Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowfall... and a Little Auld Lang Syne

The first decent snowfall in recent memory (less than 3 inches, but still) arrived last night and into this morning. With it came cold air that chilled our bedroom. In recent years, I'd stopped caulking our drafty, 134-year-old windows with Mortite, that ropey gray putty that comes in a blue box at the hardware store. This grim winter tradition always made me feel impoverished and pathetic, as if  my clothes should all be threadbare and food consist of gruel and potatoes. I don't miss that psychic blow at all. But the real reason I skip doing it is because we need fresh air for the cooking fumes that pour in whenever the neighbors use their exhaust fan.

I gather this is a common situation in these old Back Bay townhouses; I know other people who live with it. When my husband and I rented our first apartment together on Marlborough Street, our bedroom was above the studio of a Brazilian woman who cooked an eye-watering, garlic-laden dinner after 11 every night for her boyfriend. Smelling it was enough to wake us; it's something you don't get used to. But she was nice; when she wasn't cooking or tending to her boyfriend, she taught me to dance the Macarena in her garlicky little apartment. These days, when our bedroom fills with cooking odors, I don't put on heels and do the Macarena. I light scented candles and let the leaky windows do their work.

Last night, I turned up the thermostat and piled another coverlet on the bed. (The more I burrow under the covers, the less likely it is that Harris will nurse on my ear all night. He spent last night snacking on my husband's ear. We are both hopeless pushovers for that kitten.)

We awoke to beautiful snow, coating each little twig of the trees because it hadn't been windy. We went for a walk. It was slippery and blustery. My hands and face were freezing and I could not give you a single good reason why we live here instead of, say, California. We slid our way to the Public Garden and back, and then realized we had to clean off the car. It took a cup of cocoa, toast, a cup of tea, wrapping up in my throw, with a fleece jacket over my sweater, and my husband's knitted Patriots cap to warm me up.

But I continue to like snow, at least in the abstract. I'll probably remember why we live here... in a few months. In the meantime, I wish I was creative enough to have produced a snowman riding a bicycle, as shown below. Those extra-long arms were a stroke of genius.

When we came home, Toffee was languishing on a cushion, looking pensive, like a Victorian poet. He and Possum have been taking turns washing each other's faces, so I believe Toffee may be becoming an art history buff and flamboyant culture vulture like his mentor. For one thing, he watches Downton Abbey with us religiously and is all caught up on the story.

On the other hand, my husband just announced that Toffee is his favorite cat of all time (as if there were any doubt) because he somehow managed to open iTunes on my husband's laptop and play Buckethead, my husband's current musical obsession. Considering that no other cat was ever allowed near that laptop, whereas Toffee has been photographed sprawled, napping, across the keyboard, I can't agree that this Snalbert-esque achievement is all that remarkable. Snalbert opened my iTunes library on occasion — and selected Mozart or Christmas music, I'm happy to report. Snalbert had taste. If you follow that last link, you'll read that he did it almost exactly a year ago, when he was still in reasonably good health, although I was already starting to worry about him. (We had already been worrying about Snictoria for years.)

Poor, dear Snalbert and Snicky. What a year we've had. I miss them, and all their predecessors, even as I enjoy the antics of the kittens and the sweetness of Wendy and Possum. I think I'd better have another cookie and try to think of something else.

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