Power went off and on sporadically. Schools closed and plows didn't make it to our back road. Fire departments and emergency vehicles were called out all over the county, but I still went out.
In two days I would have 23 people for dinner. I would get dressed, smile, welcome them and try not to have a melt down. It wasn't something I was looking forward too.
As I sat there watching it pile up I thought about the new vehicle in my driveway. I'd spent, or would be spending by the time I make all the payments, $35k on a four wheel drive SUV, just so I wouldn't be stuck up here all winter.
I started the car. My son-in-law came in and said, "You won't get out. The snow's up to my waist."
I looked at my boots.
"Make me a path to the driver's side door that's knee level," I asked. "You don't have to go to the ground, just not over my boots."
"The snow's over the hood of the car and the roads are terrible."
"I don't care."
He shoveled. I made it to the car and got inside, pressed the button for 4 wheel drive and plowed through. I would have made it too had I not stopped to make sure nothing was coming. That's when I got stuck, right at the end of the circular drive.
Between him shoveling the front of the car out and me rocking between drive and reverse, he was finally able to shove me into the road.
I drove to the casino, trying to keep to the main roads. Avoiding my usual route where there is a steep hill and deep creek I took another road. It was not my best choice. Power lines were covered with tree limbs and hanging low but I made it under them and managed to stay on the road.
I think the casino is the land of lost souls. Not that there aren't people having a good time. We used to do that. We used to go with a group of family and friends, have dinner and gamble into the wee hours of the morning. Those aren't the folks I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the ones who sit at their machines, mesmerized as they watch the falling balls, the spinning wheels. It's not about winning money, although that happens occasionally, it's about the thoughtless repetition, the mindless killing of time.
I stayed for hours and hours. My daughter asked if I would be home before dark, but that wasn't my plan. Why would I want to be on those horrible roads when people were trying to get home from work, rushing in and out of stores for bread and milk? No, I stayed till late.
It was a long, quiet drive. I don't believe I saw 10 other moving cars on the road the whole way home. There were several cars off the road and I saw a few tow trucks, but for the most part it was just me with my low beams on trying to stay on the road.
I told myself when I left that morning I was being brave, even listened to This Is My Fight Song, on the radio. I had something to prove, to others, to myself. I am not afraid. What should I fear? Death? I don't think so, but as I drove that long dark way home I wondered if I had a death wish.
Normal people do not go out in that kind of weather unless they have to. Maybe if they are surgeons on a life saving mission or having a baby, but not to go to the casino to sit with the other lost souls.
Bill would have been livid. We would have had the fight of the century.
I loved the Twilight series. Read it accidentally when my daughter left the first book on the dining room table. I'm not a vampire, blood and horror woman, but that book grabbed me from the very first page and I read the entire series twice. I took a car load of teenage girls to the opening night in town and had a good time, but I hated New Moon. Hated how sad it was and watching Bella morph into a lifeless, empty young woman. I hated the things she did to hear Edward's voice, putting herself in danger. I never watched that movie again, always skipped it. For some reason it resonated with me back then and I couldn't be in the same room when the girls were watching it. Let me tell you, whoever wrote the screenplay knew a thing or two about grief.
I wondered if I'd done it to hear Bill in my head. I don't think so. Maybe I did it just because I could. Maybe just because for the first time since I was 16 I didn't have to answer to anyone.
I also went to NJ to visit a lady I love very much who is terminally ill. Cathy and I drove five and a half hours for a two hour visit and don't regret one minute of it. She has a lovely home that reminds me of a cottage in a Thomas Kincaid painting. A sweet place high on a hill with lovely vines trailing the porch rails. There's gingerbread trim and a rose bush at the bottom of the steep stone steps. She raised three boys in that house and standing on the stairs I could almost hear them raising hell, running up and down the stairs and slamming doors. The house has a life of it's own and I'm so glad I went.
Then we went to PA and stayed the night at The Sands Casino, which is lovely by the way. We had a good time and were punch happy tired and laughing. At 3 a.m. I had to tell Cath to shut up so I could say my prayers.
I bought a new freezer. Not because I didn't have one, but because I had a fear of falling head first into the chest one I had.
I bought a new car I didn't particularly want, to please my kids.
Most of this stuff is out of character for me, so I've decided to call them Random Acts of Grief. I think it's as good a label as any.
We did have everyone for Thanksgiving, although Cathy did most of the work. Caitlin found a new napkin fold that was lovely where you slip the silverware into little pockets. She took care of all the china, crystal and place-cards. I peeled the potatoes and made the gravy. I did good. I took one break where I went into my room, locked my door and stayed in my closet for a short time crying into Bill's robe. I'm glad it's over. I had a hard time trying to be thankful, which is a little crazy as I have much to be thankful for, just not the one thing I need the most. Note the empty place at the other end of the table.