Most days we go for a walk. These days when we go for a walk we boil water and pour it into two metal bottles. One for Echo's feet and one for Echo's lap. (Xi is at school, in case you were wondering.) Then we throw a snow suit at her and she zips it over her regular outfit. Next comes a puffy coat. Then mittens and a hat. We load her into the stroller on top of a thick luxurious sheepskin. I take off her boots, tuck a blanket over her and around her feet, then nestle those blanket-wrapped feet on top of the hot bottle. If we're particularly awesome that day we hand her a travel mug of cocoa.
That's the scene.
Then I get a text from my mother that says: "It's a beach day today."
Normally I wouldn't want to hear this sort of thing. Not in January. Not when we have several more months to go before we are even puffy-coat-free. But this time it's okay. It's okay because we are boarding a plane Saturday. Crossing the icy tarmac in snowy Missoula to land in sunny California. My mom can talk to me about beach days all she wants. I'm game.
We're going because my gramma, yes the gramma I spent every Friday night with. Yes the gramma who served us warm liquid jell-o. Yes the gramma who's hair is pearly white. Yes the gramma who shuns western medicine and douses herself head to toe in lavender oil. Yes the gramma of all grammas, is turning NINETY.
So we're going by golly.
There will be a big party. A big cake. Big fun. Word is there is also going to be a big family picture which Emily immediately started imagining to be like the one in one of the Godfather movies. So now she's orchestrating a black and white image and pressuring us all to pack a good black and white party outfit. She's wearing a polka dot dress and has had it ready for over a month. Because she's Emily, my sister who thinks about these sorts of things.
In fact, I'm all game for talk of beach-worthy days but when I imagine packing I sort of seize up. Cute black and white party outfit? Um... what would that be? And to be honest I don't know what to pack for the rest of the days either. I'm in winter hibernation mode. I don't even know what my forearms look like these days as they never see the light of day. So I texted Em: "What do I pack?" She said to pack what I am already wearing these days plus some sandals.
I work from home.
Is that enough said? No?
Well, okay I work from home and when I do go out, to walk the dog, work recess duty, or to swim at the Y, it doesn't matter what I am wearing because my puffy coat and almost knee-high snow boots cover everything up. Actually, technically I only have to be decent from knee to mid thigh and that's easy enough. But if I did take those snow garments off? You'd see yoga pants, or leggings, or pajama bottoms. I'm not kidding. The other day, undressing at the Y, I was actually thankful for winter because I was looking down at the day's ensemble and saw a stretched out no-wire bra, which was visible because the stretchy pajama-like top I had over it left said bra actually exposed. Basically my boobs were out. But you'd never know! Not without all that wintry gear keeping me legal.
So...no. I will not be packing my "regular outfits" and some sandals.
Wish me luck.
And wish my gramma Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Alice Caroline. Here's to many more.