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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Desire & Ice: Skating to the World’s End

Poor Augusta!  It's been hit with an apocalyptic sequence of seismic and meteorological events this week.  My poor mother and John were about to begin their fourth day without power at home because of Wednesday’s ice storm when a small earthquake hit Friday night, waking Mums and shaking a local water-tower to the extent that its seams burst, leaving it spurting water like a prop tank in a Hollywood disaster movie.  At least one window is broken in their house (smashed by an ice-laden branch, not the earthquake), while their neighbors across the street had three trees fall on their house, puncturing not only their roof, but the ceilings of rooms indoors.  I want to be home, but I am not looking forward to seeing the mess (thus far, my house has escaped more or less unscathed, and has been Mum’s refuge while John works four straight days on call in Labor and Delivery).

I have tried to use my unexpectedly lengthy stay in the greater Washington, DC, area to my Study Abroad job-interview-preparation advantage.  I’ve talked to three foreign language teachers, one college counselor, one Department of State officer, and one college writing professor for ideas about what to give my 10-minute presentation on, and how to find material to contribute to it. 

I had planned to leave Thursday, but the storm postponed both my tax return preparation and the transfer of the art collection inventory data to the dealer’s new assistant.  I was able to have dinner with several friends in the meantime, and dedicated myself all snow-drenched day on Thursday to crunching numbers for my taxes, then digging my car out of a snowdrift, and when my usual monthly fatigue laid me low on Friday, it was a relief to be able to retire to bed knowing that I had used much of my free time productively.  I spent Valentine’s night at the home of two German professors, fellow singles who persuaded me to watch my first events of the Sochi Winter Olympics after we’d wined and dined well on champagne, pinot gris and provolone-pesto chicken, broccoli and pasta, finishing up with a raspberry chocolate ganache cake in the shape of a heart which I’d brought from a local bakery. 
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On Tuesday, Steven had filled the basement room of his and Susan’s house with a dozen red metallic heart-shaped helium balloons and other decorations, so the whole area was aglow when she came downstairs with their little son.  It looked a little like a floating forest of Wonderland roses, trailing long red stems.  I never knew that people actually did romantic things like this before Steven came into Susan’s life—he just enjoys surprising her with these bursts of beauty.  Theo was so overcome by the sight that he literally fell over backwards while tugging a ribbon and staring at the balloon above him.

I had told my LDC about my long-standing affection for Valentine’s conversation hearts, and that I planned to buy them on sale beginning the fifteenth.  And then I had a real problem finding any!  I didn’t succeed in my saccharine quest until after dinner tonight, when I raided the shelves of a CVS already thoroughly stocked with Easter candy.  The supermarket that I had gone to earlier had whole racks of pastel foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies on display, with fluorescent Peeps and plastic eggs in packages:  Valentine’s bow was empty and the rabbits and their baskets had taken his place without a pause.

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