Jan 2, 2018
Everything looks different in the new year, after the Christmas blur, after a week off, after some vitamin D c/o the Florida sun, after a snowfall brightens the world. The little house now has a foundation plus the beginnings of framing. Flooring joists are in place; the guys might come tomorrow if the temps rise above 15 degrees. Me, I am stranded at home. Our 2005 diesel Jetta died as I was driving it to my gig at First Night on Sunday. It’s in the shop, waiting in line to be examined. This morning, the van wouldn’t start. The lights went on, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. I let it sit, tried again. I had to go to the bank, so I called AAA; they were busy. I set out on foot and called my sister/neighbor Katryna who cheerfully offered to chauffeur me about and also try to jump start it. But I was happy walking for a time; 10 degrees feels practically balmy these days. I made it to the bank, did my errands, walked home and Katryna came over with her cables. We assiduously followed the directions (mostly) (she wanted to attach the last cable to the negative terminal on my battery!) (we didn’t). Nothing worked. AAA still had a busy signal. Finally at 5pm, AAA answered, though I was on hold for 20 minutes. They said, “We’re so sorry, but we’re only helping people who are stranded by the side of the road. Call us tomorrow.”
The measure of my privilege is that this is not even an irritation. My husband and kids are healthy and hearty and insist on biking anyway, even in this cold. I have my sister nearby. I have nice friends who offered to drive me places. I have the money for AAA, so even though they can’t help me now, I know they could, eventually. I can afford to live within walking distance of town. I have enough food in the house to keep us for another day. So. Big deal. An opportunity to be in my messy house and set some order to it. To snuggle with my sweet dog, who came into our lives just one year ago this week.
Here’s what I did the last few weeks of December when I wasn’t blogging:
-Finished two drafts of my novel, got comments from 5 readers, sent it to agent. !!!!!!
-Did a bunch o cool concerts, including a Christmas show CD release party, an interfaith service at B’Nai Israel, 3 shows at First Night, and on Christmas eve I got to sing “Jesus Was a Refugee” at my West Cummington Church. And guess who was in the second pew? Rachel Maddow!
-Did Christmas. ‘Nuff said.
-Traveled to Florida and hung with my family. Watched the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Twice. Celebrated my dad’s birthday, and my mom’s. Thought about how fragile and beautiful a family system is. Fell blissfully asleep in a dune shack while my husband romped like a golden retriever in the waves. Read my new Beatles bio, Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Year by Steve Turner. Did Byron Katie’s The Work. (My family didn’t know, but if they did, they would thank her.) Walked over a mile to get Starbucks. Almost kissed the barista’s hand when he gave me my cup after an unintended coffee fast rendered me semi-insane. Sat around a fire pit under an almost full moon. Did no work at all.
Also did not sleep, though. I don’t know exactly why. I foolishly gave away my copy of my friend Tzivia Gover’s new book A Good Night’s Sleep.
The sleep disorder continues. I woke last night to the full moon, the end of a blue moon. My silly floppy puppy stretches out his little blond curly body across my legs. My heart races. I think of all the things I haven’t done, all the people I made promises to. My friend Jane says she knows a man of God who, when he goes to bed, he thinks, “I just can’t keep all the promises I have made to people.” When he wakes up, he thinks, “I haven’t made enough promises!”
Tom had this big electrical thing–it’s official name is The Chargeamagizmo––that he used to use when he had a truck whose battery couldn’t hold much charge. He hooked it up to the van, and now it starts!
Doped up on my newfound wheels, I filled the back of the van with Christmas recycling, which was legion. For the first time since last year, I drove my daughter to school. (She’d biked on Tuesday, when it was -5. That learnt her.) On my way back, on this crisp sunny morning, I unloaded the recycling at the transfer station. About halfway through the job, I noticed that my fingertips, exposed, as I wore fingerless gloves, were screaming at me. The pain was so intense from the cold, that I feared I was doing irreparable damage. I finished unloading my cardboard and empty almond milk containers and hurried home, where I ran lukewarm water over my hands for five minutes.
What about the people who don’t have the luxury of doing this? Who have to work in the cold to make enough to have a home, have hot water, have recycling?
The temps went up to the mid-twenties, and the guys came back and laid flooring for Little Blue. I went to Sears and chose a dishwasher, went to Benjamin Moore and chose paint colors––blacks and blues. We want it to look like this:
Complete with small dogs.
The world is transformed, again and again. I walked into town at 7:30am, and it had just started snowing. An hour later, the roads were white. Now I am watching it from my kitchen–it’s covering the new floor boards of Little Blue. As soon as the snow storm is over. I will trade in the books my children rejected as Christmas presents (all chosen by me) for a copy of A Good Night’s Sleep. I will trade in all my cups of Starbucks for a good night’s sleep.