“365 Days of Mindfulness” [Day 71] Mindfulness, Ice, Snow, Cracked Pipes & More…

Where have I been?

Somewhere between cracked pipes, no hot water from Friday night until late Monday afternoon, dishes a mess because there was no hot water to wash them in meaning that the food was stuck on them like concrete. In desperation Sunday night I loaded them all up in the dishwasher, threw in a little extra soap, and put it on Pot-scrubber mode hoping it would at least soften and loosen up the stuck on food.

Ha ha ha, the folly of the desperate. They looked worse afterward. And then it gets even worse.

When the nice man arrived on Monday to work on the pipes he found that they weren’t insulated. Well, we don’t really ever have weather, or seldom, quite this cold. He left and went 4 places, all the major hardware stores, and everybody was out of insulation everywhere. He was beside himself because the weather was supposed to get worse starting on Tuesday. I mean so bad on Monday it was announced that schools would be closed. businesses closed, my vet called to cancel an appointment — they were leaving at noon (I wouldn’t have gone anyway with the weather starting in) — the bank closed at 2:00 and on and on. By early that afternoon freezing rain has started in and through the night the snow.

Since he couldn’t get insulation he asked me for bath towels and padded the pipes up as well as he could. It worked, thank God, but in the process of everything he was doing he found that something wasn’t shutting off right to the dishwasher so he shut the hot water off to it. So at the same time I got hot water in the house the hot water to the dishwasher was turned off. I can’t even bear to look inside at the dishes. I might have to throw them all out and start over.

Then, as he left Monday, he said he would be back Wednesday — today — to get the dishwasher situation fixed but as the weather is still bad today with roads covered with snow and ice he, of course, couldn’t get here.

You see the thing is that unlike areas that are used to snow and have all kinds of equipment and something to put down on the roads we just don’t get this kind of weather here and it virtually never snows. If we do we have a few flakes in the air and maybe once or twice in the 20 years I have lived here there was maybe an inch but it melted almost immediately. Not this time.

(I am trembling thinking about those dishes.)

By last evening it was starting to snow and luckily we had a little covering on the ice so it wasn’t quite as bad. I had been skating around my big deck haphazardly in the sleet to fill all the birdfeeders. I have quite a number of bird feeders on 3 sides of the deck and I think every wild bird within 5 miles was coming in. I felt so sorry for them and inched around dragging the 30 pound bag of seed kind of hanging on to things to fill them. I got every one filled. Twice yesterday and first thing this morning I had to bring the bowls in I fill with water for them (I couldn’t even dump them out. They were filled with solid ice and it wasn’t budging.) so I keep bringing one in to thaw and carrying out a fresh bowl, carefully moving around the deck holding my breath.

The worst of it is the dogs. They held it in all afternoon yesterday no matter how I pleaded and cajoled and prayed and bargained with God. They just weren’t having it. By evening, just after they’d eaten their dinner and I was getting desperate I turned around to see tiny Delilah tinkling such a huge puddle it looked like Lake Michigan. I cleaned that up and begged the 3 boys to go out. It had stopped doing anything for awhile and the ice had some snow covering. I could barely walk on it for fear of falling since I am here alone and no one could get to me if I fell in this weather anyway. Amazingly my young boys, Tanner and Pugsley, went out, down the steps, if somewhat timidly, and went out in the snow and went potty, but poor old Sam wasn’t having any of it and frankly I would have been worried if he tried. He’s 15 1/2, arthritic, kind of wobbles when he walks, and is stone deaf so he can’t hear if you call him. He tried to come out on the deck, slid a little, got a look of abject horror on his face, and then I did as I coaxed him back in, and I was near tears worrying about him. Then I got an idea.

Right off the deck is my one car attached garage. He always likes to follow me in there if I am doing something so I got him in there and figured maybe he would go to the potty in there. Thank God he did. Both ways. I have never been so relieved in my whole life. We all made it inside, but by the time I got the 5 parrots put to bed and slumped down into this chair determined to get this blog updated — I was upset about being so behind — I was so completely exhausted I stared at the computer for a bit, handled a little email, and then said, “No can do.” I shut everything down and headed into the Cozy Room to hunker down with the pugs and watch something. I don’t have t.v. anymore, I got rid of it right after Christmas, and now just have streaming this and that, but I got Gaiam t.v.’s streaming and I just love it. I made the mistake, however, of watching a program on 9/11.

