I don’t know what it is ‘bout the first significant snow fall of the year, it seems to have some kind of rejuvenating effect on me, if only for a little while. There’s something about waking up early in the morning when all is quiet and the ground is covered in white. The sound of the few cars that make their way down my block is muffled. The only imprints in the snow are those of neighborhood cats, squirrels, birds and other assorted critters you might expect to find in the ‘burbs. That’s what me and borgette awoke to this Sunday…

Although this snow fall paled in comparison as far as amounts go to one I’ve written about earlier, nevertheless, there was fun to be had.

It didn’t start out that way though…

I awoke early, as is my wont, and decided to get my fix of the daily news and was greeted with the news about the capture of Saddam Hussein. Being somewhat of a news junkie, I planned to spend most of the day either absorbing all of the views of the various pundits and then , conclude my Sunday ritual by watching football and doing assorted chores around the house.

Borgette had other plans…

After coming downstairs and seeing the snow it was all I could do to shovel some breakfast in her before she wanted to go out and wreak havoc with the other kids in the neighborhood. The action started at about 10:30 and kept up until 1:00 or so when most all of the other kids went home for lunch. I had not yet ventured outside and was, instead, content to idle away my afternoon.

Did a kid ever pester you? Jeez, you’d think that winter was about to be over or we were moving to Phoenix or that that somehow mother nature would forget the recipe needed to make snow.

And so it was that I ventured outdoors at about 3:30 in the afternoon and got involved in a snowball fight of epic proportions. At first, it started out slowly. A few tentative tosses of snow back and forth between a father and his daughter but then the kid radar must have gone up and soon we were surrounded by about 6 or 7 kids from around the block. We must have started sounding like we were having fun because a couple of parents from around the neighborhood decided to put on their winter gear and join in the fun.

When all was said and done, we had about 15 people randomly tossing snowballs at each other as we hid behind trees and cars and any other place might have offered up some form of protection. Naturally, I tried focusing in on my kid and I think I hit her just about as many times as Montana hit Rice.

This kept up for a couple of hours – I took the kids inside, made some hot chocolate, put their wet clothes over the heating vents and in the dryer and eventually sent them on their way.

Later, since I was little worn out, my kid and I ordered a pizza and settled in to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, a first for her.

I remember climbing the stairs to put her to bed and tuck her in. Amid the various aches and pains the come with aging, I thought to myself, “No adult should be allowed to have this much fun.”

A final note, yesterday, the school called and made me pick her up early since she was running a fever and they thought she might be coming down with the flu. I was stiff and sore and felt the return of a massive head cold that I’ve been battling. I attribute some of it to running around like idiots in the snow and getting drenched. It was all worth it.

Well, most of my local friends are sick or lacerated or both right now. Me, I'm down with the second cold I've caught this month today.

Multiple lacerations amongs the braunbeck males. braunbeck was at work last night using a floor buffer when the machine got snagged on something. When that happens, the top will start to spin, so you're supposed to let go and step back. He did, but not quickly enough; one of the hard handles spun around and axed into the palm of his hand. He lost a chunk of skin and got a deep cut and bled all over the place.

I caught up with him at the emergency room last night; he'd already been there for two hours. The place was packed full of people with influenza; lots of sick babies in there, too. Although I feel for the folks with the flu, I really wished the hospital had thought to provide separate waiting rooms for those without influenza so as to not spread it around to everyone else.

If I catch the flu, I can't go home for Christmas. My mother on top of being 74 has a crack inside her skull from her pituitary tumor so that there's a passage between her sinuses and her brain. If she gets a sinus infection, it could kill her. I can't bring sickness home to her, and I only get to see her twice a year. Flu bad.

But back to braunbeck. After two more hours of standing around trying not to breathe the air, we got escorted back to one of the ER's exam rooms. The physician's assistant took his temporary dressing off. The cut went down almost to his tendons; I'd never seen what human fat and muscle looks like up close before. The anaesthetic shots looked like they hurt like a bitch, but it wasn't so bad when they sewed him up. I'm hoping our nurse-in-training housemate can take the nylon sutures out later; It'd be nice not to have to try to get a doctor's appointment with all the flu going around.

