The Karma Chill is in Negative Digits

Driving in Snow

I’ve survived three commutes, so far, since the big snowstorm on Sunday dropped eight inches of the deceptively gorgeous white stuff upon us.  Even more is predicted tomorrow and I’m seriously thinking of quitting my job so I can stay home until Spring.

Except if I do, I’ll quickly be living in my car, which kind of negates the sense of safety I was going for.

It isn’t a long drive—eleven miles or so, depending on the route and whether or not I’m dropping kids off at school—but it has hills and valleys and treacherous snowpack in most of the spots that require turning or breaking or playing chicken with gravity. Plus there’s that mile-long bridge, currently coated with ice, right in the middle of it.

I can drive in snow and with one exception,* I’m not bad at it. I’m one of those slow and steady drivers who give themselves plenty of time so they won’t have to rush—and who send all those other drivers who assume they’re the only ones who know how to handle winter conditions (e.g., floor it like it ain’t happening) literally around the bend and sometimes into one of the ditches or retaining walls we grow along the sides of the roads around here.**

Snow CommuteBut that kind of focused attention takes a lot out of me. I save up all the stress and horror and road rage and impatience and let it go all at once after I’ve arrived at my destination,*** leaving me in an odd state of twitching lethargy and strident vocabulary overshare.

I’ve been told it’s amusing to watch—primarily by those who purport to love me—but while I’ll do a lot to make people smile, I’d rather wear a clown nose and burp Yankee Doodle Dandy, which at least has the advantage of embarrassing the kids.^

I’m nearly to the point where I’m crossing my fingers that Janie’s cold will worsen juuuuust enough to keep her out of school tomorrow, so I can stay home and take care of her without blowing any vacation days.

I’m sure she won’t mind supporting me in this endeavor.


(Yes, you do. Lying is beneath you.)


I wouldn’t worry. I’d jump aboard and make ’em drive me to work.



PSST: To further fuel my state of nerves, my stats are jumping today for no discernible reason. Normally, I’d be thrilled, but as no specific post is being singled out and no referring sites are listed, I’m forced to assume that either someone’s mouse is stuck or I’m under investigation for something for which ignorance is no excuse.

So if you could please make sure your computer is working properly, check my financial records to prove it’s not worth paying a process-server to deliver the subpoena, and/or just leave a comment to tell me why you dropped by, I’d appreciate it.

You don’t have to STOP, by the way; just let me know, please. I have a writer’s imagination and I’m already chanting ATTICA! ATTICA! under my breath.

Thank you!



*Our driveway. It’s a short slope and not very steep, but I can’t manage it in snow or ice without slipping, sliding, or spinning my wheels to the point that I smell burning rubber.

**As long as I’m alive to rack up the negative karma points, I’ll continue to rack ‘em up, five miles below the speed limit.

***Or halfway up my driveway to my destination, like last night. After three tries, I gave up, parked, stomped into the house and confessed my inability to get my car into the garage. My MIL and daughters looked at me in disbelief and told me my husband never has any trouble. I KNOW THAT. And I was grateful that he brought my car in when he arrived home—and secretly vindicated when I could hear him spinning my tires the whole time.

^Or one of them. Sunny is a great musical burping tutor (That sentence is grammatically correct no matter how you parse it, by the way).

Poetry Wednesday: The Cold Earth

ShelleyI don’t like Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Personally, I mean—his poetry is okay for the type (she says, grudgingly) but his life was a mess of his own making that spilled over into everyone else’s.  And he didn’t really seem to give enough of a damn about that.

You can call me a prude or provincial or whatever, if you like, but I’ve always felt that if you want to embrace free love, you really ought to make sure that the people you want to freely embrace  understand what freedom means to you before you snuggle up so they can decide what it will cost them, before anyone ends up in an asylum or wracked with guilt.

Or maybe that’s just me?*

Regardless, this is one of those times when I’m going to separate my feelings about the poet from my feelings about a poem, because Shelley wrote one that absolutely nails my feelings about winter, which are edging into the sociopathic.

In fact, I hate winter so much that I’m only offering one poem today, as in half an hour from the scheduling of this post, I will be driving my kids through the remains of last night’s storm, which didn’t leave enough behind to justify staying home, but did put a nice, glossy coating of ice on the streets.

I’m at the point where the only good thing about winter is its poetry (she says, grudgingly).

Cold Earth

Well done, Mr. Shelley.

You putz.


*It isn’t.  I told my MIL at breakfast this morning that I was doing an unflattering bit on him, and she said, “Oh, yes, he was a jerk. And selfish.”  Then she smiled and said, “Isn’t it nice to know that for all his fuss and nonsense, his wife is more famous than he is?”  Yes, ma’am.

Poetry Wednesday: A Loosely Lying Counterargument to Boreas Bites

A few hours after I posted last week’s poetic rant about the awfulness of winter, I received an e-mail from someone I count as one of my dearest friends, even though she adores everything about this miserable, nasty, icy, wet, frigid, virus-ridden, snowy season.*

The message contained a poem, followed by two words:  “So there.”

I have to admit, Robert Bridges makes a compelling, lyrical defense. I’d expect no less from a Poet Laureate of England and co-founder of the Society for Pure English.

Argumentative bunch, them, but eloquent.

London Snow
(Robert Bridges)

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;450px-Snow_in_Birmingham,_England,_5_January_2009
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled—marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
‘O look at the trees!’ they cried, ‘O look at the trees!’
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,800px-Snow_in_Neasden,_London_3  
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.

All right, Vannie . . . I’ll think about it.


*And also encourages her small son to call me “Aunt Weenie”, for certain reasons I don’t care to discuss at the moment— they’re archived around here, someplace, if  anyone cares to go hunting—and also because there are three thousand miles of ocean between us, so she thinks she’s safe.  Thank heavens the boy has a (brilliant) mind of his own; he calls me “Auntie Sa’merica,” instead.

Image “Snow Day” courtesy of David Davies

Image “Snow in Neasden. London,” courtesy of Billy Hicks