Toes poking through the snow

IMG_0104[1] “Oh, I just wish I could get back into bed and sleep for the whole day.”

Rowan said that this morning as he stared out of the frost-covered window in my bedroom. We’re doing our best to hit the ground running after Christmas break, but this is hard, because the ground is frozen solid and covered under several feet of snow, and, frankly, all I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep until winter is over. At least, I want to crawl back into bed and sleep until the mass of freezing air from the Arctic that has descended over Northwestern Ontario has found somewhere else to settle, taking with it the -45°C-with-the-windchill temperatures that have become the norm over the past couple of weeks.

At least the sickness slowly subsiding. We were a viral/bacterial buffet here over the holidays: me with that double-ear/sinus infection (I am pleased to report that I have caved only once — once! — to a Q-tip craving in just over a week!), Rachel and Isaac with head colds, and Rowan with, oh, pneumonia (although, really, if you ever saw poster child for pneumonia, it would be this kid; barking cough aside, he tootled around the house as usual, making every stray bit of detritus on the floor into his own personal soccer ball. I twigged into the fact that he actually might be sick for reals when Rachel took the boys tobogganing one day over the break and Rowan lay down at the bottom of the hill to catch his breath. We have been known to occasionally be a wee bit too lax when it comes to taking the kids or ourselves into the doctor, and after our latest round of ignoring what turned out to be impetigo, I managed to squeak him in to see the doctor on the Saturday before New Year’s. Say what you will about antibiotics, but I am grateful for them and for a doctor who works on Saturdays.)It’s cold. We are blow-drying the frozen pipe in the basement bathroom. That is not a euphemism. The car doors have frozen shut, as have the seatbelt buckles. They just won’t pop up. That is not a euphemism, either.

To survive, I am cooking food in mass quantities. In a fit of organizational fervour, I sketched out a two-month meal plan for January and February, one that relies on cooking a big batch of something each weekend. On Sunday, to kick things off, I prepped eight meals’ worth of chicken souvlaki and roast chicken, and whipped up a huge batch of tomato sauce — the freezer is full, although this didn’t stop us from making pizza bagels yesterday for dinner (with said homemade sauce!), which Rowan deemed not a “real dinner” before eating his in its entirety as I mostly did my best not to engage him in that particular argument until his stomach was full and he dropped it.

Yes, lists and plans and cooking. I found this in the bottom of the cereal cupboard this morning, a written reminder of every single thing that had to get done before school.

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I’m also surviving by remembering what lies underneath all the layers of winter. Like the garlic I planted in October — it’s getting ready to burst out of the ground in a couple of months. I’m counting on that. And sure, on the surface I’m wearing a toque in the house and four sweaters plus microfibre long underwear (oh yes, top and bottom). But underneath all that, I am here to tell you (well, all of you except my father and my brother, who should stop reading this paragraph right now) that I am choosing, every day, the laciest, prettiest, least practical and sexiest matching sets of lingerie I can possibly find. (This, of course, is the upshot of my online lingerie shopping binge of February 2011, and my slightly more restrained online lingerie shopping binge of last month, about which I will write more here one day.) I painted my toenails yesterday, because even though nobody except me in the shower will see my feet outside of wool socks for the next three months, I want to know that something pretty — something bright red — lies in wait.

Spring will come. It will. Until then, we are eating soup and souvlaki and cuddling up against the cold, with the bright red of our toenails keeping us just a tiny bit warmer.