Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NO LIMBS IN MY DRIVEWAY

Thanks for blocking the street yet again, you dumbasses.

Last time it was a lady in a van trying to get her kid to a dance class, so she ran the gates at the train crossing and got hit by the Downeaster (which does NOT stop at that station, FYI).  Nobody was hurt except her brain cells.  Wait: To cut in front of a speeding train, you don't have any brain cells.

This time it appears that a car's driver did one of three possible stupid things at the train crossing:

1. tried to run the gates in front of the commuter train;

2. parked too close to the tracks when picking up pizza at the restaurant;

3. drove down the tracks thinking it was a street (happened a few miles away a couple of years ago, so not outside the realm of probability).

Either way, there is a car facing Boston on the train tracks, heading southbound with a giant commuter rail train stuck to its ass-end, and both are stopped on the tracks about 100 yards from the actual road crossing.  SOMEBODY fucked up, and I'm willing to bet it has not been the train.

The worst part about the debacle is waiting hours on end for the road to re-open.  The best part about it is waiting for the Three Stooges to decide whose jurisdiction the crash scene actually is: local police (it's our town), Amtrak (they own the railway), or the MBTA (owners of the train involved).  Oh, and don't forget about the state inspectors who have to assess the damage.

I figure if the police are laughing, no one is seriously hurt.  I also figure since the car's gas tank didn't explode, I won't be poohing my drawers any time soon from the sudden boom and ensuing fireball.

Either way, someone fucked up big time, and the media will have a field day with it. Why shouldn't they?  Dumbasses are funny (as long as their limbs aren't in my driveway).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BALANCING CAP

Sometimes the littlest and silliest things can make my day feel so much better.

I don't sleep well the night before for some reason.  I fall asleep just fine, wake up twenty minutes later, then toss and fuss for a long time, finally getting almost five hours ... if even ... of shut-eye.  When I awake this morning, the alarm wakes me from a nightmare about the upcoming Patriots' game, and I am discombobulated and exhausted.

I have an errand to run before work, and it's chilly and icy out following a wet snowfall.  I am trying to get myself out of the house and across the train tracks before the commuter rail backs up traffic at the crossing, and I have to try and beat coworkers to the copy machine now that it is fixed after days on the blink.  I'm rushing, rushing, rushing, and I'm feeling out of sorts.

I pack up my work, pack up my lunch, pack up the stuff I have to drop at the post office, and pack up by back-pack.  Only thing left to do is make my iced coffee (yes, here in New England, iced coffee is a daily necessity, regardless of outdoor temperatures).  I grab my travel mug, add a little sugar, open the coffee container, and clumsily put the cap from the container on the counter.

The cap has landed perfectly on its side and is balancing.

Now, I know in my logical brain that the cap is plenty big enough to balance had I actually purposefully placed it that way, but this is not the reality.  The reality is I let the cap fly sideways so I could continue on my mad rush out the door.

I glance at the cap then stare at it for a few moments.  This is fabulous, to be honest.  I think it's wildly entertaining that the cap just happens to flip away from my hand and land in a way it never has before: impressively on  end.

For some reason, I find this incredibly calming.  Suddenly, my harried morning is a little less harried.  Yup, the cap flip is just what I need to refocus my attention and center my attitude.  I am reminded to take time for the little things, like the unintentional perfect flip of a coffee container cap, because sometimes all it takes is the silliest, littlest thing to make a day that much better.

Monday, December 11, 2017

SNOW - SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Remember this post when we get to the end of the winter.  I will be eating my words.

Today there is snow on the ground, on the fences, and clinging to the trees.  Everything is finally starting to look like Christmas.  The lights on homes and on trees look amazingly festive with the addition of snow. 

The whole world seems clean and fresh when the snow first falls. It has been a silent snowfall.  The flakes fall quietly, and the wind stays completely
still.  It is the kind of snowfall that makes everything seem muted and silent and wonderful. 

In the morning we discover that it is a semi-decent storm -- about six inches of snow -- but also a wet storm.  The snow is heavy and chunks together.  This makes for tough shoveling, but it also makes for great snowballs and snowmen.  The sun is shining brightly the day after the snow storm, and the temperatures reach into the 40's, making shoveling fun but sweaty business.

In the end, though, all the town is fresh and beautiful; I know because I take a little drive around to do errands and to see the white wonderland.   

Wonderland

Yes, throw that back in my face next spring when I am complaining about yet another storm because it seems that we are entering that pattern.  Snow Saturday, snow due Tuesday, possibly snow again next weekend... I don't think we'll hit another winter of 110" of snow, but every few days will do wonders for my muscles.

