Yep, I briefly fell off the side of the planet. Slid clear off and went radio silent for a bit.
Been busy. Busy, busy, busy.
In a few weeks, four of my siblings will be descending upon Chez Merde here for a very important event. For those who don't know, my mom and her fellow WASP will be honored next month with the Congressional Gold Medal for their service to our nation in World War II. The ceremony will take place in the Capitol Rotunda on March 10th. It's been a long time coming, and we're all thrilled. Just wish Mom could be here herself for the celebration.
In anticipation of my crackerbox apartment being Ground Zero for family staging, I've been cleaning, donating, and generally reorganizing the living daylights out of my living space. It's always been a mish-mosh junk heap of souvenirs of My Strange Life Abroad, and my attempts at downsizing have been hilarious and frustrating all at once.
And, of course, I managed to come down with bronchitis in the middle of the muddle. This was not unexpected, as my semi-annual respiratory distress was due, and always shows up at the most inconvenient time. A few days into coughing and sneezing my head off, something super fun happened.
We had a blizzard.
And then, my power went out.
For 60 hours.
When you are sick and your head and lungs are compromised, there's nothing like nearly three days of Little House on the Prairie living to make things worse. By the time the power came back on, I could see my breath in the apartment (which has one wall that's nearly all glass, thanks to the balcony, which doubled as my fridge during the outage.) I ate servings of cold crockpot chili (disgusting) that I kept cool in a snowbank on the balcony. It was gross, but I was damn lucky I'd made that pot of relatively nourishing grub just before the power went out. By the end, I could have just keep the stuff chilled in the apartment itself; it was 35F in my living room by then, and my chest was rattling painfully with each cough.
Some of my neighbors had made their escape on the second day, digging out from the 30" inches that fell on our 'hood. My back and my lungs were just not up to the dig at that point. I did go out on Day Two only to find that a plow had created a five-foot wide, yard-deep wall behind my car. I hoisted my white flag and returned to the apartment and the slight warmth of my sofa.
I spent the last full day quite literally hibernating in the cold, unmoving, swaddled in blankets and multiple layers of clothing, with a large piece of fleece I'd planned to cut up for scarves, wrapped loosely around my head. I looked like some crazy 18th century poet, shuffling around the frosty space of my hovel. Oh, I would have killed for a fireplace. By the end, I was considering starting a fire on the balcony.
No. I'm not kidding.
I *did* have a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, and candles. Febreeze candles. "Pumpkin Harvest" Febreeze candles. If I *NEVER* smell pumpkin spice again, it will be too soon. Far too soon.
WAMU (our NPR station here in the DC area) and WTOP (local news/weather) kept me company. I especially appreciated Ed Walker's Big Broadcast that last cold night. I had just my nose exposed from under the fleece and layers as I listened to drama, suspense, and wonderful old comedies from the golden age of radio in the otherwise silent dark.
With the help of dear friends - and just in time for the next storm to smack us - my car was unburied and I was free, at last! But my office was closed for a whole week, and despite the fact that I'm still sick, I'm eager to get the hell out of my apartment and see people other than the grocery clerks at Harris Teeter and the guys at the Montgomery County package store. (I bought a bottle of Irish whiskey -- hoping a shot at night will help me stop coughing and get me back on a semi-normal sleep schedule. Fat lot of good it's doing right now, of course -- I'm typing this at 2:20 in the blessed ayem!)
Even though I've been home for over a week now, I never quite got caught up on all that cleaning frenzy I'd started before the storms. Been too wussy to do much. Books for donation are piled all over the place, bags for Salvation Army spill into the entryway. Maybe I'll be overcome with the Olympic spirit and some "citius, altius, fortius" mojo will get my butt back in gear. I have 20 days before I'm the hostess with (slightly less than) the mostest. And there's that little thing called "work" in there somewhere, too.
Plus, I'm starting an art class this week: Drawing 101 for Grown-ups (more or less) at the local community college. I haven't taken a class for so long, I'm not sure if I have the attention span to sit for a couple of hours once a week.
We shall see.
Wish me luck.