The Merry Ferry

This morning I read this article in the Burlington Free Press that informs me this:

A Lake Champlain Transportation ferry struck pilings at the Grand Isle dock Friday night, sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries.

Apparently it hit the pilings so it would “avoid crashing into the dock.”  The pilings, of course, are there to keep the ferry from hitting the dock.  This ferry, however, must have been going too fast.  Not only did four people get injured, but one car was damaged and “the pilings were knocked over.”

Whoa there, Captain, hit the breaks.  I found this to be a strangely curious and, I admit, amusing, local story.  But then I saw this ad in Seven Days, our local weekly:

Breaking Through Indeed

Breaking Through Indeed

This was far more amusing that the story itself.  Who knew they meant it literally?

What’s for Dinner

Last night I had the time to make a good dinner.  I whipped up cream of celery soup and fresh dinner rolls.  With fresh pears on the side.  It was wholesome and tasty.  The kids hated the soup, of course.  “This looks like throwup,” says the boy of joy.  He was serious.

OK, it did look a little like throwup, but only some kinds of throwup, not the gross kind.  Well, not the grossest kind.  But it did taste good–salty and fresh and creamy.  I guess you can’t have everything in a soup.  Especially one that your kids think looks like something your body already rejected.

At least the rolls were good.  They ate plenty of those.  So tonight I wondered what to make.  I had a lot less time.  The rest of the fam was off to the library where my daughter met a friend from school for some friend time.  It was me deciding and me making and I had had a long day.  I didn’t feel like making anything complicated at that point.  I just wanted to eat it.

But of course I wanted my family to have a quality dinner.  I had to make something fast that had no resemblance to bodily fluids.  So I made spaghetti.  We don’t have that all that often.  It is easy and we all like it but I tend to make things that are fresher if I can, or that are just more fun to make.  Spaghetti is just too easy.

My savior was the table.  Instead of the easy pour it into bowls at the stove approach, I set places and we had some spot lighting and we sat together and talked about our day.  I love that.  I remember eating spahetti as a child but more than that I remember eating together as a family.  I want my kids to remember that.

The bummer is that I had really been looking forward to making the soup yesterday.  I had never made cream of celery soup before.  Mostly because, well, it’s celery for god’s sake.  But I had all this celery since you can’t buy just what you need and I needed to make something with it.  I’m thinking next time I toss in a few carrots.  It will give it a little sweetness but, more importantly, some color.

But then again, do I want to hear my boy of joy say “This looks like…?”

Deep Enough Snow

Snow After a Storm

Snow After a Storm

This morning we woke to the effects of yesterday’s storm.  We have several inches of snow on the ground.  It was deep and fluffy.  The sun rose to a clear sky and the world was aglow.  The low light slanted against the whitened firs, that air was still, our feet crunched as we walked.

When I was in high school I headed from my home in Connecticut to rural Vermont for a semester.  That was on this date a whole passel of years ago.  The experience had such an impact on me that not only did I end up living in Vermont, but I remember the day I started that semester.

I arrived with my parents in Vershire on a day much like this one.  The snow was deep, the world was quiet.  It was beautiful.  After my parents got a chance to see the place and get oriented, and to offer me a solid goodbye, I began my four months in a new place–a school on a working farm.

I dug it.  I learned a lot about myself.  I made good friends.  I came to love the world.  I still do.  And I came to ask lots of questions.  I still do that as well.

I mentioned the place, the Mountain School, to a couple of students with whom I now work.  I told them they might think about applying.  It would do them some good.  I suppose it isn’t for everyone, living in a small community and working hard and being pushed to learn, but, frankly, I think more of that would do all of us some good.

Snowing Like Stink

I would, of course, be in Milton all day.  Most of the schools in the state were closed but all of Chittenden County was open.  That made sense in the short run, since it was not even snowing when I left this morning.  But whenever I got the chance to peek out of one of the too-few windows at Milton High School, it was snowing.

By early afternoon it was snowing like stink.  Some schools that had not closed for the morning closed early.  That would have been smart.  Driving home was craziness.  Snow was falling hard, visibility was low, there were lots of cars on the road; it was a recipe for smashing.  I made it home, however, with nary a scratch.  I simply had a long drive.

Now, long after I am home, it is still snowing like stink.  Look:

Snowing Like Stink at Night

Snowing Like Stink at Night

The timing of this was all wrong.  Schools were open because it wasn’t snowing in the morning.  They can’t close around here because too many parents complain if they are closed.  But when it was time for buses to carry students home, the roads were about as dangerous as they can get.  Plus, it will likely peter out so we don’t get the bonus snow day tomorrow.

Not that I can afford a snow day.  That would mean more work to make up. But still, I frickin’ love snow days.  If I can swing it, I will take a couple of hours to go skiing tomorrow.  Or not.  But maybe.  We’ll see just how much of the stinky stuff we get.

Leftover Soup

I was home with the kids tonight, just the three of us.  We had sandwiches, soup and fruit for dinner.  It was a winning combination.  I made pumpkin soup last weekend and it was a real winner.  I used frozen pumpkin from the summer and pureed it smooth with some sour cream.  It was a real success.  My daugher asked for more the night we had it and then asked for it for breakfast the next day.  She still liked it tonight, a couple of days later.

