Talking about the weather…

Like thousands of other New England homeowners, I spent the day waiting for the roofers. I’m no genius, but this might be a problem.


Or… this.


As soon as the mercury rises a scoach, we’ll need umbrellas to pass through the front door. And we’ll have to pass through the front door, because we’re snow prisoners at every other portal to the house. Instagram cannot really do justice to the historic enormity of it all because everything is just so very… white. Snow this deep has nothing peeking out for perspective. So, we use props—like our kids or the basketball hoop— to collect Kodak proof that it is really up to there.


The children are becoming stupider, public transportation is crippled, roofs are caving, decks are sagging, and forced family togetherness and nothing but white white white is making us a bit loony. It was snowing again this morning. We oscillate between fist shaking disbelief, muttered expletives, and giggles. Because, really? REALLY? We tentatively joke that the unrelenting snow has a bit of a Biblical feel to it… if the Bible stories took place, you know, in colder climes. But we’re shy to make these jokes, because maybe a little part of us thinks this might be supernatural karmic payback for all of that Super Bowl gloating.

Whatever this is, it’s beginning to feel like punishment.

Those of us who haven’t budgeted thousands of dollars for shoveling, roofing, and re-painting (not to mention ice melt and fender benders and snacks and wine) are wondering if our homeowner’s insurance will pony up or if our plans will deem The Winter of 2015 an Act of God. Another 4 to one hundred inches of snow is expected again between tomorrow and this weekend and our collective learned helplessness and StormWatch fatigue leave us nonplussed.

However, New England law dictates that I must don a sleeping bag-cum-jacket, race to the grocery for more crock pot necessities, and check the vents and alarms and drains before this new snow. And then once more for the next scheduled wintry mix promised for Valentine’s Day. If carbon monoxide and icicle daggers don’t get us, boredom might. We are absolutely desperate to talk about anything but the weather, but there is nothing to talk about except the weather, and if you’re not currently suffering through this weather, forgive us our snarky comments on your ice-dam-free posts. It’s raining INSIDE over here.

The only distraction is today’s insanely large Power Ball draw. Reporters could interview any number of locals about dream plans for impossible winnings, and I’d wager nearly all of them would include moving closer to the equator. After 72 inches of snow, even this Atlantis-escaping advocate of happy homebody-ness is willing to give the islands another go. Stir-craziness will cause most of us to stand in line at the convenience store to buy tickets for a 1:170 million opportunity of a warmer life. And while we’re in line, you’ll find us talking about… the weather.

This is the State of the Commonwealth, darling reader from afar. We’re dodging ice daggers, pairing all outfits with unflattering, puffy clothes, packing on the pounds, and using our best Emily Blunt voice to repeat, “I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids.” And really, we do. But after the 158th “… ugh, but there’s nothing to do” and neverending requests during a neverending day, cocktail hour now applies to school nights. Luckily, I’ve got my tickets to paradise right here.


Here’s my 1:170 million chance to write future posts from St. Barths. Sadly, winning a half billion dollars is far more likely than the slimmest chance than we won’t need to shovel again, or need Marcello because it’s raining in the foyer.










Escaping Atlantis…

When you say you don’t prefer the Bahamas to Boston, you’re the asshole. Especially in January. But Bernie and I recently returned early from the Caribbean—choosing to weather Historic Juno (and now Laudable Linus) from the coziness of home rather than getting stuck in “paradise” for a few extra days. We never take proper vacations, my happily housebound husband and me. Rather, we go to Conferences where he attends Lectures and Meetings while I sleep late, order lots of room service, nap poolside, drink too much, and repeat. Grandma travels to Boston to watch the boys, and we’re deliciously childless for three to seven days at least four times a year.

Of all of them, this January conference is my favorite get-away. Though most people think plastic surgeons are obsessed with enhanced cleavage and perfect noses and a Magically Erased visage, that stuff is just meh for the ones I know. Bernie and his colleagues are reconstructive plastic surgeons who can re-attach severed parts, transplant new faces, re-create breasts from jiggly bits, fashion fully functional phalluses, and perform other feats of microsurgical wonderment because they are able to sew teeny tiny vessels together using only their steady hands and a microscope. The January conference coaxes all of these superstars to one warm locale where I entertain myself picking their brains… and pickling mine with supersize mojitos.

Skating around the outskirts of the plastic surgery world as The Wife, and then–quite drastically—plunging cancer first into the deep end as The Patient, I have a deep appreciation for these gifted surgeons. And usually, I am thrilled to reconnect with them at finer resorts everywhere. But this year, some waterslide-loving planner decided this meeting needed a family-friendly venue, so all of us headed for the Vegas-of-the-Caribbean, Atlantis. And Bernie and I just couldn’t stop… giggling.

