Soul Doubt: Shoveling my Way Out of the Chasm

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shoveling my Way Out of the Chasm

After perusing my latest post, I fear I may have sounded a bit maudlin, perhaps even on the verge of an actual full-fledged funk. Not that it wasn't entirely true at the moment; I did indeed forsake clothing for jammies, wandered aimlessly for the better part of a week around our home, and got very little accomplished besides slogging through and endless swamp of negative introspection.
But hallelujah, the fog has lifted. Being the analytical type I am, I can't help but try to pick apart my own fragile psyche, wondering which buttons were pushed by whom, what catalyst flung me from the morass of sluggitude into this latest plateau of pleasantness, why my angelic child didn't seem enough to bring multiple smiles onto my face last week, when usually he transports me into realm of maternal nirvana at the slightest babble or coo. And not to make too light of this, but I truly did need to ask myself some pretty uncomfortable questions...
Was I trying to fool myself into thinking "Problem Solved!" Got a little baby to keep me on track and living in a white picket fence world?
Am I slacking on the necessary tools I need to keep using on a daily basis to stay clean and sober (and therefore sane)?
Is it PMS? Or that other thing, what's it called, the syndrome where you get all depressed after having a kid... brain fart. I forget.

Whatever it was, is, or will be again, this one I survived none the worse for wear. And I feel as though this deplorable winter weather may have necessitated me coming out of my funk, if only to summon up an ounce or two of much-needed energy. You see, Tonydaddy was out of town for the week, hard at work doing commercial refrigeration in some podunk Northern Washington town, so it was just me and the little guy. When it decided to dump several feet of snow on us, I had to (ahem) rise to the occasion. (You'd get the joke if you knew me: I'm 4'11''. And am so immune to the short jokes by now I even make them myself.)

We were out of formula, diapers, assorted foodstuffs, and my disgusting, temporarily unvanquished vice- cigarettes. Not having a snowblower, plow, or snowshoes, I had to settle for a shovel and my ipod. After laying down the boy for a noontime nap, I suited up for battle. We're talking thermal everything, Sorels, Glacier Grip gloves, my Southpark beanie... the works. Grabbed the shovel, cranked up the tunes to the point where I could barely even hear myself singing along to it (Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits- the old stuff) and attacked that white shit with a vengeance. Two hours and several layers peeled off later, the snowbanks were towering on either side of our gravel circular driveway, and I thought I had a better than average chance of making it out with my front wheel drive Mitsubishi and its elderly- but studded- tires.

I was wrong.

I'd packed up Jameson, putting him in his little snowsuit which always reminds me of the kid from The Christmas Story; you know, the little brother who falls down in the snow and is too puffy and Michelin Man-ish to get up? and had him loaded in his carseat. I warmed the car up for a ridiculously long time, enough to where we couldn't see our breath anymore, at least. Broomed off the worst of the snow accumulation on the hood, trunk and roof, thinking the car might somehow run better without it. Ha.
The moment I gently pressed the accelerator, I heard the sickening sound of spinning rubber on ice. No traction whatsoever. Couldn't even back up- there was nowhere to back up to! I hadn't shoveled back there. Why would I? It was a massive job as it was just to do what was in front of me, let alone the remaining half of the circle (a good 40 yards or so).

So, realizing it would be fruitless to sit and spin (no pun intended), I hopped out and waded toward the defunct chicken coop in our backyard which now serves as a shoddy storage unit. Scavenging through the side area, the best I could come up with for traction stuff was a big bucket which I filled with some ancient straw, much of it caked with substances I really didn't want to inspect too closely. Tromping back to the driveway, I strewed and shoved and kicked and scattered, cursing a blue streak the entire time. Then I got back into the now gloriously warm car, glancing back at my sleeping son, and said a fervent prayer for the ability to get the hell out of this hated frozen stretch of drive.

Miraculously, I was able to do just that. With a jubilant shout, I gunned my way up and out onto the sloppy side street we live off of, fishtailing and skidding the entire way. Once onto safer ground (or asphalt, rather- at least that's what I remember it to be before it disappeared under all that white) I drove straight to the hardware store, intent on buying bags and bags of sand and ice melt.

They were out.

So was the next place I went, and the next after that. I was this close to pulling into Shwab's for a set of chains when I decided to check Napa instead. Thank God they had everything I wanted, and the man must've seen the desperation on my face, because he even packed it out to the car for me. Of course, I had a squirming baby on my hip, too- that probably upped the sympathy factor a bit.

Now that I was feeling a tad more prepared for braving the elements, it was off to the grocery store for vittles and whatnot. By now I was ravenous, and you know what they say about shopping while hungry. Seventy dollars and a bunch of junk later, my trunk was once again slammed shut and I was on my way back to my refuge from the storm.

The next two days were actually a blast, believe it or not. I said to hell with keeping up with the shoveling- I'd merely push the shovel around the walk each morning til I found the newspaper, then scurry back inside and watch the flakes swirl outside the windows. My son, as usual, brought me untold amounts of joy with his precociousness and boundless curiosity. I got lots of work done, scoured the house from top to bottom (easy to do when the man of the house isn't leaving messes quicker than I can clean them up) and devoured my way through the rest of the "Left Behind" series. Not bad for Christian fiction. Being the incorrigible bookworm that I am, I would love to read more worthwhile faith-based fiction, but quite frankly, most of it is sappy tripe. Of course you have your Bill Myers, your Randy Alcorns, and the greatest of greats: C.S. Lewis, but on the whole, secular writing is way meatier and more satisfying.

Okay, I kind of went off on a rabbit trail there. Back to what this post was really supposed to be about: I believe my angst was alleviated through good old-fashioned pioneerism, to coin a phrase. I had to buck up and get 'er done, so I did. No more moping around, aimless and lackadaisically losing my momentum which I had built up over these last several months; no, I had to kick it back up a gear and participate in my life again. If not only for me, for the sake of my son as well.

When my husband got back, he immediately commented on my newfound upbeat state, and lavishly complimented me on the "Mexican plowjob" -shoveling- I accomplished. (We can say that, he being Hispanic, and me being, um, Mexican by injection...) Another joke he likes to crack is: Q~ How do you turn your dishwasher into a snowblower? A~ Buy your wife a shovel. Ha. Ha. Ha.


  1. NAPA rocks! Those guys are always so helpful and seem to have just what I need to coax our old Escort back into working order.

    Hey, I have a Christian fiction recommendation. Francine Rivers. Really, anything by her, but the absolute best is her Mark of the Lion trilogy (it starts with A Voice in the Wind) and a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer set in the old west, called Redeeming Love. She is my favorite contemporary Christian author.

    Glad you're back up and running in every way that counts. :D (And way to go, conquering that driveway all on your own!)

  2. I would hate to think of a blogger that is stuck and unable to go anywhere. I am available if the need ever arises and you need some sort of help. Just a neighborly thing and sometimes there is just no one to call. My number is 765-2049 and if I can ever be of any assistance, now you have a friend. See you at the blogfest. The Stickman


Thanks for taking the time to read what I ramble about- I consider it an honor to get feedback from you guys, so please tell me what you think, feel, if you have a similar story... whatever you'd like! Thanks again and God bless.