Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Three Banditos

Yesterday we took all three boys to the post office in the village to apply for their passports. They need them in February when we fly from Montreal to Tucson. Both parents have to be present to apply for a child's passport, so the whoooolllle happy family picked Cubby up from school and went across the street to the very small post office for the paperwork and photos.

Dude. What a nightmare.

The kids were wound up. Cubby is always insane after school, no doubt because he behaves perfectly all day (not sarcasm--I get glowing reports from every authority figure he has ever encountered), and his hysteria infects Charlie. The two of them were literally racing around the small post office, with Jack running gleefully in their wake.

We did our best to contain them, but it was a losing proposition.

It was made worse by the fact that I have never seen so many people in one place in this village. We must have been in the post office at the busiest time of day, so more than a dozen people* encountered my crazy children when they came in to mail their holiday packages or check their mail or whatever.

Luckily, this community is a VERY kid-friendly place. Everyone either has kids themselves, or has little brothers and sisters, or has grandkids now. Even the ladies working in the post office were astoundingly cool with the disruption in their workplace. The one lady spent some time showing them the pictures on the stamps, and the other lady who took their photos let them look at the camera and walk around behind the counter.

Child-tolerance is alive and well on the Canadian border.

Anyway. We got it done eventually. And I was given the keepsake of a mugshot for each child.

Personally, I'd think twice before granting these people admittance to your country. Revolutionaries in the making, for sure.

* I realize that a dozen people in a fifteen-minute time period would not be considered "busy" in most post offices right before Christmas, but this is a good indicator of how small a community we're talking about here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Coldest Spot in New York State . . .

Was right here are six o'clock this morning. Specifically, it was right under our elevated porch, where the mercury thermometer read 23 degrees below zero*.

Yes. Below. WAAAAY below.

I really could not explain how thrilled A. was with this. I actually woke him up at 5:45 a.m. to tell him it was 17 degrees below zero, which was the reading on the indoor read-out of the weather station. The sensor for this is up high on the porch, so I guess that's why it was warmer.

Anyway, I poked my head into the darkened bedroom and announced this to A. His voice came out of the darkness, "No way. You must be shitting me."

And then he rushed out in his boxers to look for himself. And then he exclaimed, "I have to go outside!"

This is a fundamental difference between me and my husband. Nothing about 17 degrees below zero inspires me to go outside. Quite the opposite, in fact.

But outside he went--after putting on some clothes, obviously--where he checked the mercury thermometer and came upstairs with the momentous news that it was actually six degrees colder than I had thought.

Do mornings get any better? YES, THEY DO! If you get on the computer to check the readings in every other known coldest place in New York state and find that we are currently colder than all of them.

All of A.'s dreams have come true.

I'm less than thrilled by the extreme cold, if only because it results in this:

What the hell is up with me and houses with ice inside?

Yup, ice inside the house. Just like Blackrock! Except not at all like Blackrock, because this house is actually 64 degrees inside, not 34 degrees, and the ice is just the inevitable result of cold glass and accumulated condensation, not freezing walls.

But still. It's cold. Welcome to the north.

* With wind! Whee! But not really.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Maestro, Ready the Choir

Thirty-six years ago today, the infamous A. of Going Country was born. And now it's time to sing the equally infamous The Woodchuck Man song. (Here are versions one, two, three, four, and five.)

Aaaand, GO!

Who can turn a failed wreath
Into something nice?

Who can clear the driveway 
of a ton of snow and ice?

The woodchuck man
The woodchuck man can
The woodchuck man can 
'Cause he uses what he has and makes it work for him.

Who can climb a mountain
Bearing double boys?

Who can carve a spoon
To bring his wife some joy?

The woodchuck man
The woodchuck man can
The woodchuck man can 
'Cause he uses what he has and makes it work for him.

Who can turn a rooster
Into table fare?

Who can bring me dinner
In the form of a snowshoe hare?

The woodchuck man
The woodchuck man can
The woodchuck man can 
'Cause he uses what he has and makes it work for him.

Happy birthday to A., the woodchuck man of the Great White North.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Woodchuck Dinner Prep

If meal preparations start with going to the barn to bring in a deer haunch, you are 100% a woodchuck. There is no "might be" about it.

At least I didn't have to skin it myself. We should always be grateful for small mercies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Unsung Heroes

This morning as I was sitting in the living room enjoying my coffee, the blissful quiet that comes from sleeping children, and the Christmas lights, the snow plow went by on the road. And I thought, for the 20th time, "Man, those are some impressive plow guys."*

They really are. The plowing in this township is incredibly diligent and prompt. Our tiny, very unpopulated street here is plowed much more promptly than the busy main road we lived on at Blackrock. I suppose it's because there's just so much snow here that the plowing is a regular thing and scheduled for accordingly. But I tell you what: I really, really appreciate it.

In fact, it occurred to me that it would not be amiss to bring some kind of holiday treat to the town barn where the plow guys are based. They do at least as much for quality of life here as the mail lady or the dump lady, both of whom will be receiving a loaf of homemade bread or a jar of jelly as a Christmas gift.

What do you think the plow guys would like? Probably a day off, but I can't give them that.

* In the interest of fairness, I suppose there could be plow women too, but it's unlikely.