The Ghosts in my Mind

We were hit last night by Winter Storm Vulcan, yes that is what they named it. I didn’t panic, I knew what to expect. When my husband called at 10:30 pm and said everyone else at work was leaving and that meant he had to as well I was worried because I had just heard that the plows had been pulled off the interstates up here. I warned him and he already knew, hence why everyone was bailing. It took him an hour and a half to drive home when it usually takes him about 45 minutes in the winter and 30 in the summer. When he walked into our room at midnight I had managed to doze off thanks to melatonin and hot tea, so he woke me up to say he was home safe and to tell me he couldn’t sleep. Okay… what does he do, he starts playing Call of Duty on the Playstation. Then he informs me that he couldn’t pull into the driveway so he is parked across the road at my dad’s house since his driveway was plowed. How much snow I asked, at least a foot so far he answered. I left the alarm on for 6 am even though I knew school was going to be cancelled for our oldest. For the rest of the evening I woke up sporadically to the sounds of grenades, gunfire and “SON OF A BITCH! I TOTALLY HAD A HEADSHOT!”…..At 4 am he crawled into bed and nudged me to move over. Hell no, I was in bed longer, I claimed 3/4 of that damn bed. You choose to game all night you lose any claim to that mattress.

Okay so the phone rang at 5:30 am and it was my son’s school robocalling to tell us that school was cancelled. I was fully expecting that and had the phone next to the bed. At 6 am I woke up with the alarm, got dressed and tip toed out the kitchen to take my meds, drink my vitamins and eat an apple before I went outside to snow blow. I did manage to take a few pictures which I will upload soon. This is when I made a grim discovery. The snow blower had decided to go on strike overnight. I panicked. I just got it working the night before!!!!! COME ON!!!!!! I had 2 feet of snow to get rid of!!! I spent 2 hours out there clearing out an ice jam, checking the gas, sticking my hand inside a very sharp and narrow hole, checking wires…you name it and it was FREEZING out…but it would not blow snow. At 8 am I admitted I needed help and walked inside and woke up the husband and said he needed to go get me oil at the store. He declared he was tired. I told him tough crap he was going to help me move snow. When he looked up he saw a very irritated red head staring down at him. He got up.

Time to skip ahead. I ended up spending over 4 hours out there working on the snow blower trying to get the auger to spin. The entire time I could feel my grandfather next to me laughing and probably saying a few choice words in his special way. His youngest granddaughter laying on a cardboard box on a slushy concrete garage floor working on HIS ancient snow blower. He must have been beaming with pride. I even caught myself talking to him a few times, like when I got crud under a nail and I stopped to scrape it out, I started to justify out loud “Hey now I’ve never had long nails before and I hate having dirt under them, it feels icky”. I had to look around to make sure nobody saw me talking to myself. I don’t know if I turned out how he expected, I just wish I had watched him do this more when I was younger. But somehow I just knew to pick up the wrench and where to start looking when it stopped working. The look on my husband’s face was priceless, he married a scientist, a singer and a dancer, not a mechanic. GOTCHA HONEY!

My grandmother and I on the other hand, we didn’t always get along. I always thought she hated me or thought I wasn’t good enough. I’m different now and oh boy was I different when I was younger. But it was even worse when I was a teenager and preteen. I thought she loved my sister more than me and that she thought I was a waste of time and space. I just couldn’t do anything right ever. But I understand that she was pushing me to try harder to fit into the world because I couldn’t make the world fit me. She didn’t want to see me fail or fall into the wrong crowd or become lost somehow. My differences make me stronger and they give me wings. I think Grammy began to see that because no matter how much she criticized me or made me mad I would still show up to paint her nails, or take her to the grocery store or test her blood sugar. And when it was her time to go I was there and the last thing she said to me was “Thank You”. I remember thinking “Thank you??? Thank you for WHAT?!?!?!??! For being your verbal punching bag for 23 years???? For taking all the bull crap for being accused of stuff day after day and no matter how much I insisted I was innocent I was NEVER believed….well YOU’RE WELCOME”. I didn’t say that of course, instead I gave her a hug and a kiss and held her hand through the night in shifts and watched her slip away. She died when I had run home to take a shower, my mom was with her when it happened and it was peaceful. I cried when she died, but I didn’t cry at her funeral. I was done by the time we laid her down in the ground next to Pop. I felt guilty, but I was still angry, I felt like she got the last laugh with that “Thank You”….seriously Grammy???? I’m 32 years old now and I am now raising my family in her house. She is in every single corner. It’s funny, it’s not the arguments we had that echo, it’s the theme from Keeping up Appearances and Grammy and Pop’s laughter at poor Richard’s plight with Hyacinth. It’s Grammy asking me what I want for a bedtime snack. And every so often when I open the sun porch door I catch a whiff of apple pie. When I give my youngest a bath in the same tub I took baths in I remember Grammy putting After Bath Splash on me and how much I loved that smell and the amazing blue and pink flannel night gowns she had for my sister and me. And the pink waffled blankets that were very warm. She said thank you because I stuck with it and didn’t walk away. Because I grew up and became a young woman. I now have 2 sons of my own and a husband, Thank YOU Grammy. I learned to think before I speak and act, I learned to be careful of whom I associate with, but above all, I have learned from the mistakes we all made along the way. Rest in peace grammy and pop, I love you and miss you and I promise to take really good care of this house.

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