Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Break

We have one more day of winter break, a winter break that we did not know we were having until Monday night. Usually as the spring semester begins, students and faculty are all counting the days until spring break, which occurs midway through the semester. By that point, everyone is ready for a break - either to get out of town for a real vacation or to just sleep late and enjoy quiet time at home. We have barely started this semester so it is hard to truly appreciate a nearly week long break, a break “scheduled” by mother nature, not dictated by an academic calendar. In fact, this break is wreaking havoc with the academic calendar, but we’ll not worry about that right now.

So what does one do with a nearly weeklong unplanned break?

We are still sort of camping out at our still-not-completely-finished-being-remodeled house. The good news is that as of last Friday, only three days before the frigid temperatures hit our area, we became the owners of new bedroom furniture. The significance of this is that we are no longer sleeping on an air mattress on the tile floor. Make that the cold tile floor! All of the humans, canines, and felines living here are quite happy with this particular home improvement!

In addition to a new, big, warm, king-sized bed, we also have a microwave, coffee pot, TV, Internet, and lots and lots of books. In addition to the master bedroom, the other room in the house that is done is the library. Weber and I have managed to sort, combine, unpack and shelve all of our books. That is no minor task, trust me! It took many trips to Recycled Books to weed out enough books so that what we are keeping fits on the designated shelf space. Between the two of us, we probably have a bigger poetry collection that the public library. For some reason, the cats also seem to love this room. FYI, bookshelves can double as pretty fine kitty bunk beds if necessary.

I have had several big music composition projects hanging over my head lately. Time has been such that I have an hour here or thirty minutes there to work on them and nothing much really was getting done. I have to admit that I am not one who works well like that. I like big blocks of time where I can concentrate on what I am doing; time where my train of thought is not continually interrupted. I got that this week. It was awesome! It is a great feeling to have a pair of those “monkeys” off my back. I am looking forward to turning over these newly completed composition to their respective owners should we ever get back to school!

Our lack of a kitchen has been the toughest part of this week. Though there are pretty good things that can be cooked in the microwave, even good canned soup and instant oatmeal get boring after a while. We decided this afternoon to do something to break our mealtime monotony. With nearly an inch of solid ice on the driveway and much of the street that leads out of our neighborhood in the same condition, it was clear that attempting to drive anywhere was not our best choice. So, we decided to walk. We have a grocery store, a 7-Eleven, and a Burger House within minimal walking distance from the house.

We bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves and set out on our way. There were small spots along our street that were completely ice free. By carefully stepping,much like in a game of hopscotch, we made our way to the main street, which we expected to be much clearer than our neighborhood side streets. We were wrong. The only thing that was clear were two twelve inch tracks down each lane. The rest of the street and the adjacent sidewalks were solid ice. Not only were they incredibly slippery; they sloped toward the street. The possibility of sliding off of the sidewalk onto the street (and the oncoming traffic) was very real. Though the city had not done anything to make the sidewalks safe, we could see that some of the businesses along the way had spread sand and cat litter on their sidewalks. By choosing our route carefully, we figured that we could make it safely to our destination. And, we did. We enjoyed a nice hamburger with many other locals who were nursing a bout of cabin fever.

After lunch we slid across the parking lot to the grocery store. This became more of a sightseeing excursion once we realized that we couldn’t buy anything that was breakable or could be smashed if we fell on the way home; we couldn’t buy anything too heavy because balance was key to getting home in one piece; and the truth of the matter was, we didn’t really need anything anyway.

The Dallas area is expected to remain below freezing for another 36 hours and more snow is predicted for tonight. By 5:00 this afternoon, school had already been cancelled for tomorrow, the fourth day in a row.

Having accomplished several major tasks this week thus shortening my To-Do list, I’m not sure what we’ll do tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll surf the 300 channels of U-verse for that one TV show that is worth watching. Weber and I have watched more TV in the past three days than we have watched in the last two an a half years. That sad reality here is that I don’t think that we have missed much in all that time.

Once you get beyond House Hunters, Bridezilla, and Wife Swap it is all downhill!

In lieu of watching TV, I think I’ll just curl up with a cup of coffee, a book, a few animals, and my wonderful husband and try to stay warm.