Wednesday, December 15, 2010

COLD, BURRRRRR…SHOPPING, BAHHHHH!

The riffle, looking across from the cottage. Notice how the mist has frosted the small bushes.

This morning, after an exordium of pitiful moans and groans due to a decrepit body apparently in all-out revolt, I finally dragged my carcass from bed at 6:30 a.m. Whereupon, in a posture resembling that of Quasimodo, I gimped into the great room to start the coffeemaker. The thermometer outside the window read a measly 4˚F—which for you Celsius folks is -15.55˚. Cold by anyone's scale. 

Snow on bankside hackberries. 
Twenty minutes later I had breakfast ready and called Myladylove to arise and dine—an invitation which had to be repeated several times at increasing volume, seeing as how she was buried like a hibernating woodchuck under many layers of blankets. Eventually, sharp mutterings—muffled, but doubtless uncharitable—emanated from beneath the stack of covers. I understood their cause, though I confess an inability to suppress a smirking moment of fiendish satisfaction when her subsequent efforts to get up prompted a series of poignant wails and whimpers. Misery does love company.

The view upstream…
The reason for our shared wretchedness came from what we'd put ourselves through the day before—though not all of yesterday's ordeal was directly our fault. 

The day began with Myladylove's 8:00 a.m. dentist appointment to have the permanent cap on a cracked molar installed. The appointment's early hour necessitated leaving the cottage at 7:15 a.m. since the tooth fixer's shop is several miles beyond the far side of town. This, of course, necessitated getting  up at an hour which even owls and early risers would deem the dead of night. We did so…dutifully, though not cheerfully. 

A graceful curve of ice and water, while warm sunlight reflects off  sycamores.
At the dental office, after two hours of fiddling, it was decided the intended permanent cap did not meet our perfectionist dentist's standards. Another temporary was made and installed. At which point Myladylove—now frazzled of nerves and numb of mouth, popping Tylenol like a squirrel snarfs peanuts, whipped out the Christmas gift list and we set off to fulfill our shopping plans. This side of town boasts multiple sprawling indoor malls, dozens of strip malls, and about a gazillion retail establishments—offering a selection of merchandise limited only by physical endurance and credit limit. 

Ice, water, and frozen riffle stones, colored by the sunrise.
I can't tell you the details of what we didn't find, seeing as how unauthorized, prying eyes might read this field report. Let's just say that an astonishing percentage of items on our list were not to be found on the shelves. At 2:00 p.m. we broke for lunch. About three-quarters of the way through our meal, Myladylove said "Uh-oh," and deposited her new temporary tooth cap in her palm. 

"Call the dentist, " I said. "At least we're still on his side of town."

The dentist said he'd see her at 5:00 p.m. We hadn't meant to stay out that long, but then we hadn't figured on such unsuccessful gift shopping…or a temporary temporary. Now we had more time to shop. Oh, boy!

Looking downstream at a lot of slush.
A dozen additional stores gained us no ground whatsoever on our gift list. Exhaustion began taking its toll. On the off chance of Myladylove's getting in before the scheduled time, we headed to the dentist's early. She went inside, I remained in the car, engine and heater off, radio on, watching the last of the day's light turn orange and fade into the west. After the first hour of waiting, a weather station reported 10˚F; I estimated it was possibly 11˚F inside the Jeep, then snuggled deeper into my L.L. Bean Expedition Parka while thanking every goose for even a single contributed feather. Twenty minutes later, Myladylove, sporting a new temporary—one presumably now thoroughly glued in place—reappeared. "Let's hit a few more stores on the way home," she said. 

Had the dentist given her some "happy pill" version of Tylenol? If so where were mine?

We arrived back at the cottage just this side of 9:00 p.m. Moon the Dog was glad to see us—and even more glad to dash for the side yard. I could hear her relieved sigh all the way from the back door. I made hot cocoa and warmed bowls of Sunday's soup. We collapsed onto the couch, listened to a CD of carols while finishing our drinks…then staggered off to bed.
———————
           
Downstream sycamores lit by the rising sun.

I shot these photos of the river this morning, soon after Myladylove managed to get herself off to work. I thought the least I could do was stagger around the yard awhile, camera in hand. Double-click if you want to see any shots bigger.

30 comments:

Penny said...

Lovely photos, not sure I actually want to be there tho', happy here with about 23 degrees C.

Grizz………… said...

Penny…

Maybe that's one of the features that endears me to winter (though it's not yet officially winter) and that's the price in easy comfort you pay for the joy of its subtile beauty.

George said...

Well, just when I thought it couldn't get any colder in on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I read your post and suddenly feel warmer, My 27 degrees seems like a virtual heat wave, compared to the 4 degrees you experienced this morning. I know you love winter, Grizz, but this may put you to the test. In any event, keep the soup and hot chocolate hot, and press on to a very merry and joyful Christmas. Hopefully, your shopping is done at this point. As far as I'm concerned, Christmas joy begins when Christmas shopping ends. Have a good one!

