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Something is happening. There's a brightness in the sky. Tinges of blue are seeping through the perpetual white. Good lord, what is that beaked, red-bellied creature in the tree? And am I perspiring? I didn’t even know those glands still worked!
But ease cautiously into those Adirondack chairs, folks. These bizarre, yellow-tinged, atmospheric occurrences may be fleeting. Within days, we may feel, once again, as jaded as I did when - bloated, braless and bitter - I began writing this column five days ago...
The magical return of sun-kissed snowbirds (Florida retirees) beckons the dawn of spring. You’ll recognize them immediately with their unseasonably orange faces void of the murderous rage and/or the ceaseless depression we, the pasty stay-putters, have grown accustomed to. We’re adorned in our brightest shades of layered gray, marvelling at the re-emergence of petrified dog poop and soggy Tim’s cups. The crocuses have adorably popped out and swiftly ducked back into the earth; “Eff this,” you can almost hear them cry in glorious unison.
The first day of May in western Newfoundland began like any spring fairy tale. I threw open the dust-caked blinds to watch, in wonderment, the gentle swoop of the neighbour’s garbage can into the road. Birds (crows) sang (tore through garbage) merrily as that beloved, surround-sound of plastic scraper on ice filled the neighbourhood's air. The most magical snow-gust welcomed me into the outdoors with a million, tiny, glacial, “goodmorning” slaps in the face. I loved every one.
I got the two-year-old bundled into all his spring (snow) gear (which is a splendid, not-at-all-daunting feat that I am so happy to still be doing), and playfully wrestled him out the door, through the flurries and into his car seat. But first, as per his adorable penchant for confusing, circular dialogue only when I’m already 15 to 20 minutes late for work, he insisted that we find and take his “favourite things” (that he's never played with): a broken ladybug from a Kinder Egg and a wooden, owl puzzle piece. These, then, had to be carried in - and only in - his hood. Obviously.
Nineteen incredible minutes later, I opened my car door and welcomed in a gust of frigid wind which graciously created a frosty pillow on the driver’s seat, just for me. Then I did that fun, springtime thing where you accidentally turn the windshield wipers on with the car door still open and watch, in slow motion horror - I mean bliss! - with no time to reverse your decision, as those synchronized devils make their fateful swoop to the left, delivering a refreshing burst of polar zest (hell) into your face, neck and open mug of coffee.
"What cruel act did I commit, you ask, that would cause him to howl from the depths of his soul for a solid 20 minutes?"
The cherry atop the whole morning was the confidence and sheer volume with which the two-year-old showed his displeasure of my unforgivable parenting faux pas. What cruel act did I commit, you ask, that would cause him to howl from the depths of his soul for a solid 20 minutes; a sound so desperate and mournful that, surely (don’t call me Shirley), he must be feeling physical pain? Brace yourselves: I brushed the snow off his window. He’s never been more devastated.
Late for work and driving to daycare, I had nary an unfrozen hand to snap whilst I whistled along to the cochlea-shredding wails of my emotionally tortured toddler. The desperate wipers-on-neglected-ice kept tempo. And, luckily, we got to simultaneously listen to the Sing soundtrack for the 726th time which, let’s face it, is not unlike the spring break of my youth.
I arrived at work filled with a springy joy so profound, I could feel it pulsating in my forehead. And just behind my left eyeball. Once parked, I awkwardly tried to take one last sip of my neglected coffee while holding multiple work bags. And shove-me-in-a-hole-and-bury-me-alive, as they say, I poured that lukewarm brew directly down the neck hole of my spring (down-filled, fur-lined, Snoop Doggish) jacket with an accuracy I could never again attain if I tried. It felt amazing.
Sweet Christ. I haven’t had this much fun since that time they asked me to give a “Love Your Vagina” pelvic health talk at the public library and one person showed up; a 20-year-old dude who was innocently searching books when he found himself face-to-enormous-vulva with my PowerPoint title slide. As neither of us could spontaneously combust, despite our efforts, we just went with it. He stayed until the very end. He even took my picture in front of the slide show; I pretended I was talking to a full house of enthralled women. This side story is getting sadder and sadder. I digress.
Yes, it feels great to cry ourselves awake each morning. And who DOESN’T love whispering “FML and F it hard” at his/her pale, winter-clogged, slaggy-eyed reflection in the mirror? But just in case you aren’t loving this real-life Battle of Winterfell, here are some ways to distract yourselves as we wait for the earth to thaw:
* Wear a bikini and pose, with a mojito, on your snow-covered patio, with the furniture you took out of the shed prematurely. Just long enough to get a photo. Then sit in a hot bathtub with the rest of the jug of mojitos while you wait for the feeling to return to your frozen arse and genitals.
* Do Christmas again. But call it Maymas. Not to be confused with “Maim Us” which is the horror screenplay I’ve just now decided to write having pronounced the word “Maymas” in my head.
* Find/make costumes for as many Star Wars characters as possible. Each day of May - well beyond May 4th - wear your costume and greet everybody according to the corresponding day. “May the ninth be with you”. “May the 16th be with you”. Etc. It’ll be confusing and irritating and brilliant.
* Wear yellow every day. Even if it’s “not your colour” (calm down, Cathy, it makes me feel joyful, dammit!).
* Make meals that remind you of the tropical vacation you took that time... Jerk chicken. Enchiladas verdes. Breakfast margaritas. Pico de gallo with bits of sand. Half-eaten, stale granola bars from your carry-on because it’s the middle of the night and Mamajuanas happened… Ah yes, I can almost smell the sunscreen and regret.
Jokes aside, we are mentally done. We all know exactly where Sheila can shove her brush. We are fat zombies who have been procrastinating; waiting for sun and warmth before we can start working out/eating vegetables/putting on pants/shaving stuff. But rest assured, we’re near the finish line. If the frostbite and rage-induced blood-pressure spikes haven’t gotten us yet, I think we’re gonna make it.
So put away the “egg-nog-sugar-plum-sleigh-ride” scented candles and bust out the “coconut-lime-s’mores-Tahitian-breeze-Pam’s-on-the-Corona-Light” scented candles.
It’s so close I can taste the black flies in my wine. Cheers!
Heather Huybregts is a mother, physiotherapist, blogger, wine advocate and puffin whisperer from Corner Brook, NL. Her column appears monthly.
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