We also had some potato leek soup left over from a few days before.  I ate that.  Good cheese, good bread, good soup, and fresh fruit to top it off.  It was cold out, the woodstove finally heating up after a day of us gone, and we were filling our bellies.  It was a satisfying parent moment.   Happy kids, happy dad.

Soup is one of those foods that work pretty well most times, but especially well in the winter.  And they are cheap.  I am into cheap these days.  We spend a lot of money on food.  In some ways I am OK with that.  I want to eat good food.   I don’t like to compromise when it comes to food.  But good food is expensive.  It is one of those ironies of the food system.  The stuff that is grown close to home without all the extra poisons tossed onto it actually costs more.  It goes against logic–less shipping and less cost for all the added junk, yet it costs more?

I hope to make some soup later this week.  I hope it comes out well, and that it lasts.  That will satisfy the palate and the wallet.

Best Part of the Day

Today this was waiting for the bus in the afternoon.  I had two meetings cancelled today which meant I had time to go home before I worked in the evening.  I walked down our long driveway with my wife and my son, the sun shining on the snow, the air cold but typical for late January.  It was beautiful.  I thought of nothing else at that moment.  I watched my son run and jump in the snow and I was content.

The school bus has given me that–time to just be outside on a fine day and look around and be with my family.  And then my daughter gets off the bus and she is such a big kid and I am a proud dad and we walk back to the house together.

Today, as on many days, it was the best part of the day.

Another Chilly Run

It seems they can’t be avoided, these cold forays with the running shoes.  I was busy today with all kinds of random crap–paying bills, trying to figure out how to refinance and being put off again (even by a second lender), taking a carful of junk to the dump, letting my children climb all over me.  So I got out to run at the end of the day.

I got to say goodnight to the sun, as it was setting.  I told it I looked forward to seeing it tomorrow.  It was 7 degrees when I left and 5 degrees when I got home.  The wind was light but I ran fast.  I heated up halfway through, enough so I was sweating, but it was chilly, especially with the breeze I created.  These chilly runs can’t be avoided this time of year, if I want to run at all.

When I got home I was sweating, as usual. I wore a wind jacket, and it got soaked through.  My gloves got frosted.  My hat had a rim of ice.  It was cold and I was pumping out water.  My body isn’t quite sure what to make of thermoregulation when the outside temperature is in the single digits but my core temperature is higher than normal.  It kind of freaks out.

The temperature is now zero, darkness having settled in for these many hours.  It will get much colder tonight.  I hope our blueberry bushes handle it well.  I was hoping to run again tomorrow.  I keep getting in these shorties–only four miles today.  I was hoping to do at least six tomorrow, but I may just do the same four again.

I like to get out there, but dang, I’m no popsicle, and I’d like to keep it that way.


I went to the dentist today. I had deferred the appointment, to rejigger some loose fillings, twice, so I needed to get there. I got a reminder call yesterday that the appointment I thought would be at 12:50 was for 11:50.

I had a meeting set up that was shorter than I expected, since I had to end sooner than planned to make it to the dentist. That worked out fine. We were done early anyway. I raced to the dentist, risking speeding tickets as I went 35 in a couple of 25 MPH zones. Still, I was several minutes late. Then I had to wait around for a while, first in the waiting room, and then in the chair (where I learned that Novacaine hasn’t been used for about 50 years, that now they use other drugs, like Septacaine, that Novacaine is a brand name that everyone bandies about for various similar numbness drugs, and that Septacaine contains Epinephrine–no wonder I was shaking like a blender).

I had eaten at about 10:00. I left the dentist at about 1:00. I couldn’t feel crap in the left side of my mouth. I literally could have had crap on my face and I would not have known. Luckily, my glance in the mirror revealed not even a bit of shattered filling when all was over. But the numbness meant I couldn’t eat for a while.

The dentist suggested a milkshake. We were almost out of milk. I wouldn’t have enjoyed that anyway. Who wants a milkshake with a numb tongue? I had some cereal at about quarter to five. That was a bad idea. The numbness was mostly gone and soreness had replaced it. Every crunch was uncomfortable, so I let the cereal soak for a while. In the small pool of milk I eked from the jug.

At 5:00 I had to leave for an evening meeting. I didn’t eat much today. I am still hungry. On my drive home the only thing I had with me were a couple of caramels. Given the fresh fillings in my teeth, I figured they would have been a bad choice.

If the pears are ripe, I will go with that. My wife did bring home some milk so maybe the milkshake idea can still work. I will need to wait until the children are fully asleep, however. In our open house, a blender at bed time would be worse than caramels with new fillings.

Or maybe I will just make the chocolate Santa right next to the computer go down. At least that would be a start.

Middle of the Night

In the middle of the night my son came into the room, as he does at times.  He was sleepy.  He asked me a question.

“Daddy, how come Santa never takes showers?”

“How do you know he never takes showers?”

“Because he doesn’t have a shower anywhere in his workshop.”

“I bet he does but you just haven’t seen it.  I’m sure he must get clean somehow.”

“Oh. OK”

And he went back to sleep.