snow, travel & home

A jumble of thoughts, events and musings today.

Snow day for Julia. During the last big snow, there has been only one serious snow before this one, Newton decided not to call a snow day but to merely go all remote for classes that day.  I think that most students were zooming in from home anyway, so it was only the high needs students (of which Julia is one) and some very young students who would have their school day changed.  However!  However, there was an uproar from all corners of town! How could NPS steal precious snow day activities from children already deprived of so much of their normal? The children should have been building snow people and sledding down hills, not stuck in front of computers all day.  I don’t know what the internal (or external) politics were, but the next day a traditional and completely unnecessary snow day was declared.

Yesterday’s snow storm was predicted to begin in the early afternoon. School dismissal was moved up before the snow began.  I appreciated that because when I got Julia at 2:35, the roads were beginning to look sketchy, but had a storm like this come into Madison, I would have been picking Julia up at regular dismissal time.  And probably quietly cursing the powers-that-be about their lack of planning.  

Today’s snow day was declared around dinner time, last night.  Today, temperatures have risen.  Snow is wet and heavy and melting.  Shoveling is definitely needed but I suspect that the plowed streets and shoveled sidewalks will be clear and dry in another day.  I question whether the snow day today was necessary. But Julia feels liberated.  

I have unsubscribed from most of the travel related email that I used to get.  It was too depressing in the early Fall when airlines, travel agents and cruise lines were offering all sort “deals” with generous refund offers.  I long, really long for travel days and travel planning, but until great swaths of any location are vaccinated, 2-week quarantines are lifted and travel-related activities are open again, I cannot even consider it.  One of the few travel emails I kept was Nomatic Matt.  I’ve followed him and his website for years now and I’ve kept up with it through the pandemic because Matt too has been challenged by the pandemic. A decision to spend lockdown in Mexico didn’t work and, for the moment, he has settled down in Austin “living [his] best hermit-esque life” consisting of “reading, cooking, and HBO Maxing.”  Perhaps because I feel his pain, I can read his blog.  That, and he is generally upbeat about the possibility of future travel.

But I heard this morning on NPR that international travel is not expected to return until 2023. No rush to renew the passport. Perhaps the question should be, what replaces travel, not when can I travel. 

Cheshire and Justin moved into their first house.  Julia and I went over on moving day last weekend to welcome them in with bread and salt, to put a few dinners into their freezer and to provide Cheshire with her favorite cookies.  The house is older than anything I have ever lived in.  300 years old.  There is lots of work to be done to make it their own.  Of course, they have lots of plans.  The boxes and plans and energy reminded me of the house that David and I bought on Washington Boulevard in Indianapolis.  Lots of vision, lots of plans, lots of energy was needed for that house too.  I think of it now as the house that “grew us up.”  The house that held us while we learned to make a home and family.  I learned gardening; David learned woodworking.  We bought lots of tools and paint and replacement parts.  We learned what we could do and what we had to give over to experts.  Or at least those who professed to be experts.  We made mistakes, refused to pay for what we imagined we could do ourselves and paid too much for experts whose work needed to be redone.

After we had been in the house for a year or so, a middle school Cheshire came home from school one day and asked if “we’d always live in a dump.”  She was right, of course, we had the vision, she did not.  Old houses are meant for visionaries and dreamers no matter where and when they are.  I wonder if that Indianapolis house showed our connection to our immigrant grandparents who boarded boats bound for a world that was only a vision. Could Cheshire’s great grandparents imagine that she would one day claim a tavern built in 1713 as her own?  Right after college, I moved into a loft sublet in Chelsea (NYC) with friend.  In our eyes it was so very cool.  My Uncle Nick had a van and helped move some things from my mother’s house. When he got back to my mother’s house, he told her, “never go there.  She is living in a factory.”  Uncle Nick was much closer to the old country than I was. Our visions were very different.

The talk of finding and moving to home has gotten under my skin again.  I am settled where I am for another 2 years as Julia goes through the transition program, but it is time to begin thinking about and looking for a home more permanent.  I don’t think I’ve written about finding home here for a long time but now and then I’ve dipped into the mire of it.  Part of me wishes that my home was easily found—finished and done, a home town, a forever home, but that has not been my way.  I have gained some clarity from the last move and from the last year and a half in Newton.  I want less than a half hour from Cheshire and Justin, the same distance from FUUSN, a garden that is mine and the thought that is most persistent, I want community.  I’ve walked and driven through neighborhoods and seen interesting houses but the thought of moving into one of them with the idea that one day I would inhabit it alone holds absolutely no appeal for now or the future.  When I remember all my wonderings about home when I was still part of a couple, I think how easy it was, which it didn’t seem at the time.  I had the only companion I needed.  More community still would have been appreciated but not completely necessary.  Now, finding community—a person, a few people, a group—to live with is an imperative.  

Also, I am over conventional housing!  I want some of the amenities, but more I want flexibility, quirkiness and the unique.  I see those things in the lofts that they are making in Lowell’s old factories and mills.  I see it in building conversions in general—school houses, churches, barns.  

I want space for gatherings although it doesn’t need to be exclusively mine, garden space although I can share that as well, a great cooking kitchen, a fireplace, a bathroom with a deep tub.  A space for books and a desk, wood floors. The complete luxury of a garage and “town” or at least a coffee shop that I can walk to.

It is all visions right now.  All a wish list to throw out to the universe with hopes that I find at least some of it.

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