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Kansas City MO 64131

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Filtering by Tag: cold

JANUARY IS DUMB

Cindy Maddera

My birthstone is the garnet. Don’t get me wrong. The color red is nice and I know it’s some people’s favorite color. It is not my favorite color. If you look through my closet, you are mostly going to see gray, blue and purple colors. More blue than anything. Actually, my favorite color is that Tiffany’s blue or robin egg blue. The garnet is a deep red, almost maroon color that turns me off. If I haven’t been so impatient to enter this world, I would have an aquamarine birthstone. I would also share my birthday month with both siblings and my dad. Instead I decided to come out early during the coldest most miserable time of the year which has only gotten worse as I’ve aged and moved north.

Now that I think about it’s really been worse since the move north. It never dawned on me that the climate could be so different just three hundred and fifty miles north of Oklahoma City. It never dawned on me that so much would end being so different three hundred and fifty miles north of Oklahoma City.

The last birthday I celebrated in Oklahoma was my thirty fifth birthday. I had requested a strawberry cake and my mother had made a lovely fancy white cake with strawberries on it. What I had really wanted was a simple strawberry cake mix. Pink strawberry flavored cake. Misti asked Audra to bake me one, but Audra said that she couldn’t do it because strawberries were not in season. Audra said she made some other cake and I really didn’t care because I knew that whatever cake she made me, it would be wonderful. Misti, Amy, Chris and I gathered at Chris and Traci’s house with Audra’s cake. It had the cutest elephant made of icing sitting on top. I cut into the cake and when I pulled the knife out it was pink. Audra had made my strawberry cake. It was the kind of surprise that made me giggle with joy. That was also the same night I told all the people gathered in Chris and Traci’s house that I had received a invitation to interview for my job in Kansas City. Chris and I would move a month later. That was the last time we were whole.

I still can’t help but feel that I ruined everything.

Tuesday night, I sat in Dr. Mary’s office telling her about the power being out at our house since Saturday. I told her about how Michael and I have just been stubborn in our notions that the power was going to come back on any minute. “We’re fine.” This has been our answer to everything. I told her that really though, I’d reached my limit. I woke up Tuesday morning at 4 AM and the left side of my body ached because I hadn’t moved all night. I was weighted down with to many layers of clothes and blankets to move around. We were not fine. We were depressed. Then I mentioned the next winter storm that is headed our way. Sunday is supposed to be the coldest day in the history of KCMO. I told her that on January twentieth, 2012, the last of our doctors who had had any kind of hope for a treatment for Chris told us that there was no hope. I told her that every year since then, I’ve been dealing some sort of shit leading into my birthday. Death, sewage backups, snow storms, inauguration day for the worst president in history, power outages. I just want one year with out the shit.

I want strawberry cake.

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

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For many people, this was the first full week back to work since before Christmas. On Wednesday, when my department went down to the cafeteria for tea, one colleague said “Man, working more than two days a week is a killer.” We all laughed and nodded our heads in agreement. I dived into the week as if I had not had any time off. Everything was back to routine with Tuesday night therapy, teaching Wednesday night, back to the elliptical and the stationary bike and back on a more consistent yoga practice. I will admit it’s been very much like jumping into a cold swimming pool.

When I was a kid, I’d be the first one into the pool and the last one out. As soon as there was just the tiniest glimpse of Spring, I would set in on my dad to get the swimming pool open. The swimming pool had a solar blanket that basically looked like a giant sheet of bubble wrap and was supposed to use the sun to heat the pool. It was not an efficient water heater, but my argument was that Dad could at least pull the winter cover off the pool and replace it with the solar blanket. The same could be said for the end of the season too. I would make Dad hold off winterizing the pool for as long as possible. I’m surprised he didn’t winterize the pool while I was still swimming around in it. My lips and fingertips would be blue, my teeth chattering, but I would insist that I was not cold. The shock of first entering the water always wore off and my body got used to the temperature. Also, my love of swimming and being in the water outweighed everything else.

I don’t do much swimming these days. Mostly because nine out ten times after visiting a public swimming pool, I come down with a sinus infection, stomach bug, a UTI or a skin rash from too much chlorine. I still love being in the water though and could spend hours splashing around in a lagoon. I am far from as tolerant of cold temperatures now that I am a grown up, but I feel like those childhood days was good training for my future. There have been several times when I’ve been shoved into the cold waters of life. I had a choice. I could drown or I could get out of the water. Even though sometimes the water was colder and almost more unbearable than other times, I stayed. I let myself get used to the water. I let myself get used to whatever the new normal ends up being.

