I’m sure everyone’s heard this by now, but the Midwest is going through one of those insane cold snaps. I haven’t been outside since Monday, when I only went outside because I had a meeting about 30 miles away and I couldn’t cancel due to wimpiness.
Garbage day was yesterday and our bins have been sitting at the base of the driveway since then because we’re both procrastinating the cold walk out to the street to haul two heavy and frigid trash bins up the driveway. It’s pathetic because every other neighbor on our street has managed to get their trash bins inside, and they all have the same long driveways that we do. Even more shame: I haven’t brushed my hair yet this morning because my brush is out in my car and I’m too much of a wimp to go outside and get it. Okay, I don’t actually have to go outside. The car is in the attached garage and it’s parked less than four feet from the door. But still, the garage isn’t really insulated so it’s cold as HELL out there (although it’s so long these days, it more or less always looks the same except for the bangs. But still. This is pathetic).
There’s a certain level of Midwest pride to carrying on despite ridiculous science fiction weather. One of my former employers hadn’t closed the Coldington office for snow for something like 45 years straight (and apparently the one closure happened when the office was under the command of a guy out of Florida). We don’t ever admit it to each other but yeah, this weather is fucking balls and we’d really all like to just snuggle in under wool blankets and wait until the temperature hits at least double digits again.
Despite the above, my bff Fern and I had a girly day together a few days before New Year’s, back when the weather was a much more reasonable 7 degrees. (I feel like you need some degrees to have weather. This negative degrees? That is stupid. It makes no sense. Release the degrees, I say!) During that time, we took not one but two quick walks along the water, one on the Bay side and one on the Lake Michigan sides of Door County. I wasn’t even wearing a proper coat, just a scarf, some fingerless gloves and a fairly thin Old Navy fleece sweatshirt. See above vis a vis not admitting to being cold. I was fueled by a belly full of Al Johnson’s Swedish meatballs, however, and people are prone to doing silly and frivolous things on such occasions. The photo below is Lake Michigan on that day, still open and gorgeous. Did you know the sand turns to concrete when it’s that cold outside? You do now.
Esteban and I have been cooking a lot out of our pantry because we’ve been finding a lot of expired things in there and clearly we need to be better about diving into the pantry and using up our stashes. Last night was a fake udon soup, using only fresh mushrooms and everything else was either from the pantry or the freezer. Felt like a hardcore win. Take that, Laura Ingalls Wilder! This morning I made oatmeal in the rice cooker (excuse me, “porridge” is what my rice cooker insists that it is) and it was pretty good, if not a little weirdly clumpy. Not in a bad way, just kind of like eating meatballs made of oats.
oatmeal porridge this morning seems to have lulled my brain into a sense of sleepiness. I had a weird moment when communicating with a senior exec from the NFL, trying to lock down a date for a meeting at the end of January. “It’s a little busy around here that week,” he said.
For a second, I was so confused. Oh yeah, it’s not like I live in a football town with a team in the playoffs or anything.
Weetacon is coming up. Holy crap, you guys, we’ve been doing Weetacon for eleven years. ELEVEN. Weetacon is not only old enough to talk back but it’s old enough to start getting crushes. It’s old enough to want to stay up late and watch Game of Thrones. It’s old enough to make terrible attachments to really bad music that it insists on playing in the car whenever we go anywhere and no, I don’t want to listen to Izzy Azalea anymore!
(Speaking of Weetacon, we have a few spots left if you’ve always been Weeta-curious… this one is going to be good. Registration is still just $129 per person and hotel rooms are still only $89 per night which includes breakfast and wifi. With gas as cheap as it is, if you live anywhere near Green Bay, it’s a fun time for a pretty small investment, and if you don’t live anywhere near Green Bay, flying into Milwaukee and renting a car is very budget-friendly as well. Join us! Our theme this year is ROCK AND ROLL. I mean, come on, you know it’s going to be mind-blowingly awesome, right? Didn’t you make a resolution to do more fun things and have new adventures and make new friends? You can do all of those things at Weetacon! We make it easy!)
I’ve been hard core into my novelizing stuff this winter. I am bound and determined to get this stuff out to my agent before I lose momentum. As such, I’ve been remiss on short story submissions (although I do have a short story coming out soon about winter in Door County! Hey, look at that, we just came full circle) so I kicked my one remaining unpublished-and-publishable story out to a ton of lit journals last night. Welcome winter, now we can get down to business.
Yesterday, I turned down an amazing opportunity to be the editor in chief at a print magazine. They wouldn’t let me work from home… not ever, unless maybe there was a crazy snow storm or a zombie apocalypse or something massive. At first I was objecting to the commute and/or the inevitable move that would shorten that commute, but then I realized it wasn’t the drive. I just don’t want to work in an office. I didn’t want to lose all of the ways that my life has gotten better by working from home. I remembered that I actually voluntarily took a huge drop in salary when I left the corporate world to become a journo who worked from home… and it was totally worth it.
I have been trying to get my head around the fact that there was an amazing opportunity that was mine for the taking and instead I said, “You know, I think I want something better.” Or, in the word’s of Bridget Jones, “That’s not a good enough offer for me.” So instead I’m carrying on, cobbling together my career that is a patchwork quilt of media business, writing, teaching and doing everything but singing on a corner for dollars thrown into a hat.
It’s kind of amazing to be able to point to one moment in time and realize that it changed everything, but Esteban’s condition in 2013 really tweaked our heads in an interesting way. Two years ago, I would have jumped at that much money and power. Now? Eh. Instead, I keep thinking to myself “This is your time. Don’t blow it. This is it. Make it happen. This is all we get.”
And so we beat on.
Some of us with very messy hair and a hot bowl of porridge.