Snowy Day Memories

It was quiet this morning when I woke up. And calm, very calm. I could feel Harvey’s warm little body at the end of the bed, nestled against my legs. He loves sleeping in as much as I do. I stretched and opened my eyes. The daylight peeking through the blinds hinted at another drab winter day. Time to rise, no shine permitted today though.

I was very pleasantly surprised by what I saw when I stepped into the living room. Huge, incredibly fluffy snowflakes were swirling and twirling all around outside. The roads and rooftops had all been blanketed in crisp white snow. Watching it fall, fluttering to the ground in fat sticky flakes made me feel like I was inside a snow globe. It was beautiful, and about damn time.

snowy days

Our winter hasn’t been very magical at all this year. It’s been downright depressing actually. We’ve had barren, snowless grey days and bizarre temperature spikes, where it feels practically balmy one day then aggressively cold the next. We’ve had more rain than snow, and it’s been a bloody nuisance. I’d take snow over rain any day. It makes me so happy seeing actual snow, falling with purpose, taking off its coat to stay a while. My heart rejoiced watching the snow fall, unrelentingly, all morning long. There it is, there’s the winter I know and love. Winter is all about snow. I love the feeling of snow falling down all around me. Snowflakes sticking to my hair and coat. Tromping through the snow in thick clunky boots. Mischievously balling it up to toss at someone unsuspecting.

I remember winter stretching out forever when I was a kid. Long endlessly sunny and snowy days out in the burbs, my sisters and I laughing and playing with our neighbourhood friends. Building snow forts, making snow angels, having snowball fights, sledding down huge mountains of plowed snow in the library parking lot. Racing down the snow banks on our Krazy Karpets with reckless abandon. Being told to come in for a hot lunch, soup and grilled cheese, to warm us up. We’d come home, blasting through the front door like a pack of wild dogs, hungry and hyper from our morning adventures. Peeling ourselves out of our snowsuits, so impatient to be free of them. Boots, hats, mittens, socks, and scarves cast off and flung all over the foyer, Mom rounding up all those winter necessities and dispersing them throughout the house to dry over heating vents and radiators.

We’d scarf lunch down like we hadn’t eaten in days, recouping all the energy burned that morning. Stockpiling more energy, fuelling up, eager to get back outside again for more snowy fun. My imagination already a hundred miles ahead of itself, dreaming up an outlandish afternoon caper. That’s all you needed back then to be happy, a fresh snowfall, some pals, and your imagination.

I have fond memories of super special winter days when my dad would take us skating. He’d shovel off a sizeable patch of pond, over at the golf course, where nobody would bother us. My sisters and I had the whole pond to ourselves, around and around we’d go, skating until our legs were jelly. Skating until the sun started setting. Begging our dad for just five more minutes, please!

I remember a whole day spent sledding with my family, mom and dad, my sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins. Everyone was there. Again over at the golf course, at the back, off of the 16th or 17th hole I think. Where the snow was freshly fallen, completely untouched, not a track or footprint in it. Where nobody else would be, our secret sledding place. The hill was steep, so enormously steep. It was a long ride down and a difficult climb back up. Dad and the uncles would pull us kids back up the hill on the sleds when we whined about having to climb it, only to launch us back down it again once we reached the top. I watched with shock as my older sister went whizzing down the hill at an incredible speed, narrowly missing the trunk of a massive pine tree. A close call if ever there was one. I remember tripping up the hill, falling face first into it, getting the neckline of my coat full of snow. Being dusted off by my mom and sent back on my way. We all went back to my Oma and Opa’s house afterwards, to warm up by the wood stove and sip hot chocolate.

We still talk about that day at family get togethers. That perfect winter day following an enormous overnight snowfall. The sun was out and the air was crisp. The day primed for adventure. Everyones hearts overflowing with laughter and joy.

That’s the winter I know and love best, snowy and enchanting. Inviting endless possibility and glee, promising lots of lovely memories. I hope today that some lucky little kids got to have a day of perfect winter fun with their siblings and friends, like I got to plenty of times growing up.

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Ring-a-ding-ding

Finally!

Finally I get to wear my engagement ring. Now I’m starting to feel like it’s a reality.

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I don’t wear rings. I never have. My entire life up to this point, I’ve lived it totally ringless. For one reason only. The paralyzing fear that a ring would get stuck on my finger. It happened once when I was little and scarred me. I was never the same again.

It was a nice afternoon; sunny, summertime. I’d used every available wile in my arsenal to sneak away from nap-time. My mom worked nights and had three rambunctious little girls all very close in age. My dad worked all day. She had to work at night and be a mom during the day. Sleep was just peppered in wherever it could fit. So every afternoon we’d have to have naps with her. And because we weren’t particularly trustworthy, we’d all have to nap in the master bed together with my mom. So she could keep an eye on us and catch some Z’s herself.

I hated it though, I never wanted to nap. More often than not I’d just lay there, eyes closed deceptively, biding my time. Eventually, everyone’s breathing would slow down just enough. And I’d know they were out. I’d take my time, slinking inch by inch towards the end of the bed. I couldn’t jump off the side of the bed because I was put in the middle to prevent just such a thing. So I slinked and slid my way to the end of the bed. I was stealthy. I slipped off the bed without a peep. Then I crawled, very slowly towards the door. I pushed it open with the utmost care, making sure it didn’t creak. Then, once I’d crawled through it, I would shut it just as tenderly as I’d opened it.

