I suppose that it wouldn't be right if I didn't write about the massive amounts of snow that have inundated Boston this winter (truthfully, this month). Thanks to a number of winter storms, we've seen (and shoveled) over 90 inches of snow in 2015. As of this morning, our the snow pile that is our front yard is taller than I am, and we've officially replaced "snow shoveling" with "snow launching" to try to keep the driveway clear. I've learned a lot of new things as a result:
I now know that the icicles hanging from our roof that look like props from a Narnia movie are called ice dams, and that there's something called a ground blizzard, which is what happens when the wind whirls the powdery snow around, creating whiteout conditions. When one of these wind gusts picks up mid-shovel swing, Jim Croce pops into my head every single time: "You don't tug on superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind." That's all, just the one line. It goes great with a face full of flying snow.
I gave my coworkers a thrill on Friday when I showed them a picture of the great Blizzard of 1993 in Atlanta.
As English teachers, they couldn't help but comment on the vibrantly green grass, bare rooftops, and obvious connection to this scene from To Kill a Mockingbird:
Scout wakes and screams, "The world's endin' Atticus! Please do something!" pointing desperately at the white flakes falling outside of her window. School is cancelled, "'As it has not snowed in Maycomb County since 1885," and so Scout and Jem decide to build a snowman, even though Atticus tells them, "I doubt if there'll be enough snow for a snowball, even."
Scout and Jem proceed to walk from one house to another along their street, careful to walk in one another's footprints so that they don't waste what little snow they have to work with, and collect the snow from their neighbors' yards in a peach basket.
"When we had five baskets of earth and two baskets of snow, Jem said we were ready to begin. [...] Jem scooped up an armful of dirt, patted it into a mound on which he added another load, and another until he had constructed a torso."
Jem continues to mold the mudman into a shape (that looks oddly like their neighbor, Mr. Avery), adding arms and an extra large waistline. Then, "Jem scooped up some snow and began plastering it on. He permitted me to cover only the back, saving the public parts for himself. Gradually, Mr. Avery turned white."
Our snowman is 100% snow, but he did require just about all of the snow available in our front yard. When I told my coworkers that our "snow boots" consisted of tennis shoes covered in breadbags that were taped to our legs, they were astonished. Apparantly, they thought breadbag snowshoes were the stuff of urban legend.
I've been asked no fewer than a dozen times if I'm ready to flee back to Atlanta yet, but I'd like to think that I've weathered enough wintertime to prove myself. One day this week, I bundled up to leave work, donning my blue Columbia winter coat with a Therma-something liner, leather gloves lined with lamb's wool, and bulky snow boots pulled up over my dress pants, and my coworker chuckled, "If only your family in Atlanta could see you now." It's true, I've come a long way from breadbags and duck tape.
As for the rest of my week, I picked up my next books from the library, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe. On Saturday, Amar and I cooked two of our favorite restaurant dishes at home for Valentine's day: seared scallops with brown butter, cauliflower puree, and radicchio salad, and roasted rack of lamb with roasted potatoes. All in (including wine) we spent one third of what we had spent on previous Valentine's Day dinners, avoided the impossible nuisance of parking in Boston right now, and gained the pride of cooking something new and (to use a buzzword) "restaurant worthy" ourselves.
Coming up this week: It's a week of vacation time for me, and I'll be reading, relaxing, and getting ready for my sister to visit at the end of the week.