Thursdays are my ‘mortgage-lifter’ days: I usually have a full slate of ESL students, not to mention a death-defying commute on Route 287 east to Edison, NJ, where, in the space of the last two months, I’ve managed to outrun the Grim Reaper at least three times (two involving inattentive tractor-trailers, the other a texter in a beat-up sedan, and all going 75 mph). And that’s on a day with perfect weather. So I just went ahead and cheerfully cancelled my classes yesterday, when the temperature was 65 degrees and I was running around without a jacket. The pleasure of having a snow day, I decided, would outweigh the big ragged hole in my paycheck this week.
As a native New Englander, I have bittersweet memories of school snow days from my youth: The day starts optimistically enough, with the giddy gift of a full free day without obligations and of course, the mandatory dash outside to play in the snow until cheeks and fingers turned numb. But then as the day stretched on, it all devolved into hours of bad TV, scraping the pantry for snacks and bickering—if not full-on brawls—with the siblings. And then you go to bed, feeling puzzled and disheartened, as if you’ve somehow wasted a whole day of your life.
And so when I awoke this morning, and saw the blizzard indeed raging outside our bedroom window, I felt a bit paralyzed. I knew I should probably just lock myself up in the office and write. But this is what I did instead:
–Got up and made myself a big breakfast of waffles. Gluten-free, of course, so as not to trigger the autoimmune monster. Couldn’t read the paper, which was buried in a foot of snow in the driveway (yes, I know it’s on the Internet but it’s not the same), so I read the stack of fashion catalogs that came in the mail this week and an old issue of Southern Living magazine instead.
–went out and shoveled the front walk—a solid 8 inches of snow! Wished my daughter were still little—and still home in NJ–because the snow was the perfect consistency and texture for snowballs, snowmen and snow-fort-making. Left the driveway for my husband…
–Then took a hot bath because I was pretty sure the snow shoveling would trigger my long-dormant sciatica. I salt-scrubbed my poor boot-bound feet, and exfoliated my poor aging face, and did all the other ‘recommended’ beauty chores I never otherwise have time for.
–worked on a cross-stitch project I’ve been working on for centuries, got bored and gave up, which is why it’s taking centuries to finish.
–Watched “George Washington Slept Here,” on TCM—it’s ‘Oscar’ Month—but couldn’t figure out what in the world it won an Oscar for. It had its moments, but was mostly weird, boring and dated. But I liked the cross-stitched opening credits at the beginning, even if it reminded me of my own unfinished, negkected project.
–And then Betty Wahl’s novel, Rafferty & Co., had come in the mail the other day, so I tried to start that, with the greatest of hopes. I was really hoping it she would turn out to be a better writer than her husband, J.F. Powers. But I just couldn’t get into it, as hard as I tried. It’s clever, and she’s a competent writer, but it felt rather sterile and superficial. Oh well…
–Cracked open my Japanese textbook, and tried to learn a few more phrases. It’s not such a hard language–Romanized. But trying to learn some of the characters–Yow! It made my brain hurt.
–Finally went on line, but ended up playing this stupidly addictive word game for an hour. Lurked about in the writers’ forums a bit and got involved in a minor scuffle about the sudden drop in book sales this week most of us are experiencing (because you always get the idiot who has to say You need to market more efficiently…)Then made myself write this blog, so I could say I did some writing today and continue under the illusion of being serious.
I did other things today too, but I didn’t want to admit that we are only just now cleaning up after Sunday’s Super Bowl gathering. Never got around to working on the biography, or book proposals, or marketing for Wives’ discount promotion on Amazon next week. But sometimes it’s nice just to have a boring old down day: And hence, the true purpose of snow days.
And my garden is very happy, under its big new blanket of snow.