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

Oh how I love, love these frosty Winter scenes on the river. Spectacular!!
AND I so enjoyed sharing in your day shopping and dentistry and "on-in-years" exhaustion spattered with humor and determination. Our day was like that today - out and about, despite the frigid cold. We are home now with home made mac and cheese baking and a warm fire ion the ole wood stove roaring. :-)
Alos, my nick-name is Gimpy - from when I broke my ankle as a kid and my Dad said I "gimped", not limped and those who know me all call me that. I smiled when you wrote how you "gimped". :-)

Love to you and yours
Gail
peace and hope for us all

ellen abbott said...

It's all quite beautiful but I have no desire to experience it in person.

Jenn Jilks said...

That's a great story. I hope it ends well!
Lovely photos, as always.
I miss my lake, and the water, but not too much. The deer have been fabulous to watch.
cheers from Perth!

Bonnie said...

What a day - you two deserved to linger a little longer under the covers!

Grizz………… said...

George…

It's 17˚F here at the moment, and supposed to drop a few more overnight. Snow is also predicted. Makes you wonder what winter is going to be like…

I do love winter—as well as this late, late autumn masquerading as winter. I especially love the fantastic low-angled light, and the openness of the woods and fields, the sweeping views, the wash of colors off the ice and snow. I can't explain it and I know it sounds crazy to a lot of folks, but winter stirs and speaks to something in me that summer simply never reaches.

You called it exactly right…Christmas joy begins when Christmas shopping ends. Unfortunately, my shopping remains unfinished.

Take care, my friend. Go in beauty.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

I thought you'd like the photos. I know you also enjoy winter.

I will say one thing, your day ended better—with that warm fire in the woodstove—than ours did. We were just too beat to build a fire, nearly too tired to eat. You're probably right that our exhaustion was partly due to "on-in-years" though I think the sheer amount of hours and running and crowds and traffic and frustration, not to mention Myladlove's dentistry, played the greater part in the ordeal. Shopping has always worn me out in a way that hard labor and 20-hour hikes never managed.

I always think of a gimp as like an all-over limp. I rodeoed, and have been a gimper ever since should I get really tired—because everything hurts, everything is aching, and nothing works very well.

From one gimp to another—take care and stay well.

Grizz………… said...

Ellen…

Spoken like a true sun lover. Alas, we winter aficionados are few and far between, and looked at askance by those who purchase suntan lotion by the case.

What can I say? Different strokes…

Grizz………… said...

Jenn…

Providing we manage to finish our shopping, and Myladylove's permanent cap due in next Tuesday actually fits—and the river doesn't rise—we'll be fine. Given a few months our bodies might even heal from the day's abuse and overload.

I bet you do miss your lake.

Take care…

Arija said...

Well, that report should win any short story competition!
Your photos are extraordinarily beautiful, from simple stems in the snow to all those wonderful captures of morning light amongst trees an bouncing about on the water. The only thing I cannot understand is how you could go back inside with all that beauty surrounding you. O know 4F is a little chilly, but after all, not like -40F/C with a blowing gale.

Hope that cap is still holding . . . LOL

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Deserved, perhaps—but I suspect if we hadn't forced ourselves up and out, we might have become a sort of riverbank version of John and Yoko and remained in bed for weeks.

Grizz………… said...

Arija…

Frankly, I was dressed warm enough to stay out comfortably all day. It was my aching back, stiff neck, and body's overall near-collapse feeling of having been stomped by a moose that compelled me to seek shelter, heat, food, and the soft embrace of the great room couch.

But I agree—it was really quite beautiful along the river today.

Arija said...

Thanks Grizz, pretty much the way I feel any day of the week.

Grizz………… said...

Ariaj…

Hey, you're welcome. It's all fun. And I forgot to add, the temporary cap is, so far as know, holding—but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Rusty said...

Brrrr. That freezing mist just adds to things. Just as cold here too, but at least no dental or shopping ordeal. That was quite a day you folks had! I love the way you express things though - both with camera and words. ATB!

Grizz………… said...

Rusty…

Thank you for your nice words. I'm glad you like both pics and prose.

I'll tell you what, we did have a rough time yesterday—way too long a day, way too many stores and parking lots, little luck with our shopping, and the whole dental deal to top it off. I still feel beat up!

AfromTO said...

Lovely capture of the peaches and pinks reflected in the cold whites and greys.By the way did you have a honeymoon yet?

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Thank you. See, this marvelous winter light, low yet often remarkably warm, full of tones, is one of the things I love most about winter.

Nope, our planned attempt sorta got sidetracked by my vision problems with those contacts…one thing led to another, and the window of opportunity passed. Maybe 2011 will be the honeymoon year.

Linda said...

Beautiful photos and a fun glimpse into a day in your life. Well done and well told.

Grizz………… said...

Linda…

It snowed again today here along the river—but unfortunately, I had to be out and about, trying (without much success) to finish my Christmas shopping. I'd have rather stayed home and shot photos.