I love documentary type shows and I guess a great many of us will always have a horrible fascination with what happened that day because it is just too awful to believe, still, and it will forever be accompanied by a painful disbelief that it could have happened at all.

I should not have watched that program.

I have watched a lot of programs about 9/11 but never anything like this one and it shook me to my core. It was not a conspiracy program per se, they made a point of stating that at the beginning, and they put no blame on anyone, but the whole program was architects and engineers saying there is no way those buildings came down from just being hit by the planes. They said that after a great many (the number was big but I can’t remember how many) architects and engineers, not just from the U.S. but other ally countries, had studied every aspect of this they determined that there was some foul play, something really awful that had gone on, to wit they said that the buildings had been rigged with demolition explosives so that was why they came straight down so fast. There was more. It was like watching a train wreck. It was upsetting me terribly but I couldn’t turn it off. The implication was that it wasn’t terrorists that made this happen.

I was simply horrified, and so tired my body ached, having also had a fall Saturday night that left me a little banged up and bruised, and no hot water to shower in to ease the aches, but the program had upset me so badly I couldn’t go to sleep. I finally took a pill after tossing and turning for 2 hours. I don’t like to take anything but I was desperate to go to sleep.

This morning I was awake before the dogs, which is unusual. They usually wake me up. They looked so cute, like furry little peanuts all snuggled up with me, and two of them were snoring rather loudly, that I just lie there with that overwhelming love I always feel at these times, but then my body went rigid as a board. I remembered the snow, and how it was supposed to have gotten much worse through the night, but I didn’t know how bad it was. The potty issue again. I decided to stay in bed until they started to stir to delay the inevitable agony over trying to get them out but soon enough they were all up and I threw on a shawl and my furry Crocs and out we went.

Amazingly even though there was so much snow (for us) it was hard, really hard, and it was not really slick except around edges of the deck where it hadn’t snowed and was still icy. I was shocked when both of the boys and even Delilah went down the stairs and out into the yard. I clung to the railing for dear life and edged out onto the snow and then I felt delighted like a little girl. SNOW, finally SNOW!

I have never gotten over living some place where there isn’t snow. Every year I feel depressed at Christmas because you can get your Christmas tree in shorts here (That is just wrong.) and we have no hope of a white Christmas. In fact the week before Christmas it was so warm and muggy I had to turn on the air conditioning and was getting badly bitten up outside by mosquitoes when I went out with the dogs. You can  understand, then, why I just walked around the yard in wonder, taking lots of pictures. The garden areas covered with snow were just enchanting. The picture at the top of this entry isTanner and Delilah outside in our winter wonderland.

We made it back up with no mishaps but there was poor little Sam looking forlorn. I took him back inside the garage and he did his business. By the time I made my latté and slumped into my chair I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest. I had also slipped around getting fresh water for the birds again, cleaned up after Sammy, fed them all, fed all the parrots and got them started on their day, and longed for a hot shower but now that I had the hot water I was too tired to take one before I had my coffee.

That’s when I pulled myself together and thought “Yegods Maitri, I’m not sure you have had a mindful moment in four days.” I sat up straight, and then relaxed into my breathing. I came into my center and felt at home again in my body. If aching from the banging up I got with the fall which seemed to have gotten worse in the bitter cold I was okay. That’s mindfulness. Come back to the present moment. The pipes will get all worked out one way or another, despite the lack of hot water and the concrete on the dishes we did have water and I was grateful because all of the animals needed it. By some miracle we didn’t lose power and were warm, and I even found a way to get Sam to go potty. And right then, and now too, I am okay, the animals are all fine, we are warm and fed and what will happen later and what happened before didn’t matter.

I decided to spend the day taking it easy, off and on the heating pad, catching up on a lot of research, writing by hand, journalling, planning, dreaming, and scheming. It felt good to just relax into the day. This evening I recorded the daily podcast and sent it out, fed the dogs and even got them out again (And Sam in the garage…), made my dinner and ate, and then felt ready to do this blog post. I was not going to miss one more day and frankly now I’m afraid to turn on the t.v. I really would like to sleep tonight. I probably will turn it on because I’m too tired to read but I will be very careful about what I watch.

So here I am. The pipes still need to be dealt with, the dishes I don’t want to think about, but I have had a long hot shower, I am ready for my students tomorrow and Friday, I am finishing this post and will soon have it up and the newsletter out and we will be able to call it a day.

