We've been huddling beneath the clouds for DAYS now, and today, there's finally a hint of sunglint through the kitchen curtains. This picture is out our front doors, and it was MORNING, folks, not twilight.
The ice is slick and tenacious and has held us captive, cabinned in and not stepping out for anything. There was a bit of a Nesting frenzy the first couple of days: IT was coming, and we battened, we did. That huge blue hawk settled over us and everything within miles, and just hung there---the most vivid, blazened blue imaginable, with more threat of mayhem than we could remember.
We did every scrap of laundry in the house, against the loss of power and perhaps frozen pipes. We plotted and planned the closing-off of the upstairs openings, with the huge old faithful Franklin providing our heat, our food, our coffee in the Ibrik or a pan on the stove, for down here, with other plans for transporting the two smaller mattresses from upstairs down for the duration.
I "cooked some ahead"---putting by breads and muffins and a peach pie, with Caro making pans of brownies and Bumpy Road and all sorts of Things in Dishes for her fridge upstairs. I put leftover pork ribs to baking tender in foil with brown sugar, Sweet Baby Rays, and lacings of onions and garlic. A pot of Mother's Fridgerator Soup---almost from scratch, this time, with just cans of tomatoes and corn, and the leftover snap beans and potatoes, with tee-ninecy oniony meatballs fried and stirred in at the last.
There was that frenzy of how-much-water-do-we-have-caught-up, and the great stacks of fluffy towels were a bright light, somehow, in that I was PROVIDING. Once years ago when we took in neighbors for a week in an ice storm down South, I can remember the endless water-trips and the dishwashing and the cooking of more and more and more meals for nine, and beds to provide, and one thing that shone like a light in all that crowded togetherness was that neat drawer of dishtowels, folded and whitely pristine, waiting if I needed them. I'd be near tears of frustration and obligation to be hostess and look after everyone, with the never-ending tracking in and out and the need for more and more food on that stove, meal after meal and all in between, and just opening that drawer with its everyday stacks of clean cloth---that was a moment of refreshment that I can't explain. Isn't that a silly memory?
Chris never shirks driveway duty, rolling that big coughing monster up drive after drive, up and down the block. It's just been sheets of ice this time, and quite dangerous just to walk on. He just LOVES loud toys:
Yesterday was Sunday, somehow, but without church. We just hibernated, he and I, with Caro sleeping upstairs, with her own siege of this flu we had last week. For the first time I can remember, we sat sequestered in our chairs for hours, playing episode after episode of THE CAPE---we'd meant to watch, but never got around to it, so we were immersed in a dark Gothamness which went on and on, til we'd finished all five episodes.
For a little break, I went to the kitchen and got out that huge can of Phillips crabmeat from the fridge, plundered amongst the cabinets and shelves, and made a big gratin dish of that old Seventies' Favorite: Crabmeat on English Muffins.
This was quite the party favorite, a craze nearly reaching the popularity of fondue pots, and I tried to re-create it with the big can of crabmeat, lots of grated Hoop Cheese, a cup or so of fresh-grated Parm, a bit of mayo and some Old Bay, with teensy minced onion stirred in.
While it sat and baked bubbly and golden in the oven (instead of the customary spread-on-the-muffins, broil, and cut into quarters of its past glories) I stuck several of those breaded Gorton's fish planks onto a little screen-pan in the oven, as well, and stirred up some quick tartar sauce (more of the minced sweet onion, a minced dill pickle, and Blue Plate) as well as some of Chris' Pink Sauce, which is his go-to fave on fish.
A quick iceberg salad, and dinner took maybe fifteen minutes of prep, and maybe thirty minutes of TV to be piping hot. Two split muffins into a buttered pan, a quick serving of plates, and back to our Saving-The-City with the Cape.
Quite the lazy day, which is what we needed after all the stress of the storm's anticipation and that lurking BLUE of the map, just waiting overhead like some great spread-winged monster, ready to pounce.
And this morning---we're still iced in, but Chris is coping, and the road crews' efforts are rewarded by no more fallage and icing. And the sun is still shining, so I'll be about the day.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone beneath and affected by this weather and this storm, and especially with our friends in the devastation in Australia. May you all be safe and well during this stressful, dangerous time. I'm thinking of you.