This morning, we learned that braunbeck's nephew Eric was tripped in the schoolyard by another student. Eric fell face-first onto some rocks, shattering his glasses and imbedding glass in his eye. Ack. His mom was of course really freaked out, but so far it looks like the glass didn't hit his cornea, lens or his retina, so he might be okay after some minor surgery and a few weeks of wearing an eyepatch. There were plenty of witnesses so the other kid's parents are going to pay the medical treatment costs, which I shudder to consider.

Sometimes I really hate the fact that I don't really know how to tell people about the feelings that I have. Last night while hanging up with my boyfriend, I had a song inside of my soul that I wanted to sing to him, but I couldn't get it out. My feelings are like a plague that spreads throughout my body, and sometimes the plague helps me out, sometimes I don't even know where it comes from. It often hurts me that I can't get out the things that I want to say. Most of the time I know what I want to say I just don't know what words to use. Like, sometimes hyperboles aren't strong enough for me to express my feelings.

I want to tell my boyfriend how much I loved him, but I just don't know how. I'm not ready to show him how much I love him, because I want my first time to be special. I don't want it to be rushed because my mother might be coming home soon, or because my little sister would definitely tell on me.

Sometimes, every once in a while, an artist will put out a song, or make a piece of art work that expresses how I feel. Then I feel like I'm not alone in the world.

My Grandmother's death certificate reads December 17th, 2003; but it happened on the 16th.

It? It. An urgent phone call.

"Can't you go any faster?" asks my aunt.
It is already too late. So why are we in a hurry?

All I think about is my Grandfather, possibly alone at another aunt's apartment. I think about the way he cried when Grandmother went to the hospital in November, and how I held his hand. I wish I was doing the same thing now.

We see her, still connected to the apparatus of modern medicine. It's as if she's about to open her eyes and say, weakly, "Why are you all standing around in the middle of the night?" or maybe "You woke me up". More likely, "Oh, hello!", happy to see such a large gaggle of descendants.

In the hospital corridor, I am impatient. I know there is nothing I can do for the dead. If it were to happen again now, I would linger -- not from any sense of regret -- I don't know why. Ignorance born of experience.

Duties of death follow; funeral (I do not cry), will, obituary, grief. Christmas.

When we arrive in the town where she lived, Maple Creek, I expect her to be waiting. Instead, the cupboard beside her chair is empty and handwritten notes in the house are suddenly transformed from grocery lists to weapons of emotional torture.

Weeks later I still think, occasionally, "Shouldn't someone be with Grandma at the hospital?" Couldn't we have done something? Isn't there a way it could have been prevented?

How much worse must it be for her daughters. For Grandfather, her companion of just barely more than sixty years. I am just a grandchild, one of eight. I did not know her well enough. I was getting to know her. There is so much I will never know. I wanted my children to know their great-grandmother. I wanted to invite her to my wedding. I wanted to get into the habit of emailing her, I wanted to ask her to teach me how to hook rugs. Looking at pictures of her from the summer, I can't believe such a vital-looking person could be gone.

I have never experienced the death of someone I know, before; somehow I feel spoiled. Seventeen years untouched by death. If only everyone should be so lucky.

Earlier this fall, I planned a New Years' reflection. A journal entry, perhaps a daylog. This year I began to understand mortality, I would say. This year my mother was sick for months, made fragile by pneumonia in summer. This year my grandmother came to the city so we could care for her, went to the hospital because of imbalanced electrolytes. I did not plan to say that she died there, her initial illness left behind. I did not plan to write of the strange remembrance, the question: What was it? Was it pneumonia, a simple inability to breathe? Could she have been saved? Was it internal bleeding, unknown and unstoppable? Was it inevitable? Was she in pain? Is this abrupt fall what she wanted? Did she know, when she asked for my Grandfather that night? Is she, now? How is it that we can go on so calmly, when she is gone? Does she watch us, scattering in her wake?

And why do I write? What is it about this that makes me yearn for semi-formal confession as never before?

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