I never eased into the pool. I always cannonballed my way into the water. I jumped in every time knowing full well that the temperature of the water was going to take my breath away.

We brave bee stings and all. We don’t dive, we cannonball. And we splash our eyes full of chemicals just so there’s none left for little girls.

We never know what lessons from our childhoods are going to prepare us for life.

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Earlier this week we all stood at our office window watching a gaggle of firemen and police officers trying to determine what exactly was sitting on top of the frozen Brush Creek near the bridge where our homeless guy lives. We'd noticed something that resembled a sleeping bag out in the middle of the creek earlier that day. I guess someone finally called it in to authorities. One of the firemen suited up in a special thermal suit and crawled out on the ice to investigate. We stood at the window watching with bated breath. Our fear was that something had happened to our homeless guy and that fireman was going to pull a body out of that sleeping bag. The fireman made his way to the sleeping bag, unzipped it and then reached inside and pulled out....straw. The sleeping bag was full of straw. And we all sighed with relief. 

Our homeless guy has been living under that bridge for over five years now. At least that's what one our security guards told me this week. We've all taken him things from left over food to bottles of water. I've never personally handed him anything. Every time I've gone near there, he is no where to be found. There's a spot that we treat like his mailbox or doorstep. That's where we leave the things that we hope will make his day better. I like to think that we all kind of keep an eye on him. Every morning I have gone outside to warm up our cars grumbling at the bitter cold, but then run inside to the warmth of my home. I am thankful for the reminder that I am fortunate and for the reminder that it's time to do more to help those who are less fortunate. I think I'll be leaving a new sleeping bag or maybe a packet of hand warmers for our homeless guy this weekend. I am so thankful he was not in that sleeping bag on the ice.

Though the weather has been bitter cold and just plain awful, every morning as I have left for work I have been greeted with the most spectacular sunrises. The sky in the East has been splashed with the most vivid shades of pinks and gray. The beauty of it has mixed with the cold to rob me of my breath. I am grateful for the reminder that even when winter seems so dull and bleak, there are moments of great beauty. All you have to do is open your eyes to see them. I am thankful for this week of back to usual. I am thankful for the daily photo prompts from Epiphanie because they have been a good creative kick that I desperately needed. I am of course, thankful for you. I hope this first full week of the New Year has treated with kindness. Here's to a fabulous weekend and a super Thankful Friday.

LOVE THRUSDAY

Cindy Maddera

He tells me that my hands are a barometer and that winter is coming. I am standing in the kitchen putting quinoa and chopped sweet potatoes into the rice cooker while my breakfast cooks in a skillet behind me. He's just peeled himself from his bed and wandered into the kitchen to get a drink of water before jumping in the shower to get ready for work. His hair is sticking out at all angles and his eyes are all squinty. He wraps his arms around my waist and rest his chin on my shoulder as I stir the contents of the rice cooker before placing my hand over his. 

"Winter is coming" He says.

He tells me he knows because the other night, only my finger tips were cold to the touch. Now the cold has moved all the way into the last section of of my fingers. The cold has moved from the distal phalanx, on through the middle phalanx and has settled into the proximal phalanx. He tells me that soon the cold will creep all the way into the palm of my hand. That's when he'll know for sure that winter is here. My hands do not tell fortunes or cast spells, but they tell you the weather. 

Meanwhile he is always radiating heat. The miserly old man inside me refuses to turn the heat on until November. As the evenings grow increasingly colder, I move from my side of the couch to his side. It's the equivalent to placing a hot stone at your side or hot water bottle in your bed. I do my best to avoid touching bare skin with my icy hands, but it's inevitable that this will happen. Depending on the situation that contact will be met with a gasp or yelp. I try to be mindful not to induce a yelp, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

He is always hot and I am always cold. The electric blanket on my bed stopped working last winter, but because I had nothing else, I put it back on the bed when it turned cold. The other night I shivered as I climbed under the covers into my cold bed. Michael said that he loved climbing into cool sheets. I shivered and rolled into a ball letting my roly poly impression reflect my disdain for crawling into a cold bed. He told me to buy a new electric blanket. He is still sleeping under a thin sheet and measly comforter.  

We are a temperature example of the basic rule of magnetism: like poles repel and unlike poles attract. 

Happy Love Thursday.