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Waking up after a weird dream is surreal. Especially when it involves a global catastrophe courtesy of Commander Sisko (too much Deep Space Nine), talking to leprechauns who have a funny way of disguising themselves as heaps of clothes, helping a Facebook friend I’ve never met clean their pool furniture of wood and finding a dead body stacked among the folded chairs. Oh, and the ever popular running and hiding from someone but not knowing who or what I’m running from.

And that’s how I start my day at 5 AM.

I have another “meet and greet” tomorrow morning. It’s early for a change, but it’s downtown which gives me the pips. Just finding a place to park will be a pain. Today I have to find my business clothes and make sure they’re clean. Then I have to figure out which pair of shoes I can squeeze my feet into.

I have large feet. Large enough, in fact, that people make comments about it and always have. Growing up I had to deal with shoe salesmen suggesting I just wear the shoe boxes. Others have asked me along to the lake because I had enough surface area on the bottom of my feet to walk on water. One person even wondered if it were possible to knock me down because I had a large stand to keep me stable.

Usually I’m a size 15 and I’m happy that I live in the US because if I were going by ‘Euro’ sizes I’d be a 48. Depending on who makes the shoe, though, I can go down to a 13. Looking at a conversion chart is appears that my feet are actually slightly longer than a foot. I guess all those “heel to toe” measurements of rooms were pretty accurate after all.

I suppose I could take the easy way out, run over to the Tall & Wide store and get a pair, but that would be easy. Too easy.

The Northeast has been deluged with snow. This is a bit early in the season for it, but I guess it happens. My wonderful friend, Ivy, had requested the story of the last time I drove in snow when I was still living in New Jersey. I suppose she needs some help getting to sleep.

Despite having been brought up in New Jersey I was never much of a snow driver. That has a lot to do with my choice of cars. The worst snow car I’ve had, by far, was a Honda CRX Si. The front wheel drive meant nothing when the entire car was light enough to carry in your pocket. The best car in the snow was a 1979 Mazda RX-7.

The last time I drove in snow I was driving a 1997 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. This is not traditionally known as a snow car. It had really wide tires which acted like snow shoes. There was also a lot of torque, which was great for spinning the wheels. It also had traction control which, in the snow, allowed it to not move at all even with the gas pedal touching the floor.

Snow bunny

Because I’m not much of a driver in snow (in fact, all accidents I’ve ever been involved in were snow related) I had become quite paranoid during the winter months. Even if there was no snow in the forecast I would keep a careful eye on the snow. One day, while I was at work which was fifty miles from where I lived, I noticed that a few flakes started drifting down. They were kind of sticking to the sidewalk. I told my boss that I had to go.

I made it to the highway without too many issues but soon after I got on the snow started coming down harder. I made sure to stay behind other cars because when they moved forward the snow would pick up from the road and swirl around in the air. Since I had left early I figured I would be fine as long as traffic didn’t build up and everyone was able to keep the snow from building up. But this was New Jersey, a place where someone tapping their brakes can cause everyone else to come to a stop. Traffic did build up. The snow started to accumulate.

The other thing about Trans Ams are that they sit rather low to the ground. That’s why getting stuck behind a pick-up truck was a bad thing: they sit rather high. I noticed that my floor pan was scraping the top of the snow. I could hear it grinding as I drove along. Pretty soon it lifted the front of my car off the ground briefly and during those times I couldn’t steer the car.

Keeping a careful eye on the lane next to me I waited until it was clear, turned the steering wheel to the left and waited for the front tires to make contact with the ground again. When it did I was able to change to a slightly busier lane with lower snow clearance. That was good, but the snow was coming down so hard by now that windshield wipers could no longer keep up even when set to the fastest speed. Other people were reaching out of their windows to sweep their windshields with their gloved hands. I did likewise, even though I didn’t have gloves.

Everything was going fine, relatively, until I hit the hills. I had a couple of steep ones I would have to make my way up. And of course, down. I was driving a car that once needed to be pushed out of a gradually rising parking lot because it couldn’t get traction in snow and now I had to go up steep hills. I thought I’d be all right as long as traffic kept moving, what with momentum and all. That’s why I wasn’t at all surprised to be stuck behind a stopped 18 wheeler going up one of those steep hills. I felt dread rising as I looked left and right for an escape opening to get around the stopped truck but it wasn’t to be. I ground slowly to a halt and figured I’d be spending the night on a slant.

