A photo a week throughout 2019: our family, just as we are. 7/52
I’ve been radio silent here, unable to make the posts happen on the schedule I had planned. Everything is going well, it just happens to be taking every extra ounce of energy and focus I have available to keep our household on the rails, get to the appointments (several a week just for me & baby), handle the daily things I must do to keep myself in a healthy zone (eating well at timed intervals, blood sugar values, injections for blood thinners and insulin, and charting all of the above), and the layers of needs among multiple children that never cease. While I’ve been publicly quiet, I have been privately capturing bits of the past few weeks I will slowly roll out to the blog–whenever they arrive. I have still been taking photos of our family each week, so look out for those in the coming days and weeks along with thoughts about the ups and downs of this recent season.
The snow has been gone a few weeks now, but it did leave its mark on all of us. At first, we had a few thrilling days; maybe six inches total, which everyone was excited about. The kids suited up in their odd and mismatched not-really-snow gear for a little time in the front yard. They made snowballs and snow angels before returning to the warm house ten minutes later, which is about how much time any one of them lasts in the cold. What can I say? We are used to mild weather. It was fun and games, smiles and glee.
Temperatures warmed enough to mostly melt the snow over the following few days, but news outlets kept reporting we might have another winter storm on the way, including predictions of record snowfall for our area. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. Having grown up in Central Oregon where all seasons are a bit more pronounced than Seattle’s ever-mild weather, the prospect of a few more inches of snow did not faze me at all.
“You might want to stock up on food,” the radio blared more than once that week. I hadn’t really planned on stocking up, as our normal weekly routine is to shop at Costco on Saturdays, and aside from running out of the ultra-convenient just-warm-it-up foods week by week, we have a fairly impressive running supply of staples that could get us through a longer stretch if needed even if I didn’t pick up a thing.
On a Thursday, I went to a morning OB appointment after sending all the kids with Daddy to school for their art, language, and engineering classes they do twice a week. The preschoolers went along with them for the morning and I came to pick them up a while later after the OB visit. The appointment went mostly fine, but I did end up with an insulin prescription I needed to fill at the Costco pharmacy, after discussing the baby’s current development and how I’d been faring with my blood sugar readings. I opted out of the oral drug I was offered to control blood sugars because the doctor said while it is considered safe in pregnancy, it does cross the placenta, and they do not actually have long-term studies regarding how it affects babies beyond birth. That was enough to convince me that insulin injections were the only way to go. I’d already been giving myself twice-daily injections following the blood clot in my lung last September, so I had already dealt with my needle-aversion. I fetched the little ones and headed over to deliver my prescription to be filled, planning to send Daddy there later to pick it up on the way home from school.
When we arrived in the parking lot, there were no open parking spots anywhere, even though it was a random Thursday at 10:30am. I spend more time at Costco than anyone I know, so I’ve got a fairly developed sense of roughly how much traffic to expect there based on the day and time, and that morning was especially nuts. I did score a parking spot in rather short order, so the little two kids and I made our way inside to the even-more-nutty sight within the store.
I’ve never seen anything like it. The storm was predicted to arrive Friday afternoon, and here we were a day and a half early, with crazed crowds filling their baskets with all kinds of stuff. Because I’m on a pretty stringent diet for gestational diabetes, I really only had one thing in mind – make sure to pick up a rotisserie chicken for my meals the upcoming week. I can make 6-8 different easy meals for myself with just one chicken, so that has been one of my personal staples through this season. All the aisles throughout Costco were packed with people, but the line for rotisserie chicken was longer than I have ever seen. People elbowed and crowded their way to the front to get a golden brown bird fresh out of the oven, and even the employees behind the counter were incredulous at the demand. I was fortunately not in a hurry, and I waited patiently, even though half a dozen people side-eyed me as they cut in front of us. One lovely woman who waited beside me for a time asked if she could nab a chicken for me, (being a little more mobile without a cart and two children), and I thanked her as she set it carefully in my cart.
At the sight of this mayhem, I decided maybe there was something to this stocking-up craze that was going on, so I started doing what everyone else was doing–filling my cart with supplies we might need if there was indeed a snowpocalypse, as predicted. I felt a little silly, because I’m not usually one to fret about this sort of thing, but man, watching hundreds of people swirl around the basic necessities: milk, bread, bananas, and the like will make you think you really need some of that stuff too. It was really challenging getting through the store and all the way around to the pharmacy just to drop off the prescription. By the time we were ready to go, I hadn’t yet picked up the filled prescription, but the checkout lines were longer than I’d ever seen. We ended up in one sort of by accident (because it started so far back in the store) and within minutes there were dozens of people behind us. I felt like if I left the line, I’d never find my way to the front again. Serendipitously (or ahem…by God’s provision), there was a woman in line directly ahead of us that I knew from my weekly bible study group. I asked if she would hang with my kids and my cart while I raced (in waddle-like fashion) over to the pharmacy counter to pick up my stuff. She was so gracious and played a huge part in us making it out of the store in one piece, with everything we would need for the next week. I made it back to the line as she was loading our cart’s contents onto the conveyor belt.
The next seven days were slightly more traumatic. First of all, my husband was on a business trip, so it was just me and the kids hunkering down at home by ourselves. We were unable to leave the house at all because the snow had come so heavy within a day, and the plows had so thoroughly built up an embankment of icy dirt-mound on the street-side of our big passenger van, we couldn’t dig our van out of the gravel area where we park. Ironically, we have probably the easiest place to park along our whole street…until of course, there is a 2-foot embankment to knock down.
The temperatures warmed and refroze the embankment in a few days’ time, and by the time we tried to shovel it clear, it was not an easy job. I tried kicking the snow-walls down with my big leather boots on so I might diminish the height enough to drive out to the bare street. I’m pretty sure I looked like a drunk penguin while doing so, and I made very little progress with that method. We don’t even have a snow shovel of our own (which tells you about how much snow we typically get in Seattle), so a friend mercifully came by to drop one off for me. I gave that a quick try, but with my size and mobility (as I already hinted at, I’m at waddling stage), I tried for all of 30 seconds before I came to the conclusion it was not going to happen. We had to wait a few more days for a little more snowmelt, and the return of my able-bodied husband to get free of the snow trap. We did, however, have all the food we needed thanks to our earlier Costco stop!
The kids had a few snow-play sessions in the yard, but as the snow piled up, it became clear there were some really unsafe conditions outside. One tree in our yard (a small, deciduous one) was so heavy-laden with snow that the whole tree bent over nearly to the ground, because of the weight on its branches. The tall pine trees in our side-yard were dropping big branches and hunks of icy half-melted snow blocks without warning, and despite the protests of the kids, I couldn’t let them out to play on those days.
By the end of the week, the kids’ energy was out of control and they were antsy to get back to school to see friends. My nerves were pretty frayed by that point, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never been so relieved to see my husband return from a trip as I was at the end of that week.
It’s all a distant memory now. In the past week, we have had sunshine and temps in the 80’s, and as far as I can tell, there are no remaining snow remnants like there were for a few weeks where it had been piled high by plows and shovels.
1521. the sunny side of a dark night of the soul, 1522. well-timed support from cherished friends, 1523. visit from mama, 1524. online shopping and stuff that fits, 1525. easy returns, 1526. sandals for my pregnant sausage feet, 1527. steak & spinach salad deliciousness, 1528. collage night and the one I made for my ledge, 1529. birthdays, 1530. new writing opportunities