because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

My Sleeping Bag Coat

Posted on

When I moved to Rochester from New Orleans in 1995, the sunflowers in my backyard turned their yellow heads to face a blue, cloudless sky. That fall, the leaves on the maple trees turned red and yellow and brown and fell at our feet, but the sun stuck around. One October weekend, my husband and I hopped in his car to scout out a grape festival. Everyone kept saying how unseasonably warm it was. We hardly heard them as we scooped gobs of pie directly out of the tin and into our mouths. Standing there in our short sleeves, it seemed the warm weather would never end. Clearly, moving to Western, New York had been a delicious choice.

One October afternoon, a friend came to help me unpack the last of my boxes.

“Where are your coats?” she asked.

After five years in New Orleans, I didn’t have many. I held up my denim jacket, a green raincoat, and a few sweaters.

She shook her head. “You’d better get a good coat. Fast.”

But I ignored her. Because what did she know? Everything was so cozy in our apartment, and the afternoon light never stopped streaming through the stained glass windows of our apartment.

And then it happened.

One morning, I went outside to find everything blanketed in white. Shivering, I brushed off the windshield and hopped inside to turn on the heat. And after work, I drove directly to the nearest mall to buy my first sleeping bag coat.

Let’s be clear. My sleeping bag coat isn’t pretty. It isn’t fashion forward. But once the temperatures fall below 40 degrees, I am never without it. Black and puffy and filled with down, I wear it all the time. While I make breakfast. While I do the dishes. While I run errands.

I have even slept in my sleeping bag coat. Several years ago, we had a major ice storm. Trees cracked and power lines went down. People lost power for over a week. It was mid-April, and I could see my breath in my house.

Recently, I realized sleeping bag coats are kind of a Rochester thing.

Everywhere I go, there they are.

In the grocery store.

IMG_0676

 In a restaurant.

 IMG_0894

Out for a walk.

IMG_0885

At Target.

IMG_0852

At the pharmacy counter.

IMG_0902

And again at the pharmacy.

IMG_0677

I know some ladies will argue that fashion should always come first. In my experience, these women are usually in their 20s. They often live in warm weather climates and wear bikinis with 5” hoochie-mamma heels.

In Rochester, we have to be pragmatic.

Because when it is cold for nearly six months of the year, we have to wear boots.

And hats. And scarves. And mittens.

We do the best we can.

We really do.

Cut us some slack.

Eventually it will stop snowing. The daffodils and tulips will dare to poke their heads out of the cold hard earth, and the trees will decide to sprout leaves. Things will green up. The thermometer will register above 60 degrees. Then, and only then, will I dare to step out of my sleeping bag coat.

What is the signature look in your neck of the woods?

I’m linking up with the fabulous folks at Yeah Write. Click on the hat to read good stuff from other peeps.

challenge100

tweet me @rasjacobson.com

Continuing Their Excellent Adventure: The Things Come To Rochester, New York

Posted on

Way back in September, Leanne Shirtliffe (aka: Ironic Mom) asked me when I might want to have the Things make a stop in Rochester on their Excellent Adventure, and I knew I wanted them during the winter. Duh!

There is so much to do here when there is snow. I figured we would go skiing, make snow critters, go sledding and ice-skating, have them help us make snow tunnels, and bring them inside to a roaring fire. You get the idea. When Leanne contacted me in December, I had to decline her offer because there was no snow in Rochester. She asked me again a few weeks later, and while we were still without snow – I figured by the time the Things made it to me, we’d certainly have some white stuff. But as anyone from this part of the United States can tell you, the weather this year has been positively wonky. Here is a pictorial about our time with the Things.

I swear Rochester is usually much more fun than is perhaps depicted here. Maybe.

• • •

In Rochester, this season,

winter’s been strangely mild.

No sledding, no skiing.

for adult or for child.

When one day,

I found I had nothing to do

I opened my door

And found Things 1 and 2.

They were positively chilled

Having spent the night outside

So I brought them in our home

To entertain them, we tried.

We wanted to show the Things

A most wonderful day.

We took off to Great Places

We took off and away.