Amazingly, when traffic cleared for a moment, I was able to squeak into a different lane. I hadn’t expected any movement at all and I was beginning to suspect that my car wanted to get home as badly as I did. That’s why it’s too bad we were on a section of highway where the snow plows had given up for the day. Yes, that’s right, snow was allowed to build up unchecked. Worse, I had reached the point that was West of where everyone else was going. I was nearly on my own with no other cars to clear the way or smush down snow.

The snow was so high and pristine that I couldn’t see my exit. I could see where it was supposed to be, but there was no road visible, no curbs peeking up to guide me. I took a deep breath and turned to where I hoped the road was, curving in an approximation of how I remembered the curve of the exit to go and made it to the intersection of the next, smaller, highway. An intersection with a light that was red and that meant stopping again. This highway appeared to have been plowed recently, too.

I would have felt more optimistic had they plowed the exit road, but they didn’t. Right in the middle of the intersection was a wall of snow created by the plows that I had to get past, somehow. When the light turned green I threw caution to the wind. I wanted to be home, and I wanted to be home an hour ago. I floored it and let 285 horsepower plow me through the wall, scattering snow everywhere. After that it was just a matter of navigating downhill to my parking lot, pulling in, and sitting in the cold wondering, but grateful, how I managed to go fifty miles in a bad snow storm without getting stuck or in an accident.

That little story up there doesn’t mean that I don’t like snow. I do, kind of. As long as I don’t have to drive in it. Living in Austin, TX means not having snow. Not real snow. We’ll get a light dusting, maybe. It doesn’t usually last longer than a day. It sure puts the fear into people around here, though.

But I miss the silence of standing out in the cold night air listening to the snowflakes fall. Everything goes quiet except for the wind blowing. The night seems a bit brighter with the snow covered ground reflecting the light back up into the sky. It’s a peaceful feeling, though. Like the whole world has stopped except for you and the snow.

It was also fun, and exciting at the time, to try and figure out if there’d be school the next day. Getting a snow day was like winning the lottery. Until the make up days kicked in and shortened summer vacation. But that’s something else; right now we’re talking about winter.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned how the back of our house reminded me of Narnia. Since I’m old (I’m old, not anyone else who’s my age — it’s my prerogative to think that way, Ivy, so don’t you go saying I’m calling you old) so I’ll go ahead and describe it again. Behind our house we had quite a bit of lawn and a small forest bordered the end of the property. As luck would have it our neighbors had a light in the back yard that looked like an old gas lamp. When you got a good covering of snow back there you can almost imagine it’s what Lucy saw as she emerged from the wardrobe. Except for the houses and stuff. That’s not important.

It’s 10:15 AM. I’ve typed in 1,371 words. My pot of coffee is gone and I can’t decide if I should make another one or not. If I do, it’ll probably be the flavored decaf. Sometimes I really wish I had one of those single serve coffee machines. It would make times like this a wee bit easier, you know?

I should also open the blinds so the birds can get some sunlight. I’m watching a movie, but neither my heart nor my head is into it. Maybe I should switch over to music? Meh.

There’s always some housework to do, but I don’t feel like doing that either. I guess I’ll just go and make sure my clothes are clean for tomorrow.

You woke up feeling nostalgic, sentimental and oh, so amorous. Fortunately, you can devote every waking moment to the pursuit of your partner’s happiness. Of course, when you give, you also receive … all kinds of things.

I’ll let you, the reader, point out all the things that are wrong with this horoscope. I’ve noticed that Chrome crashes when I do the horoscope thing. Either it chokes on the really invalid claims, or it just sucks and crashes when I do a block quote.

I was putting vegetables into Zoey’s food dish yesterday. She was standing by her water dish so I grabbed a pea and asked her if she wanted it. She cocked her head at me, almost sideways.

“Well, do you want a pea?” I asked again. She just looked at me and wouldn’t take it. I popped it in my mouth. “MMmm, that’s good!” I exclaimed. I picked up another pea and held it out to her. She took it this time.

It was like in the days when she was just a youngin’. She wouldn’t eat anything new unless I tasted it while she watched. I don’t know of too many animals that would be like that.

And thus ends another day. One day runs into another now. There isn’t any to differentiate tomorrow from yesterday, night turns into day turns into night. It’s been a somewhat nice vacation, even though I haven’t done anything (really) or gone anywhere (really). Just taking the time off has been good for me, but it’s probably time to start getting busy again. Time to get on a schedule that’s dictated by someone other than a pack of hungry animals. When I start working again, perhaps I’ll be able to afford to hire someone to look after the birds and cat and go off somewhere. Like Colorado. Or a cruise to a tropical island.

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