SNOW AND COLD, COLD AND SNOW

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Outside my front door almost eighteen inches of white chilly dust quilts everything. Car, bushes, porch roof, trash barrels, sidewalk all wear a parka-coated white through which humps and twigs loom or stab, grasping toward the sun. Good luck with that ; the sun wears a shawl of haze, a lace of cloud ice. Tomorrow, maybe, it will shine; today it sports a drowsy eyelid. A half-asleep sun can’t do its job. The temperature as I write sits at 8 degrees of F. At wake-up time it was 4. But that means there’s no melt, none at all. The snow is dry, as sere as a corpse’s spit. I broomed it off, whisk — whoosh — see-ya !

Then the car. That wasn’t as 1-2-3. Last night’s defroster ice bonded to the windshield epoxy-like; it clung to the driver’s side door like a tic. I had to enter from the passenger side — that door not having opened during last night’s drive, no ice crept into its lock — slide across to the driver seat and with shoulder, shove the door open — wham ! It opened, all right — with a crack. Had my shove ripped the door frame from its seams ? With fingers frozen stiff I stumbled the key into the ignition, wanked it with my knuckles, pumped the pedal — the engine turned over, faithful horse that it is. Was there enough antifreeze, or would the block crack ? On mornings like this I ask that question. They don’t happen every year even here on the coast just northeast of Boston, but at 7 AM it’s too late to wish that I had checked the coolant yester-eve. I am in luck. The engine warms up smoothly. Eight minutes and the defroster is melting the windscreen ice. My hands, too.

Five more minutes of melt, and I can see the driveway and the street. Off I go. Easy on the pedal, steady, out the driveway, onto the street — nobody’s coming, nobody at all, there’s not a car anywhere but mine. It’s the kind of selfie that I like. An honest street on an honest day.

Out onto the expanse of road my horse purrs. Piles of snow dust flank the wide street. The plows guys have earned their overtime pay, the main roads are clear as a gallop. To the nearest Starbucks I go, here to assuage my latte addiction, eat a walnut muffin, and write the story that you are reading now.

It’s one helluva winter morning in coastal Massachusetts. Cold and snow, snow and cold. There isn’t even one boat on the harbor, only unused mooring sticks. But the sun is riffling the bay surface into chips of foam, the nor’west wind catches them and rolls the foam up like an ice quiche. Somebody ought to run a trawl right now. When i was a young’un, we’d do just that : run a few traps for lobster — January lobsters are hard-shell like you wouldn’t believe, full of meat and chewy. And fish ? Under surface water this cold entire flocks of fish come out and party like ravers. But I see no trawler, no tuna boat, no lobster dory. Just water wind and haze of sun. It’s a quiet thing, is cold. Not a sound. Dust of snow too has no voice.

But I do.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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Wishing for fishin!!!! “Coffee or Vodka? Parenting 911”

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Dear: Parenting 911
My husband and I are currently trying to blend our families from previous marriages. Now that he has won full custody of his two boys; and I’ve always had full custody of my son- as a single mom.

My husband’s son’s were raised around many” outdoor” activities such as soccer, little league and their favorite past time FISHING. Jacob and Jared are 2 years older then my son Lucas. Lucas has always been shy, and introverted; more-so since my divorce and remarriage. This will be our first summer living together as a family. Lucas has never been interested in sports, and is especially jealous of the Father- son bond he sees and lacks. My husband is very willing to take him fishing and is always trying to include him, but Lucas shys away; and he’s apparently freaked out about baiting a fishing hook…Jake and Jared have teased him relentlessly all winter about it.

We’ve talked with them, but nothing. Even my husband has no ideas on the next step. Parenting 911 I hate seeing my son hurt and I hate to say it but- I think I may have created a wuss!!!! How can I help him learn to love a hobby I know will bring the boys closer together??? I DONT KNOW WHAT IM DOING…. Any advice would help, thanks so much.
Sincerely,

Swedish fish Vodka

Dear: Swedish fish :
The blending of two families, homes, rules, standards, and backgrounds is no easy feat. Any therapist would advise you that this task is more than fishing trips and family night’s. I will say this, you are right in wanting to bond them now. As time goes on and things get harder- the boys will begin to focus more on the disruptions, and differences instead of what good might be there. On the bright side you already know this and want to fix the leak before it sinks your “boat”. The way to being a successful captain is to run a tight ship. Including sneaking Lucas the extra pointers needed to play with the big boys. You mentioned in your e-mail that Lucas is a bit of a “neat freak”- dirty hands are not welcome…. I would try this; take a day for you & Lucas to practice. You will need baby wipes hand sanitizer, or sometimes even rubber gloves will do. Also know your baits, tackle, and the type of fishing you will be doing. Will it be salt or fresh water? Are you using worms, shiners, mackerel, or squid? You get the idea. What type of fish are they fishing for? If salt water..perhaps they are going for big game such as striper / striped bass, or blue fish..Fresh water possibly and most likely it is small or large mouth bass, catfish, trout, or salmon they are after. Know your target! And of course it’s favorite entree.

Make Google your new best friend, learn some lingo, familiarize yourself with how to “rig up a pole” English translation; Know how to set up the pole from start to finish by threading your fishing line through the eyelets of your pole. Learn if a sinker is needed and how to attach it.  Leader wire and barrels- what are they used for and how they are attached to your line. Hooks, what size how sharp etc..and even when, where, and how to use bobbers where applicable. I know it sounds daunting but I assure you a few times of getting stuck on a rocky bottom, or a stray cast lands your rig on a tree limb; causing you to lose your tackle- and you will be a pro by days end. Lucas seeing his mom do this happily and persistently will more likely intrigue him to try more himself. And continually encourage his efforts at trying and attempting new things. Lucas’s effort is not the only effort needed here though. So as a new blended family unite with your husband and demand respect, and honor among the boys. That hurtful things WILL be punished, that it’s unacceptable in your new home together. Hope some of this is helpful…
Sincerely,

Heather C of Coffee or.        Vodka, Parenting 911
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