Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maybe a Flame Thrower Would Help

A week ago, we were basking in some of the warmest January weather I can ever remember. It was in the upper 30's in the morning and near 60 by 2 p.m. I didn't wear a coat home last week. I carried it. Look at that sky. Some day I'd like a dress that color. While my favorite color is royal blue, this comes close.

Then, the weathermen started raising their voices to announce, in dire tones, the arrival of winter. Snow was a'comin', ma, and you'd better git your collective selves to the groceteria and buy you some bread, milk and eggs, even if you didn't need them. You just don't know.

The night before the storm was gorgeous. I sat outside on the deck, savoring the smells and sights and sounds of a, well, what would one call this, pseudo-spring? It's certainly way beyond what we term 'Indian summer'. There was no breeze, which might have made it cooler than it was. Mija came out and sat next to me sniffing the air as much as I.

There is a wonderful pre-spring smell that the earth gives off in those rare 60 degree days in late March and early April. This wasn't it, but the air smelled clear and fresh and I wished it could be bottled to be let out inside my house when I've been shut inside for several days. It would say, "It's coming. Just be patient." For the record, Pilchard came out but she didn't linger. She sniffed and went back inside.

It started slowly snowing on Thursday mid-morning. With all the hype about how bad it was going to be, I was allowed to go home an hour early with the express admonition that I get into the office as soon as I could on Friday morning. "We're so busy, someone has to be here and you live the closest." Yeah, well, if we get a foot of snow, forget it. I have to shovel and I won't make it in.

Friday morning, I awoke to this. It was 4 and a half inches. I brushed off the car and drove in, not bothering with shoveling. Four and a half inches has to be shoveled at some point, but not immediately. I'd get to it when I got to it and I heard we were to get rain on Monday so most of this would melt anyway.

I didn't get to any shoveling until Sunday. It was a glorious winter's day on Sunday, with a bright sun melting a lot of the snow. I almost didn't shovel but it's not a good idea to leave all that snow on to melt on the deck. I need to scrub the desk top anyway and repaint it this coming summer.

It took me 2 hours to shovel off the deck, a path to the Jeep so I don't have to wear boots until March, the area around the mailbox, the front walk in front of the front steps and the step themselves. The sunshine of Sunday and Monday's light rain and sleet melted most of the snow, but that's all I could do before my hands hurt too badly to continue.

Of course, this bothers me. The snow was heavy to lift. I didn't have a good grasp of the shovel because it hurt. Several times, I had to talk myself out of just quitting. I'm not that much for prayer, for various reasons, but my simple entreaties are for lots of small dumpings, less than 4 inches each time. I will probably be reduced to tears if I have to maneuver anything more off decks and porches and steps and sidewalks.

This was a good time to practice gratitude. My hand hurt. My shoulders hurt. My hips hurt. Surprisingly, my knees did not. I sat on the edge of the tub after divesting myself of shoveling clothes and taking a shower. I am out of Ben Gay which has been a comfort, particularly to my shoulders. How would I face the winter? How would I get through this? How could I shovel more when what little I did caused so much pain?

In the medicine cabinet I have a tube of this. I started massaging small dollops into aching body parts all the while telling myself that I got outside, out where the air smelled of snow and the sunshine was warm on my face. It wasn't bad to have been outside. Having to go out and shovel got me out of the house. I need to stay as active as I can be or I will atrophy. I am grateful for having a house. I am grateful for being able to shovel. I am grateful for analgesic creme that helped ease the pain of arthritis.

It goes on my shoulders, hip, knees and wrists. I don't think I want it on my hands when I will be stitching. It says 'greaseless' but let's not even tempt fate on that. Come the end of the month, I'll get a large tube of Ben Gay but this has helped me feel less helpless and more that I can do things. I won't be mountain climbing any time soon, but I can shovel a few inches of frozen water.

But a flame thrower would be best. Yes, yes. A flame thrower.

Beverage:  Edinburgh's Finest tea


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