Signs of Snow


I do not know how long my daughter has been driving around on a flattish tire.

Neither does she.

Neither, in fact, does my husband, who, in denial of the sad, sagging evidence before him, declared the tire gauge to be broken.

Today is the day: Monday, mother of all get things done days, the day of fresh to-do lists, lists full of intention and promise and hope. Today, I get my daughter's tire fixed.

I step outside and work the ice from the windshield, glancing nervously at the tire, wondering if it will be able to limp the half mile into town. I drive slowly, holding up traffic and occasionally driving down the center of the road to avoid the potholes that gather at the street's edges. At the repair shop, I hand the keys over to the woman behind the desk and head home on foot.

My breath comes in thick puffs as I walk, gloved hands jammed into my coat pockets. Everywhere I look, fallen autumn leaves are edged in frost.


As I arrive home, I'm greeted by Grey Cat and Calico--a stray who stopped by for dinner one night and decided to stay on. Perhaps it's the bowl of organic milk my son sets out every morning. Maybe it's the flannel blanket on the patio. Perhaps it's just the kibble. Whatever it is, despite numerous flyers posted in town, it looks as if Calico Cat is here to stay.

* * *

I've got a meatloaf in the oven nestled beside a dish of roasting Brussels sprouts. A pot of potatoes bubbles on the stove. From the basement, the boiler hisses and protests and blows off steam with regularity. Despite the admirable effort the boiler makes, the house has a constant chill: The windows are drafty. There is no insulation.

Like old cars, old houses create long to-do lists and just when you think you've got one thing done and scratched off, mentally tucked away, you're proven wrong: Every item on the list creates at least two more items to add. Rewiring before insulation. Windows before painting. Tree trimming and sanding. Cracked storm windows and messy gutters, all needing to be addressed before winter.

It snowed last week, but didn't make it to our side of town, much to my family's disappointment. There's a level of excitement in the air as we anticipate that first snow. But I suspect that, as we make our way through the end of fall and into winter, that excitement will fade only to be replaced by the anticipation of spring and the first sweet shoots of green. But for now, we wrap up in extra blankets and settle in, watching the windows for the first telltale signs of white.

* * *

The repair shop phones: The tire is fixed. A simple valve stem issue. I pick up my pen, scratch tire from my to-do list and head back to town, pausing on my way to scratch the back of Calico Cat and scan the skies for signs of snow.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Signs of Snow

Monday, October 28, 2013

Signs of Snow


I do not know how long my daughter has been driving around on a flattish tire.

Neither does she.

Neither, in fact, does my husband, who, in denial of the sad, sagging evidence before him, declared the tire gauge to be broken.

Today is the day: Monday, mother of all get things done days, the day of fresh to-do lists, lists full of intention and promise and hope. Today, I get my daughter's tire fixed.

I step outside and work the ice from the windshield, glancing nervously at the tire, wondering if it will be able to limp the half mile into town. I drive slowly, holding up traffic and occasionally driving down the center of the road to avoid the potholes that gather at the street's edges. At the repair shop, I hand the keys over to the woman behind the desk and head home on foot.

My breath comes in thick puffs as I walk, gloved hands jammed into my coat pockets. Everywhere I look, fallen autumn leaves are edged in frost.


As I arrive home, I'm greeted by Grey Cat and Calico--a stray who stopped by for dinner one night and decided to stay on. Perhaps it's the bowl of organic milk my son sets out every morning. Maybe it's the flannel blanket on the patio. Perhaps it's just the kibble. Whatever it is, despite numerous flyers posted in town, it looks as if Calico Cat is here to stay.

* * *

I've got a meatloaf in the oven nestled beside a dish of roasting Brussels sprouts. A pot of potatoes bubbles on the stove. From the basement, the boiler hisses and protests and blows off steam with regularity. Despite the admirable effort the boiler makes, the house has a constant chill: The windows are drafty. There is no insulation.

Like old cars, old houses create long to-do lists and just when you think you've got one thing done and scratched off, mentally tucked away, you're proven wrong: Every item on the list creates at least two more items to add. Rewiring before insulation. Windows before painting. Tree trimming and sanding. Cracked storm windows and messy gutters, all needing to be addressed before winter.

It snowed last week, but didn't make it to our side of town, much to my family's disappointment. There's a level of excitement in the air as we anticipate that first snow. But I suspect that, as we make our way through the end of fall and into winter, that excitement will fade only to be replaced by the anticipation of spring and the first sweet shoots of green. But for now, we wrap up in extra blankets and settle in, watching the windows for the first telltale signs of white.

* * *

The repair shop phones: The tire is fixed. A simple valve stem issue. I pick up my pen, scratch tire from my to-do list and head back to town, pausing on my way to scratch the back of Calico Cat and scan the skies for signs of snow.

Labels: , , , ,

6 Comments:

At October 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous injaynesworld said...

Love the leisurely pacing of the piece contrasted with the long list of to-do's. You clearly live and write in the moment and that makes every moment full and alive for the reader. Loved this as I love all your work, Kelly.

 
At October 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Jayne!

 
At October 29, 2013 at 4:56 AM , Blogger Alison McDonough said...

Kelly, now I know for sure that you're living in the right place!

 
At October 29, 2013 at 6:58 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Alison - Miss my writing group!
(Road trip?)

 
At October 29, 2013 at 12:14 PM , Blogger Deborah Batterman said...

Yes, old cars are like old houses . . . It all boils down to maintenance -- right? And you have a very lovely way of reminding us that getting things down does mean forgetting what's all around us.

 
At October 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM , Blogger Linda Rosen said...

A very evocative piece, Kelly. I see you're on BlogSpot, but it looks like you've tweaked the site. I'd love to find out how you did that,

 

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