Glad you liked the piece. Thank you for your nice comments.

The Solitary Walker said...

This made me smile, Grizz! I think you need a whole day in bed after that. (Though Yourladylove may rouse you to do more shopping? Or should I say non-shopping?) Be careful, though. From personal experience, after the emporium I usually need the sanitorium. And all things dental leave me mental.

Grizz………… said...

Solitary…

A day in bed! I was thinking more like a week! But…there's not even a glimmer of hope.

I spent all day yesterday running around from noon until dark, trying to finish up my shopping—and crossed off only two items. If I can get away after doing an article this morning, I plan on another day of it—but will likely not have this finished before the middle of next week.

I agree with the emporium/sanatorium observation. The dentist doesn't bother me much. And it especially doesn't bother me when it's someone else in the chair. What does bother me is that chapter four in Myladylove's cap saga is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. next Tuesday, which means getting up no later than 5:30, rushing around, driving into town, through town, and south of town during morning rush on an Interstate under renovation and chocked lane-to-lane with orange barrels—and then having to listen two hours of infomercials in the waiting room. Such thoughts can make one aspire to become a rummy in Key West.

KGMom said...

Many things to respond to--first, the dental world. Ah yes. Sounds too too similar to some of my husband's dental travails. He too has had temporary temporaries pop off. In fact, he has a repair scheduled for just after Christmas.
Second, the Christmas list. Would you believe this year we have barely a list? Our daughter-in-law just had surgery yesterday to repair a detached retina--so our Christmas plans with them hover in the air. We will visit our daughter in London, so gifts must be light enough to fit in suitcases.
Third, I heartily recommend online shopping. Saves gas, saves standing in line, saves frazzled nerves. If online shopping fails, my next strategy is gift cerficates.
Fourth, I enjoy your various similes and metaphors--Quasimodo, hibernating woodchucks etc.
Finally, the last photo is stunning--while the subject is simple, I can see the winter light shining from the left of the photo, hitting the trees with the day's last rays.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

The real problem we're having is lack of time to get things done. Myladylove has been leaving the house before 8:30 a.m. and often not getting back home until 9:00 p.m. Every day off (Tuesday) for well over the past month has been taken up by necessary doctor's appointments—including my colonoscopy and three dental trips for her, with another next Tuesday. In addition, while she normally has a half-day off on Thursday morning, that has been taken up by early customers. Plus she's had to work from noon until four, two Sundays this month (the business hasn't heretofore been open on Sundays) which include this coming Sunday—her birthday and our anniversary. There's been precious shopping together time.

We have been buying a lot of things online. However, I need several games for the wii, and I've been told "don't buy new, buy used, because once we've beat them, we'll trade them in for new ones." This is fine. There are several stores with thousands of used games on their shelves near the colleges. Students get their parents to buy the game new. They then play it—sometimes—and sell it to the second time around shop for spending money. You can purchase even the hottest just-released games for $5 to $15, which means you can buy them a half-dozen off their list instead of one in shrinkwrap. The trick is finding what you want, as the stock changes by the hour.

We have given gift cards when asked; otherwise, I like the personalized business of selecting a gift for a particular individual.

Regarding the photos…that last one—in fact all of 'em—were taken just after dawn. So that's not the rising and not the setting sun you see varnishing the sycamores just downstream from the cottage. If you look close, you'll see it's just a closer cropped version of the shot two photos above. The one you like was taken first, before the sun reached the water; the one above shows the sunlit water.

A Dicken's Christmas, huh?

Scott said...

Our bed has a dual-control electric blanket. I use my side to warm the bed before I get in, but turn it off when the covers are warm--it's too warm for me to leave on all night. Kali, on the other hand, can't get enough warmth and leaves her side on all night (at a relatively low setting). I don't need to yell entreaties to wake her up in the cold dawn; I just turn off the electricity.

Grizz………… said...

Scott…

That sounds like a delightfully impish wake-up method. Unfortunately, Myladylove is currently into hot flashes, suddenly burning BTUs like a coal-fired furnace. I've learned to sleep clinging with a death grip to my corner of the covers—otherwise, she'll have every stitch kicked onto the floor. Just last week I got up one morning and found she'd turned the temperature in the great room back to 57˚F! And one night when temperatures were in the single digits, she wanted me to open the bedroom window!

Nope, can't freeze her out. The best bet is a series of get-up directives with ever-increasing volume…and if necessary, a bluegrass CD with 5-string banjo.

KGMom said...

I am amused to learn the last photo I liked so, and assumed was day's end, was in fact an early morn.
Hmm--that all by itself speaks to my time of day preference. I am NOT a morning person. I love sunset, end of day.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

Really, there's a whole nuther crepuscular period. Honest. And though it sometimes resembles dusk, it sometimes doesn't. We morning folk call it dawn. Get up and see it sometime. BTW, you'll have to look east—that's the opposite direction from where the sun usually sets.