Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Storms and bridges--a lesson in anxiety


This picture of me was taken tonight by friend and neighbor Susan Halbower after we attended a dinner and concert at TCU. I post it because I am usually so un-photogenic. My grandfather once told my mom the only place he'd hang her picture was in the barn. She was a beautiful woman, but she didn't photograph well, and she passed that gene on to me. So I'm grateful to Susan for this picture.

It was 81 and sunny today, the best of all fall days. When I stepped out to get Jacob at school, I thought how pleasant it was to be comfortably warm but not hot. So why did I wake up at 5:00 this morning obsessing about sleet and freezing rain? Because by Friday the temperature is to drop 50 degrees and the weather will bring us that dreaded “wintry mix.”

When my brother lived in Colorado and we’d tell him schools were closed, he’d laugh and say, “What you got, guys? An inch?” But snow is one thing; ice is another. And North Texas gets ice.

Anxiety is pandemic. Everyone goes into anticipation mode when the weathermen (weather persons?) first mention ice, sleet and freezing rain. We talk about it for days, dread it, stock up on groceries, act as if the end of the world is coming. Yes, I’ll go to the grocery Thursday morning—my list includes a new flashlight (which I forgot on the hardware run today).

I told Jacob today that this weekend we would use the iPad sparingly (to save some battery for Juju to read) and we might have no TV and no lights. “You and I might spend a cozy time in front of the fireplace,” I told him. “Well, that sounds exciting!” When did seven-year-olds get so sarcastic?

Tomorrow I’ll bring in plants and water those I leave out heavily—most of the herbs should make it without any trouble, but the fern and plumbago I’m trying to save need to come in, as do the bright red cyclamen that Greg planted today for the front porch. He also brought four perfect small poinsettias—just what I wanted for my Christmas decorations. It’s beginning to look like the holidays around here.

Back to worrying. How will I get Jacob at three if it starts sleeting? Jordan assures me neighbors with kids at the school will help, and she’s probably right. I’ll be glad to have my grandson as company Friday and Saturday (his parents are going to a John Mayer concert in Austin). The last time I set my mind to being housebound (the storm that wasn’t), I was alone. I much prefer company! And I know that by Sunday or Monday at the latest, we’ll be moving freely about the city.

I used to know a man who said to me, “Go on. Bring that bridge right on up here.” I’m dragging that storm bridge as hard as I can. And me a kid who grew up in Chicago and lived in the “icebox corner” of Missouri. But still I feel that dread in my bones

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