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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The only reason I left my house during the Jonas blizzard

I actually wrote this yesterday, Monday, and thought I'd posted it but apparently had not. Now the sun is shining even brighter and I may even attempt a walk on what I think will be mostly cleared streets today. Onto the post..

While people around me were freaking out about the snowstorm this weekend, I was excited. I'd just spent several days flying across the country, taking Ubers around Los Angeles, reporting and writing an article from SFO, and I was happy to be back home. My boyfriend was over his cold and I am still getting used to our new place, with its weirdly placed light switches and everything still a little haphazard from our move less than two weeks ago.

So Saturday my boyfriend and I simply watched the snow fall from indoors, admiring it dancing in the light, speculating how many inches we'd get. We did one of the many jigsaw puzzles I got as gifts over the holidays. He lovingly chastised me for not having read many of the classic book covers we were putting together, and we said things to each other like, "Where's George Orwell?" and "This is chainmail; it must be Beowulf!" Often our jigsaw puzzles stretch on for weeks, but this one we blazed through in a matter of hours. It was hard to get a closeup shot because the puzzle was so wide, but here's the final result:

jigsawbooks

He baked bread and we put away the rest of my books, the ones that bear my name on the spine, the ones that remind me on my worst days, You made this, so you can do whatever tough task you're facing.

We watched our streets get plowed, and I was grateful that unlike last year, when we were renting a house in Red Bank and had to shovel ourselves out, sometimes multiple times in one day, this time we didn't. The owners of our place do it for us. They didn't do a perfect job of digging us out, but they did well enough. On Saturday, we stayed inside, and the only reason I opened my door was to take this photo of my new book, because I'm that dedicated to it and really do believe it'll warm you up (please don't burn it though!)

bweinsnow

Sunday, after the snow had stopped falling, we finally ventured outdoors, walking on the pristine light flakes while trying to clear out our driveway enough to get the car out. I was hesitant to be on the road, but we did get groceries, our original weekend plan, and the ride was surprisingly smooth. But I keep going back to Saturday and how magical it was. There was nowhere we had to be and nothing pressing we had to do. The snowstorm, even though it was right outside our door, felt pretty extraneous to our lives. I let myself let go a little bit of the constantly consuming to do lists and tasks that permeate my days, when I easily could have treated it as just another work from home weekend.

I discovered a newfound appreciation for living in a home that I truly enjoy. For so many years in Brooklyn, my home wasn't joyful. I was grateful for it, but it was such a disaster in every sense of the word that being snowed in would have meant feeling stir crazy.

Now I've come to embrace the concept of home in a way I couldn't have done in that Brooklyn apartment, at least, not the way I'd kept it. I couldn't even conceptualize a home with wide open swaths of floor, enough that I could plop down on and bask in the sunlight hitting me in just the right spot. I would have assumed that was how other people live, but not me, so to have the quiet and space I do now feels like a gift. Instead of just throwing random "important papers" into my filing cabinet, I use actual files that I access when I need them. For the most part, I know where my books and clothes live enough to be able to find what I want to read or wear in minutes, rather than hours. There's plenty more I need to organize, but it's a sea change from my old m.o.

I like my new home office even better than the last one because the sun shines in through my curtains onto my desk. Right now I have a view of the mostly cleared driveways of my neighbors, the snow slowly melting. Working from home and running my own business often feels like a mixed blessing; I miss some of the camaraderie I see between coworkers, the basic human contact during the workday. But I also appreciate the solitude, the noises and rhythms of a home running smoothly that allow me to tackle what I need to without the constant distraction that all my old clutter provided.

Would I say I want more snow or want to spend every weekend indoors? No. I'd be more than happy to do without another blizzard. But I liked that feeling of bunkering down, liked our first full weekend in what I hope is one of many years of weekends in this place.

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