Then and Now.
[Originally published January 3, 2014.]
THEN: “A snowstorm! Whee!” Pick up a bottle of wine and Chinese food on your way home from work. Light candles in anticipation of your live-in boyfriend’s arrival home. Snowstorm preparations complete!
NOW: Pick up sixteen different kinds of cookies, chips and pretzels, batteries, toilet paper, milk, eggs, bread, candles, and eighteen different-sized flashlights, for your many blizzard-related lighting needs. Trip old lady to get to only remaining gallon jugs of spring water and Ice Melt on shelves. Drive home. Still forget something. Go back yet again to the supermarket, and weep silently in the parking lot while waiting for a space. Foolishly check email on smartphone, and learn that son’s basketball game hasn’t been cancelled. Karma’s a bitch. Wail.
THEN: Walk around in your overheated city apartment in a bra, your boyfriend’s boxers, cute cable-knit socks, and a hat, because your boyfriend thinks it’s adorable. Drink more wine. Make out on the couch under a Downy-scented, monogrammed fleece throw blanket that your college roommate gave you as an “apartment-warming” gift. Have lots of sex.
NOW: Walk around the house in ski jacket, hat, and gaitors, because you’ve already run back and forth to the store sixteen times and can’t wring the ungodly dampness out of your middle-aged, sorry-ass bones. As an added bonus you get to trudge out once more to pick up the kids from early dismissal in five minutes. No wait. Shit. In three minutes, actually. Shudder. Take three more gulps of luke-warm coffee.
THEN: Lounge on the couch in post-coital afterglow watching Friends while burrowing deeper into the Downy-scented fleece throw blanket—the one so soft that it’s woven from the eyelashes of baby angels. Drink wine, while nibbling on some bodega port wine cheese and Triscuits. Turn towards the window, watch the snow fall, and sigh contentedly as you gaze off into the blissful ignorance of youth.
NOW: Sit on the couch with sneezing, coughing kids, and watch back-to-back episodes of motherfucking Jessie on the Disney Channel—or even worse, that guy who talks like he’s always inhaling helium—and manage to cover your left butt cheek under one corner of a peanut butter-crusted, sports-themed Snuggie to keep warm.
THEN: “What should we do now? Hey, I know! Let’s have sex again! Then we’ll drink more wine!”
NOW: “What should we do nooooooowwwwwwww, Mom? We’re booooooooooored!” Suggest forty-two board games, card games, craft projects, and baking ideas. Watch as children’s eyes glaze over. Drink more coffee. Put the Disney Channel back on.
THEN: Cook and bake up a storm in bra and boxers while boyfriend watches adoringly. It’s fun to be domestic! Giggle and let boyfriend lick batter from the mixing bowl. Never worry about losing power, because this is Manhattan, for God’s sakes. Things like that don’t happen in Manhattan. Drink more wine. Cover potpies and casseroles and store confidently in refrigerator for “tomorrow.”
NOW: Cook and bake strategically for hours, in fear of losing power and having nothing in the house for your husband and children to eat because they’ve already plowed through the sixteen kinds of cookies, chips and pretzels while anxiously watching news reports about “Snowmageddon.” Decide to bake cupcakes in a moment of delusion, because you saw cute blizzard-themed cupcakes on Pinterest. Lose power after they’ve been baking in the electric oven for six minutes. Wash dishes in the darkness. Scream at anyone in the house who attempts to open refrigerator door because highly coveted “cold air” will escape, and salmonella will viciously spread and ruin everything. Cry. Drink more coffee.
THEN: Bundle up with boyfriend and walk around neighborhood arm-in-arm, tipsy and giddy. Marvel at the crystalline snow, at the hushed quiet of the blanketed city, and duck into nearby neighborhood pub to visit with friends and have a nightcap.
NOW: Bundle up kids in thermalwear, ski socks, turtlenecks, snowpants, parkas, waterproof gloves, hats, and scarves. Cut hand while trying to climb over bikes in garage to get sleds. Bleed profusely onto white, white snow. Frighten children, who stand by in snow and shriek, and watch helplessly as they run back into the house with wet boots and undo the hours of bundling it just took to get them outside in the snow for five minutes. Realize that these are hours of your life that you will never get back. Become woozy from profuse bleeding.
THEN: Decide to stay out later with friends and boyfriend at neighborhood pub. No work tomorrow! Sing songs from the jukebox and order bar snacks. Don’t think twice about calories in jalapeño poppers. Drink more wine. Head home. Have sex again. Fall asleep to the sound of snow falling. (Yes, you’re drunk, but you can totally hear it.) Turn alarm clock off. Sleep in.
NOW: Collapse into bed—after reassuring children that Mommy will not bleed out; and cleaning up boot-shaped puddles on kitchen floor that run in circles around the kitchen table from when they were screaming about the bleeding; and feeding the entire family mealy pasta found at back of pantry and cooked on stovetop in inky darkness; and cleaning up dishes afterwards with sliced, bandaged hand while husband attempts to help children brush teeth in bathroom via candlelight and Lego headlamps. Lie awake in bed from too much coffee and sound of husband snoring, and from son’s hourly concern about how it’s “darker than it is every night,” so he can’t possibly sleep. Fall into sudden, dead sleep for fifteen minutes. Jolt awake to sound of landline, cell and husband’s cell simultaneously ringing at 4:34 am. Answer some or all phones and listen to school district robocall announcing tomorrow’s school closing, which has started halfway through the recording, so you have to listen one and a half times until you know whether or not school is actually cancelled. Rise and make breakfast in darkness for same son who “can’t sleep with all this ringing and darkness.” Drink more coffee. Cry.
THEN: “Yeah! Snow day! What do you want to do? Hey, I know! Let’s have sex again! Then we’ll drink mimosas!”
NOW: “Fuck you, snow day.”
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