Portland, Oregon is sopping wet again, thank Goddess. For about an eternity we were at the mercy of what the local media called, Arctic Blast. Other places mock our meager accumulation, but if you live here you know that over a foot of snow in a city without snowplows is a very big deal indeed. Our furnace ran round the clock and barely kept us at toasty 64 degrees. Two space heaters helped do the job as did plastic sheets over the windows. We stopped using the front door. Snow gathered on the window sill of our bedroom. Inside! It sounds medieval, but believe it or not, we were amongst the lucky. It’s old and drafty, but we have a pretty decent house close to shops. Many people were without food and power for days. We were able to venture out for groceries we hauled on a make-shift sled. As friends touched base on the phone I kept hearing the same phrase over and over again… “This is what I hated about insert-city-here (Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Rochester, Newark, Burlington)!” Parents were on edge. Kids were in heaven. D was outside for hours on end with her backyard pal. Blocks of ice for feet, they’d stay indoors only long enough for a quick snack before heading back out again. Z had her limits. She’s more of a warm weather gal, bless her heart. But she too flung herself to the drifts each day in the name of snow angels. T loved it though I couldn’t bring him out for more than a minute having remembered what I hated most about Boston. Little D was just my speed, preferring to watch from under a blanket in the window. Had we not been forced into this unique no-escape situation my family may have avoided spending these last several hundred hours together. Sure, it was maddening, but much more than that it was wonderful. We made candles, bookmarks, cookies, cake, Christmas cards and gifts. We played games, movies, karaoke. Without the reprieve of school, work and other obligations, we were together like never before. We had only each other. And after a while, even as we continually bounced fussy babies on our laps while eating cold dinners, TC and I found ourselves laughing more than we had in a long, long time. We have one more week of vacation left and even with all this, I wish we had more time. Together.
Our street 12/23/08