Thursday, January 18, 2018

stumbling toward success

Sometimes, a day is so smooth that it almost seems boring. There are no mishaps, no missed opportunities. One hour glides fluidly into the next. Everything falls into place of its own accord. You sit back and grin smugly, as if somehow it is your own genius that got you there.

That was not today.

Oh, there were plenty of successes and calm hours. But I should have worried just a little when breakfast got off to a rocky beginning: Ed brought his computer to the table.

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Now, every few months it happens that something Terribly Important calls for his (or my) total attention, even during the Sacred Morning Meal. But this was not today. I consider chatting with some techie person about the new smart phone to be low on a list of things that should interfere with breakfast.

He is apologetic.

He even offers to invest in a housecleaning service to help me out with farmhouse duties. Of sorts: a robotic vacuum cleaner. Nice, but I remind him that vacuuming is typically his contribution to our cleaning efforts.

Never mind. I look forward to welcoming a robot to our household.

It is a sunny day and it is supposed to be a warmer day. Indeed, I expect the snow to start melting.

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It doesn't melt. Instead, we get the biting winds and we never make it upwards of the freezing point. Still, it is warmer than the past days have been and there will be a thaw this weekend, sooooo -- sledding weather, right?

Ed, wanting to be helpful and envisioning many good hours on the slopes, offers to meet Snowdrop and me in the park.
Which park do you have in mind? -- he asks.
A place called Sledding Hill! Right by Lake Monona. What a great name, no?

I pick up Snowdrop at school.
Her teacher pulls me aside and relays a typical exchange from the morning. Snowdrop had been drawing with markers and after completing her picture, she turns to the teacher: isn't this the most beautiful thing you have ever, ever, ever seen??
The teacher, smiling responds -- well, yes, very nice...
Snowdrop -- ever!

I grin. You cannot say that Snowdrop's emotional range is small. When she is pleased with something, she is thrilled!

But her pal, the true non-napper in the class is back today. Her co-conspirator. For the first time this week, Snowdrop does not nap. She comes up to me and says: I was a little bit bad today!
The teacher assures me that she noticed no such misbehavior.

The girl is bouncy. I'm thinking sledding will be just the ticket.

But it's a chore! Snowdrop dons her winter wear to get to the car. In the car, she sheds every last bit of it, claiming great discomfort otherwise. When we arrive at Sledding Hill, I have to redress her, all in the confines of the car, of course, and with great protest on her part: I want to do it by myself! Ed says -- I'll stay in my car and read a book until you're ready.

Finally. We're ready.

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The sledding is okay: there are bare patches and so perhaps a tumble wouldn't feel so good, but Snowdrop is happy to go down with me in the big sled and I'm so pleased that she agrees to go down alone, in her little sled!

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I call this a huge success! But after the two runs, she is done.

(Not Ed: he takes a turn and then has to bail out as kids unwittingly walk onto the path of his speeding sled.)

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Snowdrop, however,  has spied the swing set. Nothing else comes close to a robust back and forth on a swing.

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Now, have you tried swinging by Lake Monona on a windy winter day? Don't do it. It's brisk. It's cold. It can't be fun. Snowdrop complains about boots falling off. I complain about the cold.

It's time to head home. Off come the winter clothes in the car. On come the winter clothes as we trudge back to the farmhouse.

Once inside, she is happy as can be: the glow that comes from a snug room, a grand snack and a good book or a fun toy after a romp in the cold is phenomenal. Snowdrop glows!

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... pink socks and all!

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Evening comes. Ed has a dinner out with colleagues. I have a neighborhood meeting, to discuss some of the development plans for the fields to the south west. Neither of us wants to go out. I'm hungry. I would love to sit down with a delicately red kir -- that drink with a dab of cassis and a splash of white wine. I can't wait to get home, to that snug house, to play with my toys, read my books and eat a good, hearty supper.

But before I even sit behind the wheel of the car to drive off for my meeting, Ed comes in -- I am late, I have to go. I closed the coop, but Apple wasn't in it. Could you look for her?

I search the trees with a flashlight. I look in all corners of the barn and after my meeting, I look again.

No Apple.

She'll either reappear tomorrow, or she wont. Once or twice, we've had a chicken sit the coop out at night. They've always rejoined the pack in the morning. We'll be looking for Apple, our most successful egg layer, first thing tomorrow.

(Cheepers, last seen together in the late, late afternoon, heading to the barn...)

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I'm back from my meeting. The conservation park project is on track. My bowl of soup is reheated and oh so warm! My kir is waiting for me. Exhale....