s raining in the foyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Mixtape for You, by Steve Safran

An early Valentine, and possibly my favorite bit of writing from Steve Safran… read, listen, rewind, repeat.

 

We’ve known each other a while now, dear readers, and I think the best way I can express my affection is through that most ancient of all rites: a mixtape. Cassette tapes are hard to find and somewhat impractical to distribute via the internet. Instead, I’ll link to 10 songs. However, you really should hear these over good speakers– in your car, house or through headphones. If you have Spotify, most are there. Otherwise, pony up and get them from iTunes. NOTE: I realize there are few things more boring than what someone else considers a “good” song. So I appreciate your sticking in here.

 

SIDE ONE

  1. “Knock on Wood” http://youtu.be/CVt3GWuGM9s (Otis Redding & Carla Thomas) While there won’t be thumpy dance floor music here, I dare you to hear this at a reception of some sort and not “Knock-knock-knock-knock-knock… on WOOD!” If nothing else, it will embarrass the kids.
  1. “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” http://youtu.be/NN7b-DZgGjs (Composed by John Rutter): TOTALLY caught you off guard there, didn’t I? You were expecting something else from the Atheist Jew, right? On the second song? The power of a good melody is transcendent. I sang this in high school choir. I was never again in a choir that sang anything nearly as good again. And we were going through puberty.
  1. “Landed” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vPygzPSg8M (Ben Folds): This is for everyone who has gone though a change in their lives. Nominally, it’s about a guy who needs to be picked up at an airport. Bigger picture: He made a big change, flew back across the country and is reaching out for help. You’ve been there.
  1. “One Day Like This” http://youtu.be/OUUASDWrBdc (Elbow): Magnificent and devoted ode to the power of a single morning– a moment really, where a man celebrates “the now.” “Throw those curtains wide/One day like this a year will see me right.” It was recorded with the BBC orchestra and chorus.  And oh, those lyrics. “Kiss me like a final meal.” “When my face is chamois-creased.” If I made you a one-song mixtape, “One Day Like This” would be it.
  1. “Big Sky” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaDUFC8nigM (Kate Bush) The only ‘80s track on this side. And we’re going out huge here. This is an album that contains the directions “PLAY LOUD” and if this song isn’t on your exercise tape, you’re missing valuable heart rate potential.

 

SIDE TWO

  1. “Nowhere to Run” http://youtu.be/ABbc-O_3_Ac (Martha and the Vandellas) We ended side two uptempo and loud, so there’s no need to adjust the volume just yet. Note: The “Vandellas” are named in honor of Della Reese. So, something for you “Touched by an Angel” fans.
  1. “My Ride’s Here”  http://youtu.be/NRkcBcyB7v4 (Warren Zevon): “I was staying in the Marriott/ With Jesus and John Wayne.” You can find better Zevon songs, but I love this one. Zevon, dying of cancer at this point, puts out a peppy song about those he might meet soon. When asked in an interview if he had any advice for the young people, Zevon answered “Enjoy every sandwich.”
  1. “Tempted” http://youtu.be/7PmtS_qMdXg(Squeeze): This is the perfect pop song. This is the A+ of pop. It’s High Honors. It’s the essay your friend wrote, and pisses you off a little because you didn’t think to write it first. It tells a story, has a great hook and my gosh, that Hammond organ at the top. I’m biased because I’ve seen Squeeze more often than any other band. However this is not my favorite track of theirs. It just belongs here, in this context.
  1. “Little Bit O’ Soul”  http://youtu.be/bMIydy3Tyuw (Music Explosion): Should I ever take over this or any other country, “Little Bit O’ Soul” will be our national anthem. Listen to it and picture a stadium groovin’ to it.
  1. “Moonlight Serenade” http://youtu.be/VHBX0813MXc (Glenn Miller Orchestra): Nothing comes after “Moonlight Serenade.” It’s the end of the evening in a smoky room as the janitor sweeps the floor through the haze. One last couple slow dances while a few drunks are passed out at the bar. The room lights have come back on. The bartender drags a dirty rag across the tables. It’s the last song you hear before heading home. I’ll say it again: Nothing comes after “Moonlight Serende.”