Yes! Home free at long last! I’d scuttle off to my room for some quality play time. And it was the best. I didn’t have to share my toys or play nice. This was my time and nobody was going to tell me what to do. Not my parents, not my sisters, not anyone. My room was an oasis, filled with treasures for the taking. And I revelled in the splendour of it that day. A little bit of colouring, blew some bubbles, made a few play-doh figures. Like I said, it was a nice afternoon. I was going to play with some dinky dinosaurs next. I’d just have to find them first. Most likely in that wooden abyss on the other side of the room. Otherwise known as the toy-box.

I was rummaging around, looking for a triceratops for the T-Rex to eat when I noticed the ring. Some piece of crap ring. Either from a machine at the grocery store or a birthday party loot bag. Just sitting at the bottom of the toy-box. I grabbed it and shoved it on my finger, forcing it over the knuckle. I admired it for a minute or two, then decided it was lame.

But when I tried to take it off, it wouldn’t budge. Uh oh. I tried again, the ring stayed put.

Bad, scary thoughts starting swirling around my head. I was going to be trouble, big trouble. I snuck away from nap-time again. Third offence that week, an offence worthy of a spanking. It never occurred to me to sneak back in and maintain a ruse that I’d napped. I just played and played, wrapped up in my own little world, until they all woke up and I was caught red-handed. And this time I’d be caught with this disgusting little ring stuck on my finger. Which was starting to look slightly purple. Hell, I’d probably lose my finger long before they woke!

THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING TO ME!

I started to panic. I really just freaked the fuck out. My heart thumped in my chest, I thrashed around wildly on the floor while I wrenched on the ring. Desperately struggling with all my might to liberate my finger. It wasn’t working. Nothing was working. This is it, this is how I’m going to die I thought to myself. I’d never been so scared in my whole life (up to that point anyways.) I started to sob, silently into the carpet.

Just when I’d resigned myself to the loss of a finger, and possibly death, a thought occurred to me.

Water. Soap and water. Lots and lots of soap and water!

I dashed into the bathroom and cranked the faucet full blast. I scrubbed my hand furiously with the bar of soap. The ring started to turn around my finger. I kept at it. Dousing with water, scrubbing with soap, turning the ring. Round and round it turned, a little bit further up my knuckle at a time. Just a little bit more, come on.

Finally, I felt it give and I was free.

The ordeal was over. I breathed the most grateful sigh of relief and dried my hands. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The wide-eyed girl looking back at me was visibly rattled. Still worried that someone would find out what had happened and there’d be hell to pay.

I poked my head out into the hallway. The door to the master bedroom was still closed. I couldn’t believe my luck. They were still napping! Nobody had heard a thing.

I went back to my room and resumed playing, quietly. I swore to myself that I was never going to put a ring on my finger again. They were nothing but trouble. Evil. Pure evil, sent from the depths of hell to destroy you.

Then D went and flashed me the bling. It was beautiful. Nothing like that piece of crap that had traumatized me some 20 years ago. It was too beautiful to resist. I put it on, nervously at first. I had to be brave. I had to champion that old fear of mine. So I forged ahead, bravely popping that rock on my finger. Unfortunately, it was way too big. D had to make a complete guess at the size. He had absolutely no point of reference. It sucked that I couldn’t wear it, I genuinely wanted to.

We took the ring in to be sized immediately once we’d gotten home from our trip. A week later, we got the call that it was ready. I was so excited. For the first time in my life I’d been given a ring that was made just for me. I was going to wear it, and I wasn’t going to be scared of it!

D went in and grabbed the ring while I waited in the car. When he came back, he handed me the ring, anticipating my happiness. I put it on. I had a slight difficulty getting it over my knuckle. But, I reassured myself that it was fine. They were professionals. They had measured my finger, so it was going to fit perfectly.

I looked at it for a minute. Something didn’t seem right. My finger looked kind of smushed to me. A feeling of dread swept over me. It’s too snug. They made it too small. I tried to get it off and it wouldn’t budge. I was instantly transported back in time to that summer afternoon when I snuck away from the nap. I started to freak out, pulling at the ring. I twisted and pulled. After a minute or two, I was able to roll it off my finger.

“Fuck that shit,” I said. Shaken and upset again. My old fears coming back to haunt me.

Mar was with us at the time. She tried to reassure me that it was fine, it would loosen up over time. But I knew that wasn’t the answer. Something was wrong.

I went back into the store with D this time. We asked the girl behind the counter to check the size of my ring. It was the same girl who did the sizing for me a week ago. I didn’t find her particularly helpful the first time we’d met. She seemed like she’d rather be anywhere else. Unenthusiastic and dim. Those are the two words that best describe her.

Sure enough, they’d fucked up my ring. It was a size too small. I was livid and I let this girl have it. Tore a strip right out of her, I did. She gave me a half-hearted apology and said that they’d size it again. Another week of waiting…

We got the call, and went out to get it this weekend. I wasn’t holding my breath. I told D, “when you get it, ask them to measure it and make sure it’s the right size. Don’t even bring it back to me if it’s wrong or I will flip the fuck out.”

frig you ring

rocking the bling

Luckily for everyone involved, this time it fit. Perfectly.