Warmer… warmer… dude, you’re on fire… oh wait, ice cold


It was a joke when we played the game as kids. One that often included an “oh wait, I forgot where I put it” punchline. (Ha ha.)

The punchline has twisted as I get older. Fewer people are playing any version of you’re-getting-warmer with me. And yet, perhaps the basics of the game do remain…

The other day I went to bed. There had been threats of snow in the forecast for days. Not just one storm. Several storms. All dancing with each other in some kind of competition to earn the right to fly over our heads. Thoughts ranged from dustings to mountainous accumulations to all points in between.

My running joke had been that last week and this week, snowstorm projected track predictions was remarkably similar to rearranging furniture in the living room with my wife…

Just move it a bit to the left… a bit more… a bit more… PERFECT… oh, no, no, back to the right, back to the right, little bit more… TOO FAR TOO FAR… back to the left… hold it…

Snow… no snow… snowapalooza… dusting… heavy wet snow for the next 48-72 hours… dusting… snowapalooza-like-term that no one has ever used, learned, taught or considered before, but someone thinks it will be catchy and sounds like it’s actually real so they tag the word cyclone to the end of it and start saying it like we’re the crazy ones for having never heard it before… back to a dusting… get out to your store NOW before it’s too late… back to moderate amount… and all this and more in just under 90-minutes.

(And the couch STILL isn't in the right spot.)

In the end, we didn’t see much snow on Mulberry Street. Until…

I went to sleep with somewhat clear skies, woke up, looked into the front yard and saw about two inches of snow on the cars.

Where the heck did it come from?

(Time to head back to the game for a second.)

Your sister hid your sneakers. Mom knows where your favorite shirt is. The hot-cold game can start from planned actions or spontaneous inspirations.

“Have you seen my keys?”

“Yup. And you’re ice cold.”

I am not equating that game directly to snow that needs to be cleared out of my driveway and off my cars.

Instead, I’m wondering about aspects of the game. About making progress, and whether or not you are actually closer to or further away from your ultimate destination. And, about the jokes and hiccups, when those acting as a GPS of sorts provide faulty guidance.

The idea of my wife and I working together on a project isn’t as strange as it may seem in all of this.

Years ago, we began debating whether or not to build a deck in back of our house. While kicking it around, we benefitted from the offers of some tremendous people… close friends and members of our family that wanted to take on the project with us. And… of course… it seemed brilliant.

After all, with their help, my lovely wife pointed out that we would be saving money.

The thing is, I generally approach life not wondering if a glass is half-empty or half-full. Instead, I want to know who took half of my drink. And toward that end…

There is no way we would get a new deck and not need new furniture. Then, once that new furniture was in place, we’d need a new grill for entertaining. Chances were good we’d need a place to store the new tables and chairs and so on. (Warmer… warmer… you’re on fire… oh, wait, colder.)

Of course, we ended up building the deck. It was an amazing project with some incredible people. And the memories that last about digging holes, bolting a header in place and leveling joists… well… the work and effort and group itself was beyond anything I could have ever expected. And I think that is where the answer to the unasked question really gets formed.

Remember snowapalooza?

Several years ago, I headed outside with a snow blower, shovel and brush. I cleared the driveway and cleaned off the cars. It was, if I dare say so, a lovely job. Later, in the evening, I happened to have a moment outside, and I can to this day recall staring up at the stars. A brilliant, crisp and clear night. The next morning… six inches of snow covered the driveway from edge to edge. Welcome to the land of lake effect snow and wind driven drifts.

It’s a balance. Games can be fun. Projects can be rewarding. Toss in those unplanned, uncontrollable, and often frustrating twists that feel like two steps back… suddenly fun and rewarding aren’t the words describing things.

Later today, I’m going to be making dinner for Terry and I. It will be a simple, quick dish. As long as I have the carrots. (But what are the odds there aren’t any in the fridge?)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com