That’s the mixtape I made for you. Wear it out.

For those of us who used to own shoe boxes full of these... this remains a symbol of starry-eyed love.

For those of us who used to own shoe boxes full of these… this remains a symbol of starry-eyed love.

Escaping Atlantis…

When you say you don’t prefer the Bahamas to Boston, you’re the asshole. Especially in January. But Bernie and I recently returned early from the Caribbean—choosing to weather Historic Juno (and now Laudable Linus) from the coziness of home rather than getting stuck in “paradise” for a few extra days. We never take proper vacations, my happily housebound husband and me. Rather, we go to Conferences where he attends Lectures and Meetings while I sleep late, order lots of room service, nap poolside, drink too much, and repeat. Grandma travels to Boston to watch the boys, and we’re deliciously childless for three to seven days at least four times a year.

Of all of them, this January conference is my favorite get-away. Though most people think plastic surgeons are obsessed with enhanced cleavage and perfect noses and a Magically Erased visage, that stuff is just meh for the ones I know. Bernie and his colleagues are reconstructive plastic surgeons who can re-attach severed parts, transplant new faces, re-create breasts from jiggly bits, fashion fully functional phalluses, and perform other feats of microsurgical wonderment because they are able to sew teeny tiny vessels together using only their steady hands and a microscope. The January conference coaxes all of these superstars to one warm locale where I entertain myself picking their brains… and pickling mine with supersize mojitos.

Skating around the outskirts of the plastic surgery world as The Wife, and then–quite drastically—plunging cancer first into the deep end as The Patient, I have a deep appreciation for these gifted surgeons. And usually, I am thrilled to reconnect with them at finer resorts everywhere. But this year, some waterslide-loving planner decided this meeting needed a family-friendly venue, so all of us headed for the Vegas-of-the-Caribbean, Atlantis. And Bernie and I just couldn’t stop… giggling.

There was loud, piped-in music everywhere. Insidious jingles invaded every public space and at any moment we’re belting out “I Swear” (All-4-One!) or “I’m Not a Girl” (Britney!) because it’s impossible to ever forget lyrics to these ridiculous, top 40 gems from yesteryear, and enthusiastic sing-alongs to terrible music, well, them’s the rules.

There were goofy photo opportunities around every bend. And there were many bends: we logged thousands of steps between our room and the actual conference, passing through a shopping mall and entire casino to get there. Those better parents who used the conference as an opportunity for family togetherness found that the lazy river had a mean streak, that children could actually get stuck inside the waterslide, that all kid activities shut down at cocktail hour, and that incessantly piped music will drive three-and-unders into a glassy eyed coma or Benadryl-resistant fury, depending on your luck.

There was a rather impressive aquarium lolling beneath the noise. And any weather that doesn’t include a “feels like” caveat is a bit nice this time of year. But my dear friend April, my beacon of preparedness, my travel-tip guru, my have-flight-tracker-phone-app gal texted early in our trip that if we didn’t get back ahead of Juno, we would get stuck listening to “I Swear” until Groundhog Day. So, we packed up our gauzy clothes, spent umpteen WiFi hours acquiring seats on the last plane to Boston, and pulled into our driveway during the first blush of the blizzard, happily housebound again with our boys, Grandma, drinks without novelty containers, and… silence.

We’re enjoying a third snow day this morning. Linus has turned the backyard into a violently shaken snow globe. Nearing noon, we’re still in jammies. The house is warm and safe and incredibly quiet. Plans for the day include baking, movies, and couch snuggling, or maybe nothing at all. Preferring a snowstorm to paradise probably makes me a jerk, might even be unbelievable… but I do. I Swear.

There are too many things I love about this photo.

There are too many things I love about this photo.