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Nobody touch my storm bone.

Online Shopping Tamer

As my blissfully bleak January is heading out with a bang, I’d like to review, with gratitude:

My most quiet holiday season ever, with both “adult” sons off island, with their girlfriends’ families; #1 in Virginia, & #2 in Russia (he brought me a most excellent hat). Cozy with my dogs and boyfriend, it was the most relaxing, no-pressure Christmas-to-New Year of my entire life, putting me in the perfect mood to enjoy what was to come.

Benched from the shanty as a pinch-hitter, the earliest this has ever happened since I started opening six seasons ago. This doesn’t bode well for the scallop fishery, but it definitely boosted my career as a winter hermit.

The awesome football, even the playoff games that didn’t involve the Pats, with great excuses to make “football” food (if I provide carrots and celery for the dips, along with the chips, it’s healthy, right?), and scream at the television. Extremely cathartic. Mystery and intrigue as we approach the Big Game, with hysterical YouTube videos, depicting fans weighing in on PSI: Pats haters can Suck It.

Amazing sales downtown, and parking! The soups at Fog Island, which never, ever disappoint. Coffee Coke at the pharmacy counter with my BFF, who snuck out here for a visit. Suddenly, it felt like the early 90’s again, for a minute or two.

Experiencing the incredible, supportive nature of our year ’round community, as we came together to honor the passing of our young angel, Tasha G. The island was awash in aqua, and love, for this brilliantly sparkling soul; I know her family will be forever grateful, held up by so many during this challenging time. We gathered at Brant Point Light for a group photo, and lots of hugs, so moved by the sight of the Coast Guard motoring by, with four men in salute on deck.

I acquired a (frustrating) new knitting skill: double pointed needles. According to YouTube, the secret is a firm cast on. According to the light fluffy cashmere I’m working with, loose is the rule, or it falls apart. Needles slither away in all directions. There are no neighbors in the rental houses on either side of me to hear my inappropriate, obscene outbursts. A finished hat, and a vow never to try that again, but instead, I do. Arrgghh.

After patiently waiting since the weekend after Thanksgiving, firewood was dumped in my yard Monday morning, just in time for the impending storm. I brought in enough to clear a path to the front door, filling the entryway supply, and #2 son helped stack the rest in the wood rack, finishing the job long after my winter-weak back was tapped out. With milk, bread, candles, bottled water, and a giant cauldron of vegetable minestrone on hand, we were ready for the onslaught, fully expecting it to turn to rain, as predicted on my weather app.

Seventeen hours without electricity, heat, or running water put a healthy dent in my online shopping addiction, somewhat out of control given all the time I’ve had on my hands this month. My phone was working (Verizon, people!), but decided that it was too cold for outside photos, and refused to hold a charge for long, so it spend most of the storm plugged into the outlet in my truck. I missed a classic shot of my boyfriend atop a ladder in a snowdrift, sawing away at a tree branch that had cracked and draped itself across the driveway. With excellent foresight, I had bones on hand for the dogs, especially useful for the one who decided back in December that outside-without-a-human was a dangerous, evil place to be. Her older brother, graced with a strong resemblance to a polar bear, in color, stature, and attitude, refused to remain inside for more than ten minutes. It was an exhausting day of doing nothing, other than arguing over how to best tend the fire, trying (and failing) to get #2 son to share his IPad, relocating the contents of the fridge and freezer to the giant cooler I procrastinated moving from the back deck to the basement last summer, and determining the most effective candle arrangement at dusk. I may have attempted some knitting, but I’m too traumatized to remember. After settling into bed under the hefty weight of extra clothes and blankets, power was restored at 10 p.m. (Cue Hallelujah sound track.)

Everyone else’s pictures and videos on Facebook allowed me to appreciate the profound power and beauty of nature from my own, re-warmed home. My #1 son and his girlfriend made their way over from Tom Nevers, which was a relief, because we had no contact during the storm. Another friend stopped by, as well as the kids’ dad. It was nice to relax with everyone, made possible because I had sorted out the previous day’s mayhem in the kitchen before they arrived. With the thermostat at 62, the house, sans fire, felt balmy (to me at least, being of that “certain,” always warm age), even though the snow continued to fall lightly outside.

Sunshine at last, and the realization that I would need help if we were to deal with the two stranded vehicles in my driveway. My big-ass truck grinds through anything, but I wasn’t thrilled to hand it over to #2, with his dubious driving skills. A plea on ubiquitous Facebook, and a few short hours later, Sir Awesome arrived atop a monstrous front-end loader, pushing 200 feet of driveway’s snow ahead of it. I would have paid half of what he asked, just to see his stellar grin; instead I gave him double. But there wasn’t much he could do about the vast lake of ice water, slush, and mud behind my parking area, and I offered to let #2 use my truck to get to work. He wanted to take his small SUV, and I watched in horror as it dug into the soft muck, like quicksand, when he attempted to circumnavigate Lake Eat-a-Car, almost rolling over into it sideways. I blinked, and he had wrangled his way out, upright. His skills are certainly improving.

Today, on the last day of a month that delivered a better quality of life than our most recent July, more snow is falling. There is plenty to celebrate in the coming weeks. A lot of it involves food, which I’ve tried to minimize here. Once I start being grateful for the food, there’s no stopping me… like an endless supply of perfect potato chips, covered in chocolate (organic please). But truly, February is my secret favorite month on Nantucket, and always has been. Many I know disagree; haters… you know the rest. I’ll save that for March. In the meantime, GO PATS!