Fire and Ice

The past ten days have been a week, y’all.

Let me give it to you in numbers:

1 dose of Covid vaccine

1 Covid test

1 dead car battery

A diagnosis of 3 likely sleep disorders

1 referral to a sleep specialist

4 laxative pills and 2 jugs of Gatorade and 1 bottle of Miralax

1 binge-watch of the entire first season of Imposters, in 1 (literal) sitting

1 colonoscopy

1 power outage

1 power restoration

1 power surge

3 loud noises from 3 different major appliances, simultaneously

1 more power outage

2 phone calls to the power company and 1 honest service rep telling me that because my snapped wire affects only me, it will be days before it is repaired (because there has been nearly 300,000 people without power)

3 (and counting) nights away from home

2 days of school closure (reminding us all that while our schools might be in distance learning, they have been, in fact, “open”–and if you don’t believe me, read the comments on the district’s FB page from those angry about the closure)

4 (of 9) school buildings in my district closed to staff for the rest of the week because of storm damage

0 devices at my disposal capable of supporting a Zoom call

<24 hours before I need to work again

After the power went out again, and I packed my suitcase for a second time to go stay at Cane’s place, and my school district announced its closure for the next day I found myself feeling what seemed to be unreasonably fragile and angry: I had heat, water, electricity, a warm bed, and no expectation to work the following day. I was better off than many of my fellow Oregonians—not to mention my Midwest friends dealing with sub-zero temperatures and, I guess, the entire population of Texas. (How does one manage with freezing temps, no power, no water, and frozen sewage pipes?)

And still, teetering on the edge I was.

It’s all just been so much, hasn’t it?

I have a “normal” post in my drafts folder, almost ready to share with you. “Normal” means on a topic that has nothing to do with climate change, freak and life-threatening weather, political insurrection, contested elections, wildfires and toxic air quality, or pandemic. It just doesn’t feel like the right time for normal, though. Maybe by the weekend, or next week.

So, this is just a check in from the dumpster-fire of the past week (year?). By the numbers. (We all like to be data-driven now, right?)

Things aren’t good, but they are good enough. Somewhere in the midst of power going off and on and off again–maybe on the day that ice rained from trees and power lines like gemstone bullets, trapping us on one side of our windows–the hyacinths on my kitchen table silently stretched into full bloom.

Stay safe out there.

16 thoughts on “Fire and Ice

  1. Kate says:

    Your week sounds terrible but those hyacinths and that ice sure do look pretty (even if it is dangerous).

    It has been a week/month/year that’s for sure.

    Congrats on your first dose. I love hearing from more and more people that they are vaccinated and can’t wait until it’s my turn. I was sad to hear today that they are pushing back the likelihood of the general public being able to get them before June. I was hoping for April/May with all my might. I still am

    • Rita says:

      Oh, Kate. I am hoping with all my might for that, too. I feel guilty about being able to get vaccinated so early. (At the same time, if we are going to go back to school buildings, I sure want to be vaccinated. So many ethical/moral dilemmas in all of this.)

      It was a crummy week, but I keep reminding myself that it could be so much worse, and is for so many other people. Still, I’m feeling a little worn out.

      The ice was beautiful, and when it began to melt there was the most amazing half-hour or so when it all began to fall from the trees and power lines. You could’t go out. It made the most amazing noise. We just stood at the windows and watched, mesmerized by the show.

      • Kate says:

        I just want to say to you that you should not for one second feel guilty at having access to the vaccine. I wish that every single person who was given the opportunity would take it. I appreciate the concern about equity in access and I’m glad I’m not the one making the decisions as to who gets it when, but I am SO grateful for all of the people who are getting it when given access and moving us that much closer to an end of the pandemic.

        And yes, it could be worse. It could always be worse. But it doesn’t stop from any of it being hard or negate the exhaustion that comes with it. Hugs!!

        • Rita says:

          Thanks, Kate. I appreciate those words. I did the mental calculus and decided that it was better to get it than not. The sooner we all have it, the better for all of us. My refusing it would not get it to others who might have more need any more quickly.

        • TD says:

          I second what Kate says here! And it’s great that you were able to make it to all your health appointments! I’m very happy for you about that. I suppose now it’s just trying to determine what we help you sleep and feel wellness. And I’m certainly glad to know that you have someone that you are close to that will allow you to stay at his home. That is a saving grace to have that kindness of support!

