The Drama Queen

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We slept soundly as the house slowly cooled, nested in a sea of cold white, under the bright moon. Attila arose early to fire the heater, and by the time I arose there was a circle of warmth where I could sit and sip my morning coffee. Attila also brought in all the wood I would need to fire the heater again midday. By 10:00 a.m. Mist was sitting in front of the masonry heater, making eyes at me, willing a firing into existence. The midday firing was scheduled for 1 p.m., so Mist eventually lost interest, took herself off to Attila’s seat near the masonry heater, curled up into a ball, and took a cat nap.

When Attila was out of commission one winter with his hernia operation, some years ago, I became responsible for the wood heating system at the country house. I managed to keep us warm and cozy, all by myself. It was very hard work!

I like thermostats, a lot.

Never before have I slept with so little awareness of my context. This began very suddenly, the very first night I slept with the buckwheat husk pillow. Upon awakening I have no idea how long I have been asleep, it might have been ten minutes, a few hours, or a complete uninterrupted night of sleep. If Attila is up and about I will often call out to him, asking him if it is morning. Attila arises in the night to eat, quite frequently, so it is impossible to ascertain the time based on his activities.

I wondered if this loss of context was due to aging. But after spending some nights at the little house in the city, using a polyester loft filled pillow, I know that it is related to the buckwheat husk pillow. With the polyester loft pillow, I know, almost exactly, how long I have been sleeping, and when it is morning.

I do not know that one way of sleeping is better than the other, but I would not give up the buckwheat husk pillow willingly.

It is snowing heavily again, after the lovely blue skies enjoyed yesterday. As the snow comes down, the temperature rises, thus far from -27C to -17C.

I have been thinking about how much I write about winter weather. It is central to everything we do during the winter months. It determines when we see friends and loved ones, when we can travel to purchase supplies, how many hours Attila must spend supplying adequate firewood and shovelling snow, the frequency with which we have to cancel appointments, cleaning ice and snow off car windows… well the list goes on and on and on. Winter Weather is a demanding drama queen in our lives.

I think about how weather-dominated humans have been throughout history. It is only in the last few decades that humans have lost their ancient connections to the planet’s moods. Attila and I seem to be walking backwards in time, out of step with everyone else.

We last purchased food on December 3, 2013. The wonky weather has prevented us from getting into town for supplies. In the pantry we still have several squash, spy apples, and some onions. We have eaten all of our fresh potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, beets, and parsnips. Now we will begin to use the frozen produce that I processed during harvest season, the rutabaga, beets, squash and applesauce. We have some frozen meat, dried pasta, grains, beans, legumes, and rice. We also have a good assortment of herbs and spices. I venture a guess that we would be able to hold out, and enjoy what we have, till Christmas, without procuring additional supplies. For Christmas dinner though, I do like mashed potatoes!

We have been moving away from canned foods. They are not only high in sodium, there is some doubt as to the long-term safety of the plastic lining in the cans themselves. We prefer the taste and quality of frozen foods, and grains, beans, and legumes that we cook ourselves.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This was my big day! After being in the living area of our house since December 3, that is 15 days in the same room, mostly alone with Mist, I had an appointment about an hours drive away. That is an hour under ideal conditions, clear pavement and perfect visibility. I planned this trip. I had my list of things to accomplish, number two on the list was Christmas shopping for Attila’s gift. In the morning Attila spent a good deal of time removing the previous night’s snowfall from my car. It seemed I was ready for my adventure.

I got all dressed up and ready to go, then I headed out to the car. Over three inches of snow had fallen since Attila cleared the car, an hour and half earlier. It took me about fifteen minutes to remove the newly fallen snow. I spent another ten minutes defrosting the windows so that visibility was optimal for driving. It was still snowing heavily as I drove out of the driveway. Our road was not yet ploughed, but I made it to the highway without incident. I slowly turned onto the highway, it had not been ploughed. I drove as far as the village, five kilometers, which took about fifteen minutes. It was a cautious journey, the ruts were powerful and deep, and the other vehicles were going too fast for the condition of the road. A pickup truck tailgated me into the village, he did not pass me though. Even at the low speed I was travelling, the rear end of the car slipped towards the ditch a few times. As I reached the village my decision had been made, there would be no trip into the big town today.

After stopping at the local closed bank to use their machine, I turned the car around and came home again. The trip back was easier because the vehicle in front of me understood the condition of the road, so much so that he was driving along with his four way flashers blinking. I arrived home safe and sound.

Once again winter weather, the Drama Queen of my current existence, had made her powers known. I called and left a message on the answering machine to cancel my appointment. I called Attila to let him know I had not attempted the journey into big town, so that he would not worry.

So, back at the ranch, Mist and I are nestled in for the day, watching the snow fall and feeling lucky to be safe and warm.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 AM EST Tuesday 17 December 2013
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -18.5°C
Dewpoint: -20.7°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: ESE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -27


Date: 10:00 AM EST Wednesday 18 December 2013
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 1 km
Temperature: -5.3°C
Dewpoint: -6.0°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: SW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -9


“Acquire inner peace and a multitude will find their salvation near you.”
Catherine de Hueck Doherty

This evokes the age old question, “are snowflakes a multitude?” If so, a little bad behaviour on my part may be called for!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Whew, I am so glad you turned around and came back home. I haven’t driven in a long while and with all this snow, I hope I don’t have to anytime soon.

I should re-visit my husk pillow. I mentioned that I’d had one once and didn’t like it, but if it gives you that deep sleep, I need to rethink the decision to ditch it. I would kill for a good night’s sleep.