Snow Days

Winter just keeps coming. It's boring to talk about snow and cold, I know, but it's the major factor of our lives. I keep learning things, like February snow weighs twice as much as lighter, fluffier January snow. I found myself looking longingly at our neighbor in his bright orange jumpsuit walking a snowblower back and forth across the driveway, then came to my senses. Never! (well, maybe the jumpsuit?) Guys with snowplows are a real hazard around here  - this moment, where they get to wheel, reverse, dig in and hoist their plows high in the air, cheeks flaming, eyes set on a snowy point in the distance, is what keeps them going through the softer less challenging months and woe betide the person or vehicle who gets in their way. After a few months of the cost and headache of filling an outdoor tank with oil and kerosense, you find yourself contemplating hooking up to town gas - it's not really fracking, is it? I mean, they won't do that around here, will they?

I'm seeing how cold breaks things - skin; plastic. Last night the handle of the passenger door snapped. Our 5-door vehicle now has 3 working handles. When a guy kept shouting at me for unknowingly pushing in front of him at the kerosene pump in the gas station and things threatened to turn ugly, I have to believe he was taking his anger at winter out on me. Only minutes before, with the broken door latch, I'd shaken a fist and screamed "Fuuuuccckkk yooooouuu!" at the sky.

The sky - it is so beautiful. Damn it, for all the irritation, the light through bare branches and pine trees and blue shadows on white, the ice in the Hudson and sun over the mountains almost makes up for it. Little animal tracks criss-crossing in the snow and the building debris we never had a chance to take to the dump blanketed out of sight by a pristine layer. So that's a real plus.

I had my birthday. We went to the city and met up with the family for dinner. The high point of the day was walking into Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby Street and the clerk saying "Amy Rigby? I love you! I was just thinking about you, wondering if I would ever get to see you play again!" I wondered if Eric hadn't put the guy up to it with a phone call (we're coming in at 3...it's the little lady's birthday so, if you could make a fuss, act like you're a fan) but while it was happening it felt great.

Back home, I finished the draft of my memoir. It's not even the first draft, more like the second or third and is rough and overlong. But at least I've gotten this far. I sweated much of the past year over these pages. Even though there's more work to do, it's a satisfying feeling having gotten this far. It's scary, but I've started showing it to a few people, even to force myself to believe I'm going to finish. I want to, so I can start writing something else.

Sometime in the fall, I crossed over from working sporadically to having four regular shifts a week at the bookstore/bar. I love working there - the characters, my co-workers; the books beer and art supplies. I like making the displays every month. Oh, and the money. It's a relief to have something regular for a change.

But there's a feeling of days speeding by. "I don't know, it feels like I don't have time for anything," I said to my daughter.

"That's what it's like, having a job," she said. Oh.

It's odd, after almost seven years of playing together, to have Eric doing gigs without me. Fire Records is reissuing much of his great back catalogue and it's exciting to see those records coming out in beautiful packages. He played in the UK and will do a solo show in Cambridge MA Feb 21. We played four songs together at Wes Stace's Cabinet of Wonders in Mamaroneck a few weeks ago and it was like a reunion. I'll always love playing with Eric and still feel amazed I get to stand next to that guy on stage - weird, since I see him all the time around the house. We have a show at Hillside Cafe in Nutley NJ next Saturday, and another Homemade Aeroplane at our house in Catskill on Sat Feb. 22.

I promise the driveway and path will be free of snow.

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