Lake Ontario. Toronto, Canada is on the other side.

We drove to Lake Ontario.

We drove with great care.

And though I said, “Pull over carefully!”

Hubby pulled over There.

The Things thought this was funny. Hubby? Not so much.

When he parked There in that spot

Hubby rolled over a bolt.

And when his tire popped,

We felt the horrible jolt.

The Things thought tire shopping was fun. Hubby? No so much.

The Things knew stuff like this happens

As things sometimes do

So they didn’t worry,

No, they didn’t stew.

They played in the tires

That had been stacked, just so.

They played until the people

At the tire shop said, “Go.”

Want some bracelets? Check out http://GoGuiltyPleasures.com Julie will send some to you!

The next morning I found the Things

They were quite a sight.

They’d gotten into some trouble.

(I’d suspected they might.)

They’d found some bracelets from GoGuiltyPleasures

and seemed a little low.

But I untangled them and told them

we’d more places to go.

The Things liked learning about Brownie cameras. Hubby? Not so much.

We took the Things to George Eastman House

Home of Kodak fame

I explained that if it hadn’t been for George

Picture taking wouldn’t be the same.

Jim's Diner on Winton. Tell them Renée sent you.

We all began to shiver

So we drove to our favorite diner.

The Things showed good manners and exclaimed:

“This coffee couldn’t be finer!”

We took the Things to Lock 33

On the Canal called Erie.

We had no mule whose name was Sal

And the Things were mighty weary.

What

Still, we took them to Wegmans Market

Best grocery store under the sky,

And once inside the Things perked up

There were so many things to try.

Jimmy from Produce loved The Things

They thought the store was swell.

They hid in the red peppers

And in a pile of lobster shells.

We took the Things to temple.

To show them how services were led.

They were very respectful

And wore one yarmulke on top of their heads.

One night the Things seemed homesick.

I saw a tear near Thing 1’s eye.

I pulled out a postcard of the Rockies

and brought out the Canada Dry.

The next day, miraculously

the snow – it had arrived!

And Thing 1 and Thing 2

seemed amazingly revived.

Happy Things!

They watched Tech Support at Rochester Fencing Club.

And even took a class.

And while they loved their toothpick sabers

They decided to take a pass.

We took the Things skiing

They liked to go vroom

They liked when I went very fast

So I zigged and zagged and zoomed!

The Things at Bristol Mountain

When their stay was over

We said splendiferous goodbyes.

We gave the Things good scrub downs

And gave each other high-fives.

As I shoved placed them in an envelope

addressed for their next temporary stay

We agreed we would miss those Things

and sent them safely on their way!

Fare thee well, Things. We hardly knew ye.

**NOTE: The snow melted the minute I sent the Things overseas to their next destination. Yup, they are headed to Switzerland to begin the European leg of their Tour! {Watch the news for “global weirding” in Europe.}

To read more about where the Things have been so far, click HERE.

So what would you have liked to have done with me and the Things? In Rochester, New York? In February? With no snow? IYKWIM.

Tweet this Tweet @rasjacobson

Something Wrong

Posted on
Photo by Auntie P at flickr.com

Today, I did something wrong.

I ate a perfect pear in January.

In this part of the United States, January usually means down jackets, snow pants and polar fleece.

By now, we should have built a snow fort or two; our weekends should involve ski slopes and sleds and hot chocolate by blazing fires.

January is supposed to mean batting flakes out of my eyelashes as I go into the grocery store and scraping the ice off my windshield on my way out.

So while the earth is firm under my feet and breathing the air makes me cough, I can still see grass.

We are at a threshold, neither in nor out.

And on this winter morning, as my son slid out the back door wearing a new parka — so blue against the white sky – biting through that pear’s flesh tasted entirely wrong.

The sweet nectar was delicious but wrong.

I tried to be grateful for a summer reminder.

{In subtraction, they would call it the remainder.}

But I’m tired of these remnants, the what’s left sticky residue of summer on my fingers.

Let it be winter already: enough of this in-between.

Is anyone else wishing for full-blown winter?