How many snow days have you had in the last two weeks? For us, two snow storms combined brought 32 inches of snow and resulted in 4.5 snow days. Emlen has played tons of video games and Henry has slept a lot. I have heard rumors that there might be another storm today. I think Henry and Emlen will probably go to school until the 26th of June to make up the lost days. Summer gets shorter every year.
Winter swim team is over. It is always such a letdown after the ramp up to Championships – especially with the added stress of wondering if Emlen is actually going to be able to participate. He did. He successfully finished the season and swam at Championships. It was so important for him, both physically and mentally. His medical team and his new physical therapist (PT) are thrilled. The PT is completely pro exercise. Emlen placed first in the 25YD fly, third in the 100YD IM and his free relay took first. I think the relay broke the team record – will have to confirm.
BTW, Henry did well too. He placed fourth in the 100YD IM, fourth in the 50YD breast and his free relay was third overall.
That was two weeks ago. We have been enjoying the in between, especially since it is difficult to drag the kids to swim practice with two feet of snow on the ground. Nearly every evening we would pack up the swim bags, put on the boots and coats, get in the car, drop off at the pool, change into suits, swim, take a shower, get dressed back into boots and coats, wait for pick up while wet hair freezes, head home, unpack the swim bag and hang up the towels that will never dry because the house temperature is set for sixty-three degrees so we can save money on heat. I still have not decided if keeping the house temperature so cold actually saves money. Any extra cash we have I seem to spend on layers and layers of sweaters. And gloves. I wear gloves in the house in winter.
I had truly hoped winter was over. It seemed like it when it was 70-degrees in February. We were all set to start gardening. Christian and I had even settled on a hedge plant. Privet. It is inexpensive, grows quickly and is super drought tolerant.
That reminds me, I need to order more grass seed.
I solicited an opinion of privet from our friend Karen. She shares our passion for gardening and is quite knowledgeable about plants. She had never heard of it but after a quick search on Google proclaimed that you could build a “fortress out of it”. Perfect. That is what we want – just like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, although ours will be green and right in the middle of suburbia. We have even accepted that we will have to trim it several times during the summer. It will be worth it for the privacy.
The plan is to enclose our front yard with privet – down the whole property line on the north side, across the front yard and up to the driveway while still leaving room along the edge for the piles of snow from the snow plow. On the south side of the driveway we will extend the grove of hemlocks. Henry and Emlen refer to this little enclave as the “Rainforest” since it holds onto the damp for ages after it rains. Once the hedge and new rainforest have grown in it will block the neighborhood view into our kitchen. Then onto exploring a gate for the driveway. I would like to stop the traffic from using our driveway as if it were train yard turntable. Last week I watched a semi-truck turn around in our driveway. It backed up all the way to the garage and almost took out our mailbox on the way out. Don’t people have GPS? They should know the road is a loop. You only need to go one way. No need for risky maneuvers or downed mailboxes.
I sound like a grumpy old man. I’ll just hike up my pants while running after people with a golf club screaming, “Get off my lawn!” If you ever have the chance, ask Henry to do his impression of a grumpy old man. It is pretty convincing.
But we will have to wait. It is back to snow pants, sleds, hot cocoa and boots. The boots are everywhere. No matter how many different systems I set up to organize them they all end up at the bottom of the stairs that lead into the garage. Yesterday, I tripped over the boot pile almost dropping the calorie laden goodies I had bought from Concord Teacakes.
On the bright side the boys are getting in a few more days of skiing. It was a little sad that our rented skis had been hanging in the garage for months never touching snow. (Many thanks to Mom, who gave us three full days of skiing for Christmas. We used the gift card all up!)
In one week, the Bay States Swim Team starts. This is a smaller group of swimmers chosen by the head coach. I think he invites the top point scorers of each age group from winter swim team. Once you accept, you are included every year. The team’s sole purpose is to train for the Bay State Games, which are usually held at Harvard University in early July. Practice is every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They swim anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 yards each time.
Henry has been a “Bay Stater” for a few years. This year Emlen was asked. He wants to, and I am encouraging it. But I have my reservations. I am sure he can do the yardage. Last year he practiced with the team a few times and was fine. My reservations have more to do with the caloric deficit from so much swimming. Didn’t Michael Phelps consume 5,000 calorie breakfasts at Denny’s when he was in the thick of it? I know we will not be at that level, but it is such a daily fight to get him to eat what he needs when he is just being an average kid – by that I mean average kid with cystic fibrosis (CF). He has promised me that instead of a small afterschool snack he will eat a big plate of pasta with butter, cheese and lots of sauce; either pesto, red, or spicy peanut. I guess we will up the McDonald’s runs too. Today he slathered his potato chips with butter, so maybe I shouldn’t worry. Just in case, his coach says he can try the team out for a bit and then decide if he wants to continue for the season.
Of course, this is all good as long as he is healthy. His cough has started to come back. I do not know if it is another virus he picked up or if it is the staphapseudococcalgillustreptaspernomous (see post, “Good News, Bad News and Good News, Again”, January 2018) rearing its ugly head. My visual is of the Mucinex TV mucus characters settling into his lungs. He has been off the antibiotics a little over two weeks now. This is about when it happens. He had a cough this morning, but it is still pretty mild. We will do our best to get it under control with his regular therapies. I am under orders from the pulmonologist to bring him back immediately if it escalates.
The goal is to keep him out of the hospital for the rest of the winter – which may not come until the end of June at this rate. Did I mention that there might be another snow storm today? I would like to make it to the latter half of spring break before we go back to the hospital. In early April, we have a weekend planned for New Hampshire which includes a field trip to Mass MOCA. In the past, we have had to cancel for health reasons. It will be a drag to have to cancel again.
We hope to see you soon. Loved catching up in February. Thanks for making the trek down here. I think the kids had a very good time at the house while we went out to dinner. Let’s find another time to get together. We are wide open on weekends this spring. For the first time since Henry started pre-K soccer we do not have any activities on Saturday or Sunday. Pretty excited about that. Hedge, here we come.
Hi to Tim, Miranda and Iris.