Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Lion In Winter

An old year ends a new one begins. Resolutions are generally not part of my new year adjenda. There are thoughts I turn over in my head and I make jokes about what I want from the coming year, but I really play it all by ear. One day at a time. Life seems much easier to take thought of tiny increments like that. I don't fly by the seat of my pants exactly. I think of it more as allowing lots of leaway for things to turn upside down and sideways. Upside down and sideways while wearing kitten heels is what life tends to feel like for me most of the time. The hardest part of these first January days will be facing putting the decorations away. I find that so depressing.

What is there really for me to talk about but SNOW? It is consuming my life. We've made the world news. Blizzards. Cabin fever. Stir crazy. Am currently living through the aftermath of the third storm in as many weeks. Those in the know say there is another massive storm brewing on the horizon and all indications are that it will be a blizzard equal to our Christmas one.

It's all my fault. I was the one who complained about living in the rocky mountains, and whined about not liking snow. I apologise Colorado. I sent out bad karma and got it back 100 fold. Days before Christmas, with Mike away in Baltimore, karma blew in 32 inches with drifts 5 feet high. DIA closed and for a while there I didn't think we would all be together for Christmas. When the driveway drift began to reach the 2 foot mark I tried to fire up the snowblower. At the 4 foot mark I asked the neighbors for help. They refused. Yes, refused. I live in yuppie hell where the activity of choice during a blizzard it to drive ones 4-wheel drive car up and down the streets behind wrap around sunglasses because we can. If we pass someone who is driving too slow, stranded, or even snowblowing too close to the street, we blare our horn and give a universal hand gesture, (and it isn't the peace sign).

I got stuck 6 times in one week. Four of those in just the return trip from the grocery store and all within blocks of my house. Twice in front of my own driveway. I refuse to give in. I will not buy a 4-wheel drive, I will not put that strain on the environment, the roads, the oil reserves, the artic circle or my gas card. To add insult to injury vandals attacked our yard decorations and butchered our baby polar bear. His legs were torn from his body, his electrical entrails strewn across the lawn and his body mounted on top of the light up seal.

I have a sense of humor. I can take a joke. You could make my reindeer anatomically correct and I'd laugh. The thought of seals and polar bears engaged in unnatural sex acts in Highlands Ranch is funny right up until you destroyed the display in the process. My quadroplegic amputee baby bear laid in state in the garage waiting for trash pickup, his bright beady black eyes staring at me every time I went out to shovel. Bastards.

The really scary part was the echoingly empty grocery stores. Empty of everything but people. There were potatoes, some spoiled organic broccoli, 2 bags of spring salad mix (which I snarfed). Apples of every color, and kiwi fruit, but not a carrot or lettuce or celery or onion. The meat department consisted of five hams. The dairy department was stark, white and empty. The pillsbury dough boy stood guard over a cooler empty of premade cookie dough, piecrust or biscuits, giggling as people passed by. I seriously thought women would come to blows over the last bag of chocolate chips. Crowds were gathered around the empty pegs where the preshredded cheese normally hangs. Husbands on cellphones talked to stressed out wives.

"Hon, there isn't any shredded marble jack cheese. No,there isn't any regular cheddar either. Nope, no sharp, mild, colby or monteray jack."

Meanwhile, right in front of their faces were several remaining solid bricks of cheese. Humans have apparently lost the ability to shred their own cheese. I grabbed several cheddars turned and ran before the crowd caught on. On the dairy isle one woman resorted to using her feminine wiles on the stockboy

"Eggs, there aren't any eggs? You must have more in back somewhere. "

"I'm sorry, but we are out of eggs."

"Couldn't you check? Surely if you look hard you could find some just for me"

"No, I'm sorry, but I can't even find any just for you."

Meanwhile, the cooler behind her was littered with open egg cartons, each containing one or two broken eggs. A full dozen just flick of the wrist away. It was night of the living dead in the meat department. "Chicken, there is no chicken," moaned the zombies. No, there aren't any breasts, thighs, or drumsticks, but there are WHOLE CHICKENS. That is how they all began, whole. They don't come off the ranch as little dancing hot wings or boneless skinless breast tenderloins. Have knife, cut chicken.

Zombies were also pacing the coffee isle. "What will I do without ground coffee? "

(Was aquite amazed that this creature even existed as I thought everyone had forgotten how to make their own coffee in general as they all seem to live at Starbucks) There were however bins and bags of whole coffee beans and the in store grinder...Yes, it was scary that stores were that empty, but it was even more frightening to find people so helpless and stupid.

If the stores could be wiped out this badly by a two day blizzard what if it were a week? What if that influenza pandemic really happens? Add to list of things to stock for possible disaster; large baseball bat, pitchfork, possibly even rifle and bullets. May need to fend off yuppies from my velveeta cheese and pasta stash... Might be robbed for my coffee grinder. Could I be held ransom and be forced to cut up chicken?

Mike talked me through the snowblower startup via the phone and I managed to get most of the front dug out before I ran out of gas, arms and shoulders. DIA opened late December 22, and Mike finally got home from Baltimore. Having stopped incoming flights, the airport was desparately in need of planes on their end to get people out. He was on one of the few flights allowed in. All together for Christmas. Safe and home.

Mike began shoveling. It was like an archeological dig. He discovered the missing half to the driveway. He was also able to free the trashcans and shovel out some area for the poor dogs. We found two reindeer and a evergreen tree, a momma polar bear mourning her lost cub and a seal. The weather reports were already predicting another storm, equal in intensity to hit at the end of Christmas week. County plows had cleared all the major streets by the 23rd. Mike got out of the neighborhood to pick up our party trays and prime rib we'd ordered. He worked the Bronco game on Christmas Eve.

The second storm hit and gave us another 10 inches of snow to put somewhere. Our streets are like bombed out trenches of frozen wheel ruts. The sidewalk to the mailboxes will not be unearthed until spring. The dogs have given up hope of ever seeing the lawn again. The wind blew the snow back in as soon as paths were opened.

In between shoveling, we did alot of reading, watched alot of movies and took long naps.
New Years came and went. Cars and trucks are still stranded on highways, cattle are starving to death on the plains, and the grocery stores can't stock the shelves fast enough. Another storm hit January 5th. Another 6 inches of snow. Snow is now a four letter word in our house.

Mike flew out to Portland on Sunday after shoveling us out, gasing the car and snowblower and crossing his fingers he gets home before the next storm due in this Friday.

Here's to a early spring, and long hot summer, and an Indian Summer of golden sun and blue skies.


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