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I felt like I was preparing for the world to end on Monday.  Sixteen inches of snow were forecasted to fall on Tuesday, and since I had been out of the office for most of the prior week with a sick Bear, I didn’t have time for snow.

I left the house that morning in such haste to run several errands before work that I forgot my breakfast and more importantly, my wallet.  I drove first to the bank so I could deposit a check that, for whatever reason, had been repeatedly spit back at me by our friendly, local ATM, but then I discovered that I had no wallet.  So, I drove back home to get it.  Once I got back to the bank, I discovered that they did not open for another ten minutes, or until 8:30, which was not convenient, since I had a client arriving at 9:00.  So, I drove across the street to mail a package at a UPS store.

Inside, an older man was listening to classical music.  He seemed to have been up for hours and clearly had no cares in the world.  I watched him tape a box.  Then, I watched him type something on the computer.  Then, he returned to taping the box.  When he finally looked up at me, I could feel the beginnings of frenzy boil inside of me.  He took my box from me and weighed it.  Then, he wanted to know if there was glass inside.  There was.  More typing.  Then, he wanted to know if the value was greater than $100.  I thought about it for a moment, and said that the value was probably around $130.  Wrong answer.  He began to explain that they would charge me an additional amount for something valued more than $100.  So, I told him that if I were to sell the contents of the box, that I would not get more than $100.  He pursed his lips, but he didn’t argue with me about it.  He then told me that the shipping charges came to $13.  I raised my eyebrows.  Unless, he said, I wanted to use Parcel Post.  I did, I told him.  He began to lecture me about how my valuable items would not be protected through Parcel Post and that UPS was really my best option and that anyone with items as valuable as mine should want to track their progress to ensure that they arrived at their destination.  At this point, I practically threw $13 at him and ran out of the store.

Back at the bank, they had unlocked the front doors, and a line had formed.  One teller was helping the customers in the line, and another, who apparently was assigned the drive-through window, was looking out the window waiting for customers there.  Three other bank employees sat at their desks facing us watching.   When I arrived “on deck,” I watched the woman in front of me as she was being assisted by the teller.  This woman was wearing stretchy Capri pants with tall, Ugg-like boots up to her knees.  She kept bending and stretching and bending and stretching, and her ambivalence was driving me a little crazy.  When I finally reached the teller, she took the check from my hands and began typing at her computer.  She ran it through a little machine.  She wrote something on it.  She typed some more and handed me a deposit slip.  Not once did she look at me or open her mouth to speak.

Once at work, I met with my client, and then called another who was scheduled to come in the middle of the world-ending blizzard the next day.  No, she couldn’t come any other day.  No, she couldn’t come in earlier.  No, she didn’t mind driving through the blizzard.  Fine, I said.  I’ll be here, and I’ll attempt to arrange for childcare, since undoubtedly, Bear’s daycare will be closed.

At this point, my nose had started running.  I began to feel that bone-tired feeling where you want to put on every pair of sweats you own and curl up in a corner to sleep.  I began sneezing every few minutes, just in time for the arrival of my next client.

During this meeting, I missed a call from Bear’s daycare.  When my client and I moved from the conference room to my office so I could access my computer, my husband called.  Bear’s eye was swelling and her legs were covered with hives, so he was on his way to pick her up and he’d arranged for an appointment with her allergist.  Once I’d finished with my client, I “remotely” attended Bear’s appointment.  The doctor explained that she was prescribing Prednisone and explained that Bear likely was having an allergic reaction but that she also seemed to have an infection, so the doctor would also prescribe an antibiotic. 

Poor kid.  I wanted to go home to be with her, and I did not feel well myself.  My eyes were watery, and I felt both hot and cold.  Later that night, after we had put an itchy Bear to bed, I could not get comfortable enough to sleep.  Fever moved in about the time the blizzard started.  It felt like our furnace was losing the battle to the bitter cold outside.  The next morning, I woke up wearing three shirts and a jacket with the hood pulled over my head.  I felt terrible.

At 7:00 that morning, I called my client again, thinking that maybe the reality of the blizzard had caused a change of heart.  No.  She stilled planned on coming.  About that time, I received notice that Bear’s daycare would be closed.  Of course.  My husband volunteered to take more time away from work so I could meet with my client.  I left a message imploring her to arrive as soon as she could, and I left for work three hours before her appointment.

Ten minutes after her appointment was to begin, she called to say that she was “right around the corner.”  Great, I said with my voice full of sickness, because our office was closing, but I would wait for her.

Oh, you’re sick, she responded.  Oh no.  I hope that I don’t get it.  I wouldn’t want my baby to get sick.

Too bad, lady.

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I put a greasy Bear to bed a few minutes ago.  Her chattering has grown quiet, and I know that she is tired, because she refused to leave the doctor’s office this morning.  Then, she refused to leave the car, and later, she refused to let me change her diaper.  When according to her doctor’s suggestion, I smeared hydrocortisone and then Aquaphor all over Bear’s body to help her eczema, she cried big tears and said, “No, Mommy.  No.”  However, when I turned her onto her stomach so I could coat her back, she gave in and pressed her little cheek into the changing pad and looked up at me from one side with big eyes.  The back rub seemed to subdue her, which is fortunate, because I know that she needs to sleep.

My city is packed in snow again today.  The snow started shortly after noon yesterday and fell continuously through early this morning.  Yesterday evening, stalled cars blocked every route I attempted to leave the area where I work.  I watched less-fortunate drivers being towed up a hill that my all-wheel drive vehicle was able to traverse.  Despite my heater running as high as possible, my windows kept icing over and chunks of ice quickly formed around my windshield wipers.  My twenty-minute drive from work to Bear’s daycare yesterday evening stretched to an hour and a half.  When I arrived, Bear was the only child there.  She’d been left with a high school girl, while the one remaining full-time care provider was outside shoveling the sidewalk and working on a path to my car.  Bear’s diaper was so full that large, wet rings had formed around her legs, but she seemed as oblivious to her neglect as the high school girl was.  Instead, Bear ran around the empty classroom with a look of glee on her face as though I had stopped by simply to play.  When she began rolling on the mats, I scooped her up and quickly dressed her for the blizzard outside.   The blowing snow and frigid air quickly changed Bear’s attitude from one of excitement to one of careful curiosity, and I heard little from her on the way home except the occasional “car,” “snow,” and “pretty.” 

We expect another inch of snow tomorrow and another three or four inches this weekend. I love the snow, but I think that I’ll be ready for spring after this next round. 

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of Bear’s first snow from December 2009.