Jan 14


Remember when I had enough unfrozen facial muscle to smile?

Remember when I had enough unfrozen facial muscle to smile?

It’s cold outside, but it could be colder. I think we’re all pretty aware of that, considering the state of Deep Freeze that enveloped everything about a week ago. Wisconsin was frozen, but I only know that from hearsay, since I myself was in Indiana – also frozen. Alysia and I decided on a sort of last-minute run-out vacation, meeting halfway between our homes with a couple of kids in tow each. I say “sort of last-minute” because the original intention had been a Vegas trip, with no kids in tow, but we procrastinated on finding flights, and then they got too expensive. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, with the Polar Vortex playing havoc with airports all over; we could have gotten trapped in, I dunno, Colorado, or wherever our connecting flight into Chicago would have been grounded.

Instead, we got trapped in South Bend. Well, Mishawaka, which is right next to it. “MISH-A-WA-KAAAAAAA!” we shouted to each other, at first in excitement, and later with a sort of rising, “what can we do?” hysteria as our two-night trip was extended to three nights, and then four. The first day was full of sledding and looking around town, but that night, a foot and a half of snow got dumped onto the town, and we quickly became aware that Indiana apparently has a snow-clearing ability not much higher than that of our children. I’m being uncharitable, perhaps; the wind was incredible, blowing the snow into drifts over all the roads and defying the plows at every turn. And then the temperature dropped to insane levels, which made the salt ineffective and the plows break down…it was ludicrous.

Ah, when you could still see patches of grass...

Ah, when you could still see patches of grass…

We couldn’t leave the property. We went sledding in the parking lot behind the hotel, which was awesome until Gabe’s boots broke, he got ankles packed in ice, and he refused to continue attempting to make the best of the weather. There was much swimming. There was much playing of Risk. There was very little consuming of anything remotely related to “nutrition.” (I forgot juice but remembered wine…) One attempt at a scavenger hunt through the hotel resulted in Gabe SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS when Sam proved an unacceptable teammate, but he himself was unable to solve the clues without help. That was fun.


Still, leaving aside the stumbles, I had a thoroughly good time, and there was more laughter than frustration. And nobody got hurt, which was a definite risk when we finally decided to make a break for it and brave the roads home. We got back safe and sound and exhausted, yet rejuvenated at the same time. 2014, you look like you want to be feisty. I can handle that, I hope.

Just as soon as we recovered and got moving with our regular routines, Sam had his first Big Bad of the year. Yesterday, he had to have some baby teeth yanked to clear the path for some adult teeth that were getting impatient and killing time by plowing sideways paths through his gums. Sam was worried, but since he really, really hopes to avoid braces, he didn’t protest. He also needed a filling and some sealants, so we went with a drugged-up extravaganza of dentistry. It went well, although a negative side effect of the medication is apparently uncontrollable crying. Poor kid sniffled and sobbed through the work, and then cried the whole way home, confused about why he couldn’t stop. Then the hallucinations truly kicked in, just as we were pulling into our driveway. He saw giant pink unicorns in the sky, dancing Christmas trees, and portals to mysterious places hovering in our living room. He refused to nap, instead trying to play video games, but they kept playing tricks with his eyes (“Why ish it in 3D?”), and he spent long chunks of time just staring intently at the menus, mumbling.

Apparently, dental work also adds eight years. Criminy. Is that a mustache shadow??

Apparently, dental work also adds eight years. Criminy. Is that a mustache shadow??

(Yes, I took video. No, I won’t show it unless he changes his mind; he was interested to see it, but he’s too embarrassed right now for it to be public.)

He’s back at school today, though I could tell this morning that the meds had messed with his sleep last night. He was cranky. Hope that goes away fast!

In other news, I have orientation for grad school this Saturday, and then classes start next week. I’m eager for this orientation; frankly, there has been far from enough communication and information forthcoming from the college. They’ve worked very hard, apparently, to be “paperless,” but the necessary info is now scattered in bits and pieces all over their website, like a deranged scavenger hunt that makes me feel like screaming as Gabe did. I have no idea if I’ve found everything I need to know; I have no idea what I don’t know. There have been a couple of checklists, but they’ve been targeted at specific tasks, not an overall plan. If something has fallen through the cracks, God forbid, I hope it comes to light before it bites me in the bottom.

So, orientation. I wonder how many other people, like me, are weird enough to be starting in the middle of the year. Hey, if you’re going to do something, why wait?

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