Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Brrr! Out Like a Lion, Too

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Maybe my personal body thermostat has been reset by my idyllic vacation in Hawaii, but coming back to snow at the end of March is almost too much to bear. Just as it began to look as though we would have an early spring, the weather turned ugly.

We muscled and muddled through the first few days after our vacation, and then decided, at the last minute, that we were up to heading down to Baltimore/DC to celebrate Purim with the kids. Big mistake, as it turned out. Deciding to head directly to DC after school was over on Thursday, we got caught in a huge traffic jam caused by an accident just as we hit Delaware on I-95, and we set the GPS to detour us around it. The ride was pretty pleasant after that, and we arrived in DC at exactly the same time that Ari arrived home after having some drinks with friends after work. We had pho together for dinner in Columbia Heights. Afterward, we bumped into Matt and Naomi’s friend, Jeff, who lives nearby, as we exited the restaurant. We discussed his upcoming marriage, and we discussed Naomi; her water had broken with a pinhole leak, so we knew the baby would be coming soon. (In fact, she gave birth last night and Jess was on her way to DC this morning with Sami and Izzy to visit their new niece/cousin.)

The next day, Friday, Ari left early for work and Saul and I slept late. As Saul dug into school paperwork that had been neglected while we were on vacation, he began to feel a cold coming on. I dug into piles of laundry and cleaning that Ari had neglected while he was on vacation with us. By late afternoon, as we headed for Jess and Alex’s home for Shabbat, we all felt good about cleaning up and catching up, but Saul was beginning to feel really awful from the combination of head cold and broken rib. Coughing and sneezing made the pain worse. We were joined by Alex’s friends and assistants, Abbie and Isaac. Alex, as usual, made a wonderful dinner—a spicy soup, big salad, borekas and felafel. For dessert, we had homemade hamantaschen and the rest of the cocoa coconut almond cupcakes that the girls had made. Just before we arrived, Jess and Alex had told the girls that they would be moving. Izzy was excited, but Sami was tearful and Abby, who moved many times in her life, went in to talk with her one-on-one after Jessica had been with her alone for a while. The ride back to DC after dinner was long for Saul as his cold was worsening by the hour.

We were supposed to join the kids in Baltimore for Purim services and to see the kids in costume, but Saul was not up to the drive and Ari and I were both too tired. In the afternoon, Ari and I went out for a while while Saul rested. On Sunday, we had a late breakfast and we were on the road home by 3:00 p.m. We missed all the Purim festivities completely, I am sorry to say, and in retrospect, we should have stayed home and rested. At least we caught up with cleaning and paperwork and enjoyed Shabbat dinner together. Also, I had a chance to enjoy the crocuses and other spring bulbs that Ari and I had planted in his garden in the fall. The weather was beautiful and temperate in DC that weekend and belied the fact that more winter weather was on the way.

Saul’s cold was mostly gone by Tuesday and we began the process of moving our bedroom to the other end of the house where Mom had her master suite. Right before we left for Hawaii, we had ordered a Sealy Posturepedic king-size bed (which would not fit into our bedroom suite) on the last day of a sale at Costco. Beth, Adele and Larry came over and helped us move things around so that we could make room for it to be delivered. A few days after it was delivered, Saul and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase everything we would need to sleep on it, as Saul was distinctly feeling the need for a better mattress in his (broken) bones. Last Friday, Saul and I went to The Home Show in King of Prussia, and afterward, went to look at bedroom furniture that Ari and I had liked at a store in Oaks, PA. I was still not sure about the furniture after viewing it a second time, and Saul liked it, but was not wowed either. For two days, I shopped online and looked at virtually thousands of pieces of bedroom furniture. In the end, I ordered the original set that I had seen, online. It was $150 cheaper than the price that the store had quoted me. We were joined for Shabbat dinner by Larry, Beth, Paul, and Faith. Saul and I did not returned from our wanderings until 5:00 p.m., so dinner was a last minute throw-together. We had defrosted homemade challah, leek and Cope’s dried corn soup, spring mix salad with pecans and craisins, defrosted homemade steelhead trout burgers, cheese ravioli with butter and parmesan, and steamed asparagus. For dessert, we had a butter cake that Larry brought, leftover hamantaschen, and leftover chocolate cake. We went to services on Shabbat morning at MBIEE, but knew that rabbi was away in Israel for the brit milah of his new grandson. We spent all day at home on Sunday so that Saul could get our income taxes done.
We have moved into Mom’s room piecemeal, but today I decided to begin moving all our clothing over. I hesitated to use Mom’s furniture, but now that I know a new bedroom set is on the way, I feel better about it. I have plans to change almost everything around eventually, so that it doesn’t feel so strange to be in Mom’s old room. Just as I was sitting on the bed, contemplating how relieved I was feeling about staying in the house, making improvements, and not selling it as I have been trying to do for almost two years, a realtor called to ask if I would be putting it back on the market soon. I was really relieved to tell him to forget it, although the wanderlust in me that drives me to shake things up all the time, feels a bit let down. How’s that for mixed emotions?! Am I the only one that feels this way? Most people my age seem to be either digging in their heels to keep everything as it has been in the past, or moving reluctantly to retirement communities. I still long for a complete change of scenery. Perhaps it is just my fantasy that is best left in my head.

Saul is on a trip to the U.N. today with classes from Chestnut Hill College. I have been putting off scanning more of my parents’ WWII letters until the weirdness of dealing with the room change has worn off, but I really feel compelled to get back to them.

Erica’s husband, Danny, had a terrible tragedy in his family this past week. His 33-year-old sister died suddenly, unable to breathe. She was soon to be married, and had just picked out her wedding dress the day before she died. Danny’s mother, who is confined to a wheelchair with MS, has been inconsolable, especially because her daughter had been a great help to her. Last I heard, they were not sure what caused the problem, but suspected an interaction of medications she was taking. The funeral is today.

Jess had to take their beloved dog, Zeke, to be euthanized by the S.P.C.A. a few days ago. He was very old for his breed, and has been very sick, on and off, for the past few months.

Passover is just around the corner and we will be going down to Baltimore for the whole holiday this year. Next week, I will be onto kashering my kitchen so that I can be out of Alex’s way while I prepare our special desserts and sorbets for our last Pesach in Baltimore. It appears that good things are in store for us, but given this late March wintry weather, and all the tragedies of this past month, including the tsunami in Japan, I am struggling to stay upbeat and remind myself that Spring, warm weather, and my seemingly perennial optimism for planning and planting a garden will be arriving soon.

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