Hey, all. Well, as one Pony Express rider remarked to another, it’s been way too long between posts.
A lot has happened, and almost nothing at all, but somehow I’ve accumulated enough material over the last few weeks for several posts. It’s just that all the actual living part keeps getting in the way.
It’s a weird life but it suits me; a little weird is good for the soul. I’d have a hard time accounting for how I’ve been spending my days once Kate and the girls depart for their respective schools each morning, but the door slams, the van crunches down the snowy drive, and I’m alone — almost — in this warm upstairs room of an otherwise chilly cottage, a pair of pesky woodpeckers tapping at the eaves just above the study window, and the lack of clear objectives is at once liberating and disquieting.
So I mess around with pictures and the odd word or two, tease the cat when I need a break…
..gently prise his incisors from my wrist, talk to the houseplants, cook all-too-occasionally, sweep the swathe of pre-schooler debris from the kitchen floor, walk a mile or 20 or some sane compromise between the two, do some shopping, nap, listen to music on the dozen-plus Pandora “radio” stations I’m nurturing, and — oh, so that’s where the days go.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty and tension regarding legalities, paperwork and procedures, but overall life is good — just weird.
Meanwhile, Winter. The house continues to extend its icy fangs…
..and two or three times (yesterday was the latest) the knee-high drifts of Christmas-card frosting smothering the yard have been supplemented from above:
Meanwhile I somehow adapted. The big surprise for me has been how tolerant I’ve become of the cold here upstate. After that initial brush with agony on anything longer than a 10-minute stroll, I somehow got my fingers to forget that they were supposed to be throbbing in distress and so drained of mobility that just doing up a zipper is torture.
Maybe it was all that walking. I got over the jetlag and dis-/reorientation and started exploring. It’s fun not knowing where the neighbouring streets lead (usually either Rt 9 or a dead-end), and I’ve been an ephemeral figure on most of them lately.
A few times I’ve made it the three-and-a-bit miles into the strip mall zone of Saratoga Springs via narrow, snow-lined roads…
..and I’ve also managed one real mountain hike and a couple of epic road-walks (one 20-miler), with my hands bare when I can stand it, and my camera batteries freaking out and flashing the “depleted” icon at me after a mere hour or two of well-below-zero fun.
Kate and I love our Friday nights after the kids are dropped at their dad’s, and our weekends of diner breakfasts, hanging out, Sunday-night dinners and as much time in the icy outdoors as we can stand. Bizarrely, it’s been Kate doing most of the whining about the cold of late! When I watch my fingers turn blueish-red it’s no longer through teary eyes. Anything down to minus 10 Celsius feels balmy so long as the wind isn’t too cruel.
True, sometimes we’re driven back into the warmth of car or cafe, as we were here at the Saratoga Performing Arts Centre parklands…
..but I’m increasingly feeling like a local.
Maybe it’s the beard, which is coming along nicely.
Meanwhile, the last of my boxes got here from Korea, one of them at a crucial time…
..and the tricky process of adjustment to a radically different home life after years of rambling and near-constant solitude has had its highs and lows but is working out:
What else? We love our embryonic study:
I bought a drill, lamps, cheap rugs, some kit-furniture (if you heard someone screaming blue murder one recent Saturday morning, it was just me attempting to put together a pair of supposedly easy-to-assemble Swedish chairs), and this post is coming from atop an item I’ve long coveted and absolutely love, my new stand-up desk:
I narrowly avoided death by chocolate on Kate’s favourite Hallmark Holiday, Valentine’s Day…
..and on a few joyous occasions the sun has come out and the walking has been truly delightful:
Twice, though, “winter storms” (as the weather stations call them) have closed businesses and schools, with chaotic consequences. On the first, the snow was banked up early on the skylight…
..and the poor Radio Flyer once more retreated to hibernation:
The kids donned snow gear for an hour or so of yard play. My version was shorter and more contemplative:
A friend with a borrowed snow plough — in this case Kate’s brother The Dude — is a friend indeed on such days…
..and I discovered the unexpected satisfaction of snow-shovelling, which felt like good exercise, up to a point:
But cabin fever set in around the time of the third or fourth toddler brawl, and I realised how damned thirsty all that shovelling had made me.
“Just going out for some beer, babe.”
“Alright, be care…”
But I was already gone, fighting through the snowbanks and swirling flakes…
..to the local gas station for a six-pack of Saranac, and trudging the half-mile back along pleasingly deserted roads…
..to a tranquil scene that I swear wasn’t staged for the camera:
We’ve had another official “snow day” since. More on that and my other adventures soon — promise — including further evidence of my assimilation into life as a Northerner:
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote