Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Scary Thing Happened on the Way Home

Our little family just returned two days ago from our annual vacation to Mexico. The timing couldn't have been better, as we have been pounded with bitter cold temperatures and massive amounts of snow since December 2009. It's been snowng and cold since LAST FREAKIN' YEAR!!! Can you believe it? It sounds even worse when you put it like that.

Later this week I will entertain you with hilarious stories from a trip I have named "The Clampetts go to Tullum", but for today I am going to take a lesson from Quentin Tarantino and start from the end of the story. The airplane ride home.

It started out as a normal everyday flight back to the U.S. We arrived at the Cancun airport a few hours before our flight was due to take off. Check in was the usual nightmare, with multiple forms to fill out regarding our legal status and intentions to not try to smuggle fruit out of the country. The usual. We proceeded to the security check in point and passed our carry on luggage through the evil x ray machine. Everything seemed fine until my carry on bag was stopped through the machine. I looked over the conveyor belt to see a little Mexican man frowning at the computer screen in front of him with very furrowed brows. A quick look down the belt showed that it was my bag he was frowning at. Now, at that point I honestly couldn't tell you what was packed in that bag. I knew I had nothing dangerous, I mean come on, I am a harmless 37 year old housewife, but I also didn't know if there was shampoo or something in there either. Another security officer picked up my bag, placed it in front of me, and proceeded to go through it. Would you like to know the dangerous weapon they found? It was my son's toy airplane. Apparently you cannot take an airplane on an airplane. We all got a good laugh over it, and we were able to proceed to our gate. After a quick lunch we boarded our plane and figured we were finished with vacation drama. Boy were we wrong!

I guess we were probably over Virgina when it happened. At this point it was about 6:30 pm and we had been on the plane for about 3 and 1/2 hours. We figured we would be landing soon, so we were a little shocked when the plane made a sudden turn. And another turn. And yet another turn. It didn't take long to figure out that we had just flown in a circle. That was a little alarming, to say the least. The next thing we knew, the captain came on the speaker to tell us that BWI Airport was currently closed because an unidentified person had run onto a runway. My sister-in-law's jaw dropped. Heck, my jaw dropped about 3 feet. As did my stomach. Then the captain explained that we only had about 20 minutes of fuel left and we may have to divert to Richmond International. RICHMOND??? VIRGINIA??? What the heck am I going to do in RICHMOND??? I, of course, being prone to sudden bouts of drama, was getting visions of terrorist plots and planes crash landing, and the pilot episode of Lost. My sister-in-law, Nichole, and I grabbed each other's arms and just sat there in shock trying to stay calm for the children. I was ready to cry, but I couldn't because my daughter was sitting right next to me, obliviously playing her DS. After 5 of the longest minutes of my life, the captain came back on the tell us it was a false alarm and we would be landing shortly. The entire airplane cheered and we fastened out seat belts for landing.

So that was it, we are officially back safe from Mexico. Part one of the story will be coming soon once I fully recover from leaving paradise to almost crash land in the freakin' snow. (yeah, I told you I was dramatic) Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard #2 update

I am reporting here from day 1 of blizzard #2 here in the Northeast.

I can remember as a child reading the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite book of the series was always "Little House in the Big Woods", the first book that dealt with Laura's early childhood in Wisconsin. I enjoyed the descriptions of the woods, the animals they encountered, and their efforts to live off of the land.

As an adult I discovered the series again. I read through all the books and discovered that I enjoyed "The Long Winter" much more. I found it to be very well written and I appreciated the drama that accompianied the family's efforts to survive a winter in which blizzards were the norm rather than the exception. I felt their pain as they struggled to stay warm and celebrated with them when the first warm breezes of spring appeared, meaning that the supply train would soon be running again. I even started a small investigation of my own, to see if the dates and locations for the book coincided with a phenomenon I had read about called the "Little Ice Age". (They do match up, by the way)

Well, I now feel like I am living that book. Last week's snowstorm was severe, but beautiful in it's own way. The lonely desolation of the snow covered landscape seemed to inspire memories of Robert Frost poems that I studied in school. This week's snowstorm, which is piling multiple feet of snow on top of the previous multiple feet of snow, is just plain frightening. I am desperately trying to clear a path to the heat pump just like Charles Ingalls tried to clear a path to the cows. The intention is no less urgent. Just as they rationed food to try to keep enough to survive while waiting for the supply train, I am rationing milk products while waiting for the snow to stop enough to make a 7-11 run.

At the same time, though, I realize how lucky we are to be living through this in 2010. I can talk to my friends through the internet. I can get entertainment through the radio and television. I am praying currently that the power doesn't go out, as we are really a generation that does not know how to entertain ourselves. In Laura Ingall's time, there was no television, cable, Wii, or computers. They didn't need all the distractions, they were busy surviving. Baking their own bread, milking their own rapidly freezing cows, and twisting straw into something they could burn for heat.

So who is to say that they weren't better off in some ways. I guess if you aren't used to having instant entertainment piped into your house, you don't really need it. Maybe we should take a cue from Ingalls family and just enjoy this rare opportunity in this time and age to just be together as a family, and thank God that we still have power and food.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nothing going on, I'm just Lost!

It has snowed again. More snow is headed here tonight. The reports are varied for our area. Some forecasters are saying a dusting. Some are saying we should get 1 to 3 inches. My husband called from work today to tell me he heard 6 inches overnight. I doubt anyone will know for sure until after it has already happened. But, in the meantime, a situation has developed at my house.

The situation is: Nothing.

Nothing is new. I have not gone anywhere interesting in the past week. Nothing interesting has happened in my life. My daughter goes to school and comes home. We can't go outside, so we just sit inside and do inside things. We have made so many art projects I don't think our rugs will ever recover. We have read every book we own. And we watch tv. We watch a lot of tv. Too much tv. I can now sing the theme song to Spongebob Squarepants from memory, and do often.

My husband and I have also discovered a show. We have started watching Lost. This always happens to me. I will get on the bandwagon and start watching a hit tv show that is gripping the nation, but I will usually start watching well after the rest of the country has discovered it. I don't think I started watching Friends until season 3 or 4. I didn't get into Weeds until about halfway through season 2. This is a personal record for me, getting into a show as it is starting it's last season. Season 6.

What the heck is wrong with me? Why on earth didn't I discover it before? It is a cultural phenomenon. Such is the power of this show, it has the ability to affect when the PRESIDENT gives his STATE OF THE UNION speech. Now that is power. Fifty years from now, will the high school history books devote a paragraph in the Obama chapter to how he rescheduled the speech as so not to conflict with America finding out whether the hydrogen bomb detonated, effectively wiping out 6 seasons of drama on a mysterious South Pacific Island. I guess we will find out.

Anyway, since through the magic of NetFlix we are only just finishing season 1, I don't think we are going to catch up in time to watch tonight's season premiere. I am tempted to watch it anyway, as I have read ahead and know basically what is going on, although I have no idea who any of the new characters are.

Anything, I guess, to keep me busy while it snows. I really can't wait until spring.