          • Rita says:

            Thanks, TD. I’m very grateful for my access to health care, even though it was all a little much last week. Also very grateful to have a place with heat and power this week.

  2. Kari Wagner Hoban says:

    Oh, Rita.
    Those hyacinths, though? I do not know how to “do” bulbs. Bulbs scare me a bit, so you are a badass in my book. For many reasons, but especially because you have those blooming on your table.

    Sending you heat, love, less ice, and hopefully a much less eventful week.

    • Rita says:

      The hyacinths are a little prayer, aren’t they?

      I can take no credit for their glory. I bought them at the grocery store, in that container. I put the container on my kitchen table, in front of windows. All I have done is make sure the water in the container stays at the level recommended on the label it came with. Best $9 I’ve spent all month.

      Sending love back to you, who are badass because you live with snow all the time. Among other reasons.

  3. TD says:

    “I guess, the entire population of Texas. (How does one manage with freezing temps, no power, no water, and frozen sewage pipes?)”.

    Answer from this coastal bend south Texas: One does not manage!!

    The list is too long to type of the we don’t have… and most don’t either!! Nothing beautiful about here and more damage is yet to come.

    To keep my sanity, Yorkie and I are pretending to be on an South Pole Camping Adventure until busted water pipes have people resources and supply resources and warmer temperatures to where anyone can assist if they are willing. Work needed are being overwhelmed by phone calls to assist repair. Grocery store shelf’s are empty and no delivery services are in action. Boiling water is required if you have running water and power, electric (mine) there’s been none for 4 days and are on a rotation of rationing and gas power is in short demand with prices rising ( I don’t have a gas home.) So, I will save you on the graphic details of no usable toilets or proper hygiene bathing!!!

    Survival mode.

    • Rita says:

      Oh, TD–I am so sorry! I hope I did not sound flippant; from the little bit of trouble I had on Saturday, it was a genuine wondering on my part. I was having a hard enough time with no heat. I had assumed I could walk to the grocery store for more food, but the store I can walk to was also out of power. I’m so sorry that all of you are suffering as you are. I hope you are able to stay safe. Please let us know how you’re doing in the coming days.

      • TD says:

        You didn’t sound flippant, Rita. And I will keep in touch with how I’m doing. I took out my binoculars to watch the birds out my window wrapped up in my bed just to take my mind off my current problems. Another hard freeze tonight which will be a breaking record in 58 years. It’s unbelievable!!! And always enjoy what is going on with you! The flowers were very pretty. A gift.

        • Rita says:

          Just wanted to say that I hope you are managing. So worried about everyone in Texas impacted by this storm and lack of ethical management of resources.

          • TD says:

            Yorkie and I are safe and adapting once again to the situation at the moment from Mother Nature which truly no human’s or resources control. Today the sun came out so I visited with street neighbors from a distance speaking with one another across the street and in the street. Most of us have broken pipes, a few have running water and some have gas and generators. It was great to have the sun warm our faces while we shared our individual story. We could all agree it’s a mess and will be weeks or months before plumbing pipe are able to be repaired as supplies are no where here and work people have long wait lists and it all has to dry before it’s safe to go underneath our pier and beam houses. And of course there’s no groceries or bottled water to be found. Our major grocery is no longer doing delivery or Curbside until possibly March 1.
            I’m just camping inside my cottage and conserving and trying to keep my indoor homemade Latrine sanitized. And those in apartments or condos with shared walls and ceiling with those pipe issues is even worse.
            Yorkie and I will stay in our home at least we have electricity power now. I’m grateful that the pipe breaks are underneath my home, yet insurance doesn’t cover those pipe (of course!).
            My spirit is well today and I am being mindful about getting extra rest because the mental exhaustion of it all wears down my body.
            Polar Vortex is what the meteorologists are saying is the cause which happens every decade. Interesting to note.
            It’s rough all over the US right now!!

          • Rita says:

            Thank you for the update. I am so glad you have power, but that all sounds overwhelming and exhausting. I’m glad you are able to get what you need. I know it’s rough in many places, but what you’re describing is some next level of rough.

    • Rita says:

      Seeing concrete evidence that blooming can happen in the midst of winter freeze is a gift, and I appreciated it. I would appreciate it more if I were actually back in my house, where I could have the reminder in front of me. But, yes.

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