All in all it has been an interesting few days and we do have snow, after all. That is just pure magic to me, and it will pass quickly and things will go back to whatever passes for normal around here, and tomorrow is my eldest daughter’s 37th birthday and I am so excited to call her and talk to her for her birthday and I got all of her birthday things taken care of and sent out just before the weather hit so I feel happy.

You can make it through anything, really, you just have to keep reminding yourself that you are okay, in that one single solitary moment, and if you are okay in that one you can make it through the next one. Come to think of it I actually did do that sometime last Saturday night after the fall when I struggled up and realized that nothing was broken and it would all be okay. I stood there breathing for a few minutes, leaning against the wall with relief, and finally got the courage to wash up as best I could standing at the bathroom sink with cold water only, and here I am, and all is well.

I always come back to the wonderful quote by Julian of Norwich from the 11th century, in fact it is on a sterling silver bracelet that I never take off. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” And so they shall.

I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are. I hope your pipes are not cracked. I hope you have hot water, that you have stayed upright, and that your dishwasher works, but if it doesn’t you too shall be well, in this very moment, and we will make it, from one moment to the next, even if it feels like the crossing from the preceding moment to the following one is as precarious as crossing an old swinging bridge we just keep breathing and we make it safely by resting in the middle and breathing and regaining the composure to go all the way.

And so it is, and so we shall, and on we go.


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  1. A part of me chuckles when I consider what chaos would ensue if snow ever fell in Southern California, below, say, 1500 feet or so. The last time it snowed where I live was in 1969 – two years before I was born! We do get snow in the foothills on a fairly regular basis…at times, you can go from snow to the beach in two hours. The closest we got was a large hailstorm about ten years ago; most all of the residence in the condo complex where we live were out taking pictures in the common areas. It did look rather snow-like for a couple of hours…
    This year seems to have been the Winter that Wasn’t, as desert winds kept us very warm and dry for weeks on end. The last of the Santa Ana’s (as the desert winds are called) is finally breaking down and we’re expecting more “seasonal” temperatures, just as Winter begins to yield to Spring. I plan to stay home and “measure time by mugs of tea,” as SARK would day, for a few days, and release the rest of this wee cold I seem to have picked up. I also have a lot to catch up on online; perhaps now I’ll finally get the chance!
    Looking forward to this Horse Year and a chance to restart the New Year. I called a “do-over” when my lower back seized up a few weeks ago. Happy to have a Black Moon to assist with the reboot!

    Blessed Be,
    Victoria oxo

  2. Teresa Myszka says:

    It seems the whole country is experiencing the effects of the Polar Vortex…snow in Maui…say it isn’t so lol. Even the parts of the country that are used to and ready for this weather are experiencing problems keeping up. My washer/dryer are in my mud room and you guessed it the pipes froze, so I haven’t been able to do laundry for a week, the heater is constantly running and I’m worried about the feral kittens that have decided to take up residence under my shed. Thanks to you Maitri I am able to stay in the moment, focus and be grateful for what I do have. That being said I hope the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow on Sunday and well have an early spring lol.

  3. Maitri, I had to smile when I read this stream of consciousness. We are snowed in in Atlanta, too. My two cats that are indoor/outdoor who prefer outdoor potty time are not happy about the cat boxes (even though they have their pick of five). But, we had such fun snuggling yesterday. I had a comforter, a wool blanket, and three of the four cats. We all felt very warmed and loved!!! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  4. Oh my…you have been through a lot….but you are strong, and you keep inspiring me to come back to mindfulness and knowing we are OK in this moment.
    I’ve had to remind myself of that very often lately…here in Hudson Valley in NY we are great handling snow and ice…lots of it! But, the minus fifteen degree temps have been really difficult! We had frozen pipes, my water well pump gave up on me, so no water anyway…plus I had one of those yearly mammo scares….all while trying to get my sweet little house thawed out and ready to sell. I kept coming back to all my blessings and saying, over and over…sometimes out loud..” In this moment, I am well, all is well”. It worked! I got through it all…and I am so thankful to you Maitri, for your teaching, sharing, honesty and loving kindness! Looking forward to talking with you today…wishing everyone love, warmth and peace filled moments!

  5. My word, Maitri, I think you could make a walk from table to sink so fascinating I would read it eagerly. This is the kind of writing that makes my inner critics start their nattering about how I should maybe just take up knitting. Absolutely wonderful!

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