I was thinking last night the extreme lack of Christmas decorations down here. I thought it was funny, because everyone in WI hates the cold, but they brave it to put up lights, giant snow globes, Nativity scenes, and much more. In my apartment complex down here, ONE porch has a SINGLE STRING of lights up.
(This is not my porch. I haven’t even taken the tree out of the box from last year. I think I’ll do it the 23rd.) Even the local mall is pretty bare. You would think they’d go all out with decorations to promote good Christmas Spirit and loosen wallets, but they only have lights on half of their trees. Actually, they only put lights on their palm trees, and even then only on the trunks from the ground to halfway up.
However, this Christmas season I’ve been hearing some things that my mother is going through in rural WI that just make me happy to be here instead. On top of having a record amount of snowfall, they’ve been having temperatures of 10-20 below with wind chills even lower. Meanwhile, I took the dog for a walk this morning wearing a tank top, and got a little warm.
If the weather isn’t enough to make me happy, she’s also been having some difficulties with local institutions. To start with, last week her garbage didn’t get picked up. The garbage people put a note on each individual bag which stated that garbage needs to be out to the road by 6 am. My question is – if they came through after the garbage was out, how did they know that it wasn’t out at 6? Does somebody drive through all the streets at 6 with a list and put a checkmark by the houses where the garbage is already out? And then transmit that information to the garbage people so that they only pick up the trash for those houses, stopping at the rest leaving notes? I can just picture it: says one garbage man to another, “No, we can’t pick up these bags. The checker said they weren’t out at 6. Just put a note on each one and get back in the truck”
Also, her postman doesn’t like the way she clears the snow in front of the mailbox. He’s even drawn her diagrams for how she’s supposed to do it. The problem with his plan is that she’d have to first blow the snow into the road, and then back to the other side of the mailboxes. This isn’t such a good idea, as she lives on a narrow country highway where 18 wheelers go barreling through, and you wouldn’t really want to be out in the middle of the road with a snow blower. After his first diagram about how to do it, he has been keeping her mail hostage at the post office. While he’s refusing to deliver her mail, he does continue to put daily notes and diagrams into her mailbox.
To top it all off, when my mother went outside this morning to see if she could just shovel instead of plow, there was a ribcage on her front porch. To be specific, there was about 2 feet of spine with many ribs attached to it, surrounded by barn cats that were gnawing on it. Apparently, one or both of her dogs found it in the woods or fields somewhere, and decided to bring it home as a treat. She thinks it once belonged to a large deer or a small cow. As she teaches piano out of her home, she didn’t think it was a good way to welcome to her students’ families. She had to grab a large garbage bag, and try to wrestle the ribcage into it without getting gore on herself. She will be sure to get the bag to the road by 6 am, though.