Wednesday, February 27, 2013
When we moved to Maine almost 10 years ago, one of the people we met very early on was Vick, the owner of the local hardware store. I think I have blogged about him before. The very first time we went in, we introduced ourselves. A few days later I was back to pick up something... a shower curtain liner, a trash can, some cleaning supplies, birdseed, or such. As I walked in Vick greeted me, "Hi Daryl!" Moving from a large city where I was virtually anonymous, this friendly shout out resonated so deeply to me that I never enter the store without remembering how good it felt to be recognized, warmly, in a strange new place. As the years have passed Vick and his totally adorable, talented, fun and charming wife Shanie have grown to be lovely anchors to our lives here. Going to their store is always a treat, and if they don't have what we need they can order it for us. (This photo is one of them I found when I Googled their store.) Tonight after work I had a splurge appointment. I went for a manicure and pedicure. When I came out of my hour and half long appointment there was an inch of fresh snow on the ground. Wet, heavy snow. Slippery snow. This didn't excite me, because the pick up truck I drive is HORRIBLE in the snow. I drove slowly, carefully towards home. All was well until I reached the first big hill, and then I was fishtailing all over the road. It was a white knuckled drive, every hill scarier than the last. I knew there were several bigger, more frightening hills between me and home. I told myself, "If I get to the hardware store and their gate is open, I am going to stop there." Normally they fasten gates at the end of their driveway at closing time, and I was about an hour past then. Through the falling snow I could see... wide open, welcoming gates. I skidded into their driveway and parked, heart pounding. I knocked on the locked door, and they let me in, welcoming more warmly than I deserved, showing up after hours. I explained my plight. They offered to drive me home. I explained that my husband would be along in moments, but asked if I could leave my truck there until the roads were plowed. "Of course!" they said, as if it was no trouble at all. I helped unpack boxes while I waited for my sweetie to come get me. Shanie and I chatted happily. She made me feel as if I was not imposing in the slightest. So tonight, my truck is in their lot, and I am home and safe. It is warm here, the wood stove is blazing. But the warmth of the kindness of friends is better still.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The last of Flirt's puppies went to her new home yesterday, all fluffy and sweet and full of life and promise. All of the new owners were so excited to have these little dogs, it made it easier to hand them over, though we admit to feeling a little "blue!" I am happy to report that I enjoyed those puppies every bit as much as I could have. From their birth, to those first blind, helpless weeks, I loved watching them grow. It was a delight to see what a good mama Flirt was, and how strong and healthy the pups were. During the last days, when they were rollicking around the house, begging to be held and smothering me with kisses, I allowed myself to deeply feel just how delightful that was. In the past I have often been guilty of not letting myself enjoy the current moment. I tend to think the way things are right now is how things will remain forever, and I can enjoy things later. I wonder if this is because of my somewhat repressed New England upbringing? Sometimes I think I was taught to not feel happiness too keenly, because there was something wrong and decadent with too much enjoyment. As I get older I am trying to remind myself that being present in the here and now is important, and you never know what one, insignificant seeming second might reveal itself later to have been a real treasure. Here is an example. Beth, pictured at the right above, was my coworker for 6 fun years. She died very suddenly in November and we miss her every day. Not only was she very good at her job, but she possessed a sweet, even temperament that made her a delight to be with. And she was funny. She had a way of delivering a one-liner that often left us breathless with laughter. One day last fall she had taken a day off to go to an appointment. Our grooming shop has live cameras so customers can log in and see their pet being groomed. At some point during the day Beth had "spied" on us to see what we are up to. The next day, she told us she had been peeking in. In a very serious voice she said to the shop owner,(who is tall and slim and wears a size 4!) "Liz, don't you EVER sit with your back to the camera. Your butt looked ENORMOUS! It looked HUGE!" Liz was appropriately horrified to hear this. But we had a laugh about it then,and now that Beth is gone we repeat that moment over and over. That, tiny, insignificant sentence of hers, delivered with such passion, has helped us laugh as we grieve her. The puppies helped,too. And I am trying, every day, to enjoy all the small moments.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
During the worst of Saturday's blizzard Nemo, we realized that poor planning on our part had left the two hulking propane tanks by the garage empty. The thermometer read 9 degrees and the wind had a thousand voices as it screamed around this old house. We were not sure if "empty" meant that we had enough fuel to heat the place for an hour or a day, so we just shut the heat right off and put another log on the wood stove. This late in the season, the stacks of wood that hunker in the dark, cobwebby basement are low. My anxiety about all of this was high. For an additional $75.00 we could have had the nice man that drives the propane truck come out on Monday, but the thought of spending that extra galled us and we waited patiently for Wednesday when they normally service this rural route. I rinsed the dishes with cold water, boiled kettles on the stove for when I needed warm water, and jealously hoarded what fumes of gas were left for brief, yet blissful, morning showers. In some ways I was transported back in time to the way the woman who first lived here in 1907 must have lived. The wood stove kept us from freezing, but we were not exactly warm. And though all of this was fixable, living with the threat of cold came with a certain feeling of despair. So I did what I must and went directly out to purchase 11 fat Narcissus bulbs. I tucked them carefully into a pottery bowl and secured them with marble chips. The pale, ghostly sprouts greened up within hours of being exposed to the sun, and they are already shooting upwards. Soon they will bloom and the house will be filled with the scent of them. As promised, new fuel was delivered yesterday. I recklessly pushed the thermostat to 60 and reveled in the popping and creaking sounds of the radiators filling the rooms with warmth. My gloom lifted. I know that soon, winters back will be broken. Already the days are longer, and the chickadees are singing their springtime song as they flit from apple tree to bird feeder. The goats will kid and the snow and mud will yield to greening grass. Baby chicks will arrive in a peeping box, we'll plant a garden and it will be sweeter after the storm.