Friday, December 09, 2016

the day before

It's really interesting how things work out there in the vast empire of flights, trucks, and chicken coops.

Take the first item -- flights. I'm to leave for Warsaw tomorrow afternoon (I'll be away eight days, the time split between Warsaw and Paris). We know there is a winter storm slated to hit Madison just before my scheduled departure. There isn't a question as to if the storm will come here, though there's some debate as to how much snow it will dump on us. (Don't even ask about the second, more powerful winter storm that's slated to come for the weekend of my return.)

I thought I'd be proactive and try for an earlier departure out of Madison. I call, I wait, the agent says she can't do it and in any case it will be a schedule change so that it would, hypothetically,  cost me money. I remind her that a missed international connection will ultimately cause them headaches as well, but she is unrelenting.

So I call again, an hour or so later and I suggest my earlier flight out and the agent is terrific, congratulating me on being forward looking. Boom, no charge. Have a good flight! This is not the first time that I've had this experience with airlines. One agent says no I cannot, the next one says -- just give me a few minutes and we'll see what I can do!

And now take the last item -- a chicken coop. Ed and I have divided the task of unlocking and locking the coop each day: I do the mornings, he does the evenings. It's a chore to get up with dawn and sometimes Ed does it for me, but mostly I'm the one walking the land at sunrise. In the summer this happens painfully early. In the winter, dawn comes later, but it's so very cold, and the job is made more unpleasant by the fact that this is when I also clean the coop and give the cheepers their daily grub. I spend a good many minutes willing myself to get up and out of bed knowing that it's near ten or twenty degrees below freezing outside.

Ed has toyed with the idea of engineering a time release on the coop door. At a preset hour, the coop door would fly open on its own.

He finally got around to installing just such a device the other day. And this morning it works like a charm. Sure, the cheepers have to wait a few hours for their daily maid service, but no one is complaining.

Finally, in the matter of trucks: a UPS delivery man flew to the farmhouse door this morning, dropped the package and ran back to the truck (only to return, poor man, because he forgot to scan the delivery). I asked him why the rush -- surely UPS does not require him to run! He tells me (hurriedly) that if he gets his load delivered, he'll get to see his boy's Christmas play today.

Oh my! We are tough on our co-workers and on ourselves, too. I want to tell him that he should slow down, that he'll get to see his grandson, but of course I can't. What do I know about his work pressures...

We are lucky, Ed and I -- we rarely are in a great hurry to get things done. Look how long it's taking me to finish my Great Writing Project, or how long it took for Ed to fix the coop door! You take things for granted in life. Time...

Here's our breakfast, nicely relaxed...

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When I do step out to feed the chickens, the skies are blue, the air is crisp. Perhaps too crisp for mid December, but at least there is sunshine!

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As I drive past the lesser lake, I note that it's nearly completely frozen already. A little patch of water.  The rest -- clear and pristine, to be covered by snow all too soon.

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I pick up Snowdrop and this time she keeps her cap on. Good job, little girl! Now, can I interest you in some mittens for the next walk out on such a cold day?

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At the farmette, she does greet the snowman but she is anxious to get inside. Possibly because her little fingers are like icicles, though more likely because she remembers that there will be a revisiting of her lunch box...

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As I melt some cheese on a whole wheat bagel, she takes her baby (remember, it's not a doll, it's a baby, gaga!) and reads books about babies with her.

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And because she is a balanced little girl, she spends a good bit of time on her truck and tower building projects.

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When ahah comes home from his techie meeting, she is delighted and ready for a second round of bagel with cheese. This is, after all, their special meal.

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Evening. It comes so early! And on these cold days, it looks golden and so very beautiful!

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Because I am going to be away for a week, I've invited Snowdrop for supper with ahah and me. Not her parents, just the little one. It's the supper I always like to have for her when she is just with the two of us -- a homemade mushroom pizza.

First though, we play. With airplanes. I tell her I'll be on an airplane tomorrow. She looks at me with a bit of surprise. At her age, her thoughts jump from one idea to the next. We move on to airplanes in general.

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Ed comes in and we play food and feeding and who knows what else.

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Finally it's time for me (with Snowdrop's enthusiastic help) to make the pizza.

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We eat it against the backdrop of the News Hour.

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But this shouldn't be the last photo of Snowdrop here for the week ahead. Let's look to the next minutes of play where Snowdrop is her (usual) exuberant self.

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I'm off tomorrow. Escaping the snows, missing my beloveds. This is what travel in December is all about.