My several month hiatus can be easily explained (can't they all?). First and foremost, several near-catastrophies blipped on my mental radar, rendering all else moot. Second, I was simply so busy I forgot this dear little blog of mine even existed. Much chai tea and cosseting have gone into making it feel that it was not ignored on purpose, merely a result of my scatterbrained actions, and the result of one big event after another pushing all other thoughts into the cobwebbed corners of my noggin.
So what have we missed, my non-existent readers? How about a snowstorm. In October. I had to go in to work the evening of the 28th for a special Halloween program; it had started snowing at 1:30 in the afternoon, so there was at least a couple of inches already on the ground when I headed out my door at 3:30. My Corolla has front-wheel drive, but I was still sliding all the way to work, a thirty-minute commute. I wanted so badly to call out because of the weather but I knew a lot of employees would be doing the same and I didn't want to leave them short-handed. The whole evening was a PR nightmare, culminating in the cancellation of the event and the offer of full refunds after branches started falling down where kids and their parents were walking for the festivities. You couldn't see the Jack-O-Lanterns 10 yards from the back of the visitor center for all the snow coming down! It took me well over one hour to get back home, the roads were so treacherous. The wet, heavy snow on top of trees still holding on to autumn foliage brought down a lot of trees, as well as power lines, so our apartment was in the dark when I finally got home. My husband had an equally treacherous drive home from his work place in his rear-wheel Chevy pick-up.
Six days later, power was finally restored to our street. Six days of not being able to cook, bathe, or keep food cold. I was stuffing the fridge and freezer with chunks of snow to keep products from spoiling, and we used a tailgate grill to cook most of our meals. The entire second and third floors of our apartment were closed off to conserve what heat we could glean from sunshine. The living room floor became our bed, with every available blanket and pillow down to make things more warm and comfortable. It was a nomadic existence, and I'd rather not experience it any time soon. Back in the Ice Storm of 2008, my family had been caught without power for over a week; I remember heating water on our woodstove to wash our hair and dishes and collecting snow and ice to melt into water for our horses before we were able to find a generator to use. This time, in the freak October 2011 Snowstorm, my husband and I had no generator. My step-mother-in-law (a mouthful, I know!) and her family got their power back 2 days before us, but had also had the use of a generator and had invited us to come down and stay with them, but I've never felt welcome in that house and I knew it would be loud and overcrowded with friends and relatives who were also taking advantage of the hospitality. My husband and I were also worried about pipes freezing, and we wanted to stay close to our landlady, who was also our neighbor. Nelly, an adorable 90-year old woman, had rented our apartment to us for a price our newlywed budget could afford, and since her family did not live nearby we wanted to make sure she was alright and getting food. Any warm meal we made the first few days was portioned out so she received some as well. One of her nieces actually came and got her our third day without power, so at least she would be in a warm house with family and proper food.
After that things started to go back to normal. We had sad news for Thanksgiving - our landlady had been hospitalized and passed away. We were sad to hear this but equally worried because it meant our future at the apartment was unsure - we had never signed a lease. Other than that little cloud and both of us having to work the actual holiday, it was a good first Thanksgiving - I successfully roasted my very first turkey. I'm still quite proud.
And then the BOMB dropped. December in our household, at least for the next few years, involves stressing over finals as well as stressing over Christmas shopping. Added to that stress, I hadn't been feeling too great for a couple of days. Found out pretty fast exactly why when I peed on a stick and it gave me that little "+" sign - I was pregnant. I can't remember which started first, the crying or the hyperventilating, but either way it was not the way I had imagined finding out and telling my husband! We were both using protection because neither of us was ready to start a family.
Let me take a quick moment to say how much this surprise was a turning point. I grew up in a very Pentacostal, semi-conservative (pants were fine, sex before marriage and gays were a ticket to Hell) Church and had been raised believing in the sanctity of new life. But now faced with a new life that was not wanted, I had to make a decision for myself. I still stand by that decision, that it was the right one for both my husband and I. There were a LOT of factors going into this decision, so it wasn't made lightly. Neither of us was ready for a baby.
The rest of the time since then has been recovering from a rough winter and of course getting over some of the psychological effects of an abortion. There's no regret but there's still voices saying what I did was horrible and evil, mostly voices drummed into my brain from a lifetime of conservative teachings.
On a happy note, just before the massive snowstorm, we adopted a kitten! She's a Maine Coon mix, and completely adorable. I found her through an ad on Craigslist asking for help with a sick kitten. She had been found alone and cold in an alley, and had contracted an upper respiratory infection. The boogers are finally getting under control, but the infection at least is gone. I've named her Bellatrix, or Bella. She has more personality than her round little fluffy body can contain! She and my other cat, Maggie, at first had to be separated but are now very close and love to groom each other as well as tear through the apartment all batshit crazy.