Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If Bowser Can Survive, You Can Too!

We, probably like the majority of you, are crawling out of the fourth major snow event of this winter. Unlike the last three, this one missed classification as a blizzard, but it sure lived up to its billing as a major snowstorm. And who am I kidding? Mark is the one dealing with the increasingly difficult task of where to put all the snow. My only practical discomfort related to snow is timing trips for errands and helping the boys think of things to occupy their time. Believe me, I can think of things...

I've found myself commiserating with local municipalities as they tackle the burden of snow removal with no money left in the budget for such a task. But the snow has to go somewhere, doesn't it? And we want our elected and appointed officials to take care of us so we can get to our jobs, the kids can get to school, and everyone can get somewhere to shop. Next time you see a snowplow go by, please smile and wave. They are using your tax dollars well.

Where will all this snow go until it can melt, anyway? Even the rivers are getting full. It can stay banked for a while, but these banks are becoming quite high. The last time I remember marveling at banks of snow more than 4 to 5 ft. high was in elementary about 30 some years ago, and the memory-making trip to Ottumwa in 1982 that I told you about in a previous blog. Decades after those experiences I remain awestruck at the paradoxical beauty of dangerously high snow mounds.

I'm also struck by our human capacity to survive - physically and metaphorically. So many individuals - families, even - are struggling to survive financially amid daunting work and health conditions. Quality of life can feel elusive when facing the need to work at a job that is just that - a job more than a career or even a passion. But it's necessary, isn't it, if for no other reason than to earn enough money to pay bills. Paying the bills allows a family to remain in their home and to provide for food, health care and items needed to sustain daily needs. Such a conundrum. (Isn't that a great word?)

We had a great metaphorical lesson in surviving last week thanks to Bowser, Skye's hermit crab. He's been with us since late summer, and the sales associate at Petco warned us how difficult it is to keep hermit crabs alive through an Iowa winter. I'm troubled by the means we've gone to for his survivability, namely a 24-hr rock heater inside his habitat and a 24-hr space heater outside. But, he needs 70- to 80-degree air temps with 70-degree humidity. And no one in our family is a hermit crab killer. I simply hope we are practicing enough green living to offset the increase in our carbon footprint directly connected to Bowser.

I'll let Skye tell you in his own words what happened last week - the week I decided to stop reminding him to take care Bowser or he would never learn the lessons about responsibility that come with pet care. Yes, before I withheld my parental guidance, I did inform Skye I wasn't going to remind him anymore. In turn, he informed me that he had not needed the reminders anyway.

Again, I'll let him tell you the rest of the story. Well, ok, I do want to share this: Skye also learned that ground is hard to find in the deep of winter; and even if you unearth some, it is too frozen for a grave. (Can you say "ashes to ashes' for a crustacean, anyway?)

Good thing we didn't need to add to the landfill, either. I've become fond of Bowser. He's a survivor like the rest of us.


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