There was loud, piped-in music everywhere. Insidious jingles invaded every public space and at any moment we’re belting out “I Swear” (All-4-One!) or “I’m Not a Girl” (Britney!) because it’s impossible to ever forget lyrics to these ridiculous, top 40 gems from yesteryear, and enthusiastic sing-alongs to terrible music, well, them’s the rules.

There were goofy photo opportunities around every bend. And there were many bends: we logged thousands of steps between our room and the actual conference, passing through a shopping mall and entire casino to get there. Those better parents who used the conference as an opportunity for family togetherness found that the lazy river had a mean streak, that children could actually get stuck inside the waterslide, that all kid activities shut down at cocktail hour, and that incessantly piped music will drive three-and-unders into a glassy eyed coma or Benadryl-resistant fury, depending on your luck.

There was a rather impressive aquarium lolling beneath the noise. And any weather that doesn’t include a “feels like” caveat is a bit nice this time of year. But my dear friend April, my beacon of preparedness, my travel-tip guru, my have-flight-tracker-phone-app gal texted early in our trip that if we didn’t get back ahead of Juno, we would get stuck listening to “I Swear” until Groundhog Day. So, we packed up our gauzy clothes, spent umpteen WiFi hours acquiring seats on the last plane to Boston, and pulled into our driveway during the first blush of the blizzard, happily housebound again with our boys, Grandma, drinks without novelty containers, and… silence.

We’re enjoying a third snow day this morning. Linus has turned the backyard into a violently shaken snow globe. Nearing noon, we’re still in jammies. The house is warm and safe and incredibly quiet. Plans for the day include baking, movies, and couch snuggling, or maybe nothing at all. Preferring a snowstorm to paradise probably makes me a jerk, might even be unbelievable… but I do. I Swear.

There are too many things I love about this photo.

There are too many things I love about this photo.


“F” is for Florida, by Steve Safran

In 1973, my whole family lived here. Twenty-six of us were in New England, and that was just on my mother’s side. From Nana and Papa right down to lucky cousin #13, most of us lived within 20 miles of Boston and braved entire Red Sox seasons and decades of snow-melt sprinkling and shoveling together. When power went out in one of our towns, we just packed up and piled into the closest cousin’s house that still had cable. Today from that group, it’s just Aunt & Uncle #1 and cousins #2 and #3 who still need puffy coats. The rest moved to Florida.


My grandfather moved the family hardware business in the mid-‘70s (one I regret not going into, given its success), choosing America’s longest-lasting penis joke as a permanent residence. He eventually lured the majority of the family to follow him to the crotch of the nation. Well, one moved to Louisiana. But that’s just the Florida of the South. Ask northerners who move to Florida why they would do that on purpose, and they’ll tell you, “I got tired of the cold.” To which I add, “You’re always cold. Now you’re just cold when it dips below 70.” I was born in a snowstorm in January– about a mile from Fenway Park. Two things I know and love are snow and baseball. Why would anyone leave this? We hearty few refuse to fly south to escape weather that was designed for unflattering jackets and four months of whining because we’re New Englanders! But to add insult to frostbite, we have to hand over entire paychecks to JetBlue to visit these thinner-skinned relatives… in F-ing Florida.

With our holidays wrapped, and family fleeing to Friggin’ Florida, it was time to reunite the best substitute for actual blood relations: old friends. Agent 99 and I had a little cocktail party last weekend. Britt, Tony, the splendid Gammonses-Browns and Jason gathered at my Mall-à-terre. I made rum punch and 99 shared her mulled wine recipe. (“Just put in these spices and a lot of alcohol.”) With some amusement, I noticed that when drinking, we all turn into ersatz cousins, brothers, sisters and those two uncles who know exactly how to fix the world. Uncle Left wants to have a 100% inheritance tax (“Fuck You, Trust Funders!”). Uncle Right is tired of the slackers (“Fuck You, Freeloaders!”). And at the end of the night everyone still loves each other, making plans to do it all over again next year.

I dropped off my snowbird parents at Logan Airport early Friday morning, feeling like they must have when they delivered me and sister Boo to summer camp: “Have an awesome time in the sun… see you in two months!” Actually, I suspect they felt a mixture of relief and excitement to be rid of us for a handful of weeks. But there was probably a bit of that aren’t-you-lucky-to-avoid-local-weather-and-responsibility sentiment. Now it’s their turn to enjoy rest and relaxation in perfect, puffy-coat-free weather. Escaping frozen pipes and ice dams and slippery sidewalks and AccuWeather warnings of a doozy of a storm on the way, my parents were only too happy to get settled in Fabulous Florida.

But after only twenty hours in penis-shaped paradise, a text from Mom:


Enjoy the storm.  I certainly will be.

Refusing to leave the blue zone...

Why New Englanders have only f-bombs for Florida…