Bring it on, Mother Nature.  I have shovels and icy-melt and a whole stock of gloves and hats and scarves and coats and down vests and boots.  Show me what you've got and I'll do the same.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

SNOWING!

It's snowing!  Snowing, snowing, snowing, snowing, snowing!

So easy to get into the Christmas spirit once it snows.  I have been online shopping, wrapping stuff I already have, and getting myself organized -- all because it's snowing.  I might even tackle some of the cards tonight.

There's something about the first snow that is invigorating.  Also, it's a quiet, gentle snow, the kind of storm that isn't a storm; it's more like a sprinkling.  Sure, sure; I'll have to shovel it tomorrow.  It shouldn't be too bad.  I think they're predicting about six inches of snow, and that's totally manageable.

Ask me again in March or April, though.  I doubt I'll be as chipper and excited about wonderful, marvelous snow then.  I'll probably be calling it "that white shit" by next spring.

In the meantime: It's snowing! Snowing, snowing, snowing, snowing, snowing!  And I am totally psyched about the whole thing.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WINE DOWN!

My daughter, our friend, and I enjoy an evening of games and fun, and we cap it off with a rousing round of one of the Twelve Drinking Games of Christmas.  It involves dice and glasses of wine.

We are all generally rule followers.  This is easily proven by our chosen professions: teacher, nurse, physical therapist.  Yup, if we don't follow rules, someone will get hurt ... or worse.  However, this does not prevent us from enhancing the rules to our own benefit.  For example, the game requires that if you roll a "1" on the die, you get to sip your wine.  If you roll a "6" on the die, you tell someone else to take a sip.  Well, the rule for #1 sounds reasonable, but the rule for #6 just sounds harsh, so we change it to "Everyone drinks" when #6 is rolled.

Everything is going fine, and we are pacing ourselves because we are all tired and we all have to work in the morning.  Of course, for some reason, we are ridiculously uncoordinated when we are sober (or relatively sober).  It's when silly things happen, like my daughter missing the step at the curb and spraining her ankle, or me cutting a finger with sharp tweezers while trying to fit my phone case onto my cell phone.

We are also rather uncoordinated people.  Recently my daughter baked some amazing chicken in the oven ... only to drop the cooking tray on the floor and lose the meal to the trash.  I have actually broken a toe with an ice cube when I jettisoned it out of the cube tray and it flew up into the air, arcing down at an angle and landing just right so as to not only crack the bone, but it broke the skin, as well.

So, it really should come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that somewhere in the midst of playing drinking games while still on the sober side of the spectrum, my daughter knocks over her entire glass of wine.  The wine spews across the table, just missing the board game we have set up but not missing at all the Advent wreath in the center of it all.

We move quickly.  My daughter rights the glass and saves some of her wine, our friend jumps and moves the board game away from the trickling mess, and I grab my phone to take a picture while announcing loudly, "Wine down!  WINE DOWN!!!!!" 

A few giggles and paper towels later, we are back in business.  All in all, it is a successful evening despite the loss of an ounce or so of red wine.

Friday, December 8, 2017

RECIPE FOR FUN

A recipe for fun:

Three overworked, underpaid women
Homemade meatball subs
A bottle of red wine
Room full of board games and card games


1.  Gather a few women who, like you, are overworked and underpaid.

2.  Cook a whole shitload of meatballs, add to sauce, then make subs.

3.  Open (at least) one bottle of red wine.

4.  Have access to a bunch of old board games and card games.

5.  Allow someone to wistfully remark, "I used to play Mall Madness."

6.  Open the large hassock in the den to reveal the game box containing Mall Madness.

7.  Play the game until your sides hurt from laughing so hard.

Repeat often and as necessary.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

POEM FOR PEARL HARBOR

It's National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Not many people left who recall
The Attack
firsthand, though I try to imagine what
it must've been like for my widowed
grandmother raising three children
alone in a time of
great anxiety and insurmountable fear.

We swore we would never forget,

words repeated again and again and again --
dropping not one but two
Atom Bombs
on a foreign nation gorged with hubris;
tangling in wars where we've no business other than
Containment;
watching planes fly into buildings for want of 
nonexistent virgins bathed in the blood of hate.

When on a December morning
what a sound that must've been:
Enraged Bees of Battle gaining momentum,
a tsunami of death and destruction.


Young men of the day
scrambling to save a nation
to keep our spaces safe
have given way to
genderless whining
for safe spaces.

We have forgotten,
though we  swore
we never would.