I've been missing for awhile. A friend e-mailed me to ask if I was OK, as I was unusually silent lately. I appreciate her concern. Out of everyone in my life, she's the only one who checked, and I've never actually met her in person. So for Christine I'll give a short recap, and if you were worried but too shy to ask....this one's for you too.
It's been raining for three weeks. I'm not exaggerating. Except for an occasional afternoon or morning of sunshine, it's been raining and cold. If global warming continues in this manner I'll have moved to a southern climate only to have that Minnesota weather follow me. That would be ironical, to say the lest.
Because it has been raining I haven't been riding. Now, I'm no super athlete training for a big race. True. But I enjoy riding and my body reminds me often that it's not being used to the fullest of its abilities. I've replaced it with mad dashes across town on the city bike for work or walking to work when it's just raining too much but it's just not the same. My road bike has a thin layer of frozen dust on it....it ain't pretty.
Another reason I haven't been riding is because I've been working a lot, sometimes five days a week. Or nights, which are even harder on me. Working with kids requires constant vigilance, not just to make sure they don't play with the kitchen knives, fall off a balcony or in any other creative way hurt themselves or the other kids. That's important. What's tiring is the mental work involved. Everything I say has to be run through a variety of filters....the parents, my own value system and the twisted little minds of the children themselves. Because let's face it, a debate team of three year olds would wipe the floor with any college team on the planet. Every word out of your mouth comes back to haunt you because you were either too specific or not specific enough in a particular situation. Logic plays little part in their arguments, their most powerful tool is the ability to say the same thing over and over and over and over again. Arguing, time outs and conversations about why are wearing on this old mind. On the other hand neither of them can negotiate well. When I offer two books for bedtime Miles counters with a loud and confident "No! One book!" and then looks at me like he just negotiated peace in the Middle East. Don't worry, even though it takes me ten minutes to convince him that two books is a better deal, I do it. I'm not a monster.
I've been working a lot of nights and have come to the conclusion that even though I'm no longer one of the morning people, I still have a long way to go before I become a night person. Or maybe I just need to be better about insisting on my nap. I'm going to make an awesome elderly woman. I have learned to love my naps and sleeping in till I wake up, ie without an alarm clock. Naps = happy Michele. The math is easy on that one.
In a moment of rash optimism during a sunshiny day we turned the heat off. Naturally the next day temperatures plunged and the sun disappeared. Our apartment is made of stucco and plaster and stone. If you want ice cold water we can provide it. Why not just turn the heat on again, you ask? We tried it, but now it makes an incredibly strange and loud noise and the radiators stay cold. We'll wait till the summer to get it fixed. If we want heat we have to huddle around the electric heater or wrap up in blankets.
An unexpected consequence of no heat is that our clothes don't dry for days. Sometimes a whole week. Which is tough for Leif, who's been riding rain or shine. Although after a couple of kilometers in the rain, what's the difference?
Our toilet remains unpredictable. It performs perfectly when we have guests and does its Niagra Falls impersonation when they leave. I'm not being sensitive or imagining things. One of these days we're gonna have to borrow a super tall ladder and fix it. In other bathroom related news, the drains are working perfectly. So perfectly in fact that when I drain the kitchen sink after dishes I hold the counter so I don't get sucked in. Makes me wonder what happened down below to make things work so wonderfully.
That's about it I think. If I remember anything really, really outstanding I'll add them. Chances are this is as exciting as it gets. Which for a winter in Florence isn't all that bad, I guess.