This fall has been a season of paradox. We bought a bigger house, which is amazing. However, unpacking has been anything but amazing. If I felt pressure to pack up our place as quickly as possible to meet our closing date, the pressure to unpack and find all our crap — to feel settled — to access the actual accessibility of our new home was tenfold.
To buy a lawnmower? To not buy a lawnmower? We bought a used riding mower hoping Geoff would be able to take on that chore. I always loved mowing the lawn as a kid because it was that chore that illustrated immediate gratification. We took pride in our carefully striped front lawn. However, at this moment, it has become one more chore in buying a place outside of a condo association.
To build a fence? To not build a fence. Needless to say, we are building a fence. Now that we have a bigger, nicer home, we are also on a very busy main road.While our kids are old enough to not run into the road, their balls still accidentally roll across Daniel Webster Highway startling drivers coming likely too fast around the corner. Where there are balls, there are kids; where there are kids, there are dogs.
To buy a snowblower? To not buy a snowblower? To pay someone to plow our giant driveway?A friend offered up their snowblower, because — get this — they are our age without children and have decided to “downsize to a condo.” So I’ve got this badass snowblower, but still don’t see how I could really clear the driveway before 7 AM when I leave for work. You are probably thinking, well, if there is that much snow that it needs to be plowed or snowblowed, then you probably won’t have school, right? That is essentially untrue here in the White Mountains of NH.Timing of storms — as in all aspects of life — is everything. If Mother Nature drops a foot of snow before midnight, chances are the roads will be clear by morning. School will be on. Regardless, with Geoff’s spinal cord injury, he will still need to bust through the predictable giant snowbank at the base of our driveway to get to his job at Loon Mountain. Mountains rarely close in the winter, unless ice or wind has knocked power out.
So, timing is everything, and while I believe with my whole heart that this timing for our move was serendipitous, I’ve also felt crushed by the weight of the responsibility to be set up and organized by winter. Geoff has the items he wishes to set up and unpack, and it won’t surprise any reader that they are not necessarily the same items his wife has prioritized. However, anyone who has ever helped someone else as a caregiver understands he would do it himself if he could. But he cannot, so I should not get frustrated when he asks for help.
Now that our Google Nest is set up (thank you Google for partnering with the Reeve Foundation), I’m going to start deferring to her. Hey Google, find my soccer ball. Hey Google, find my red and black flannel shirt I like to wear to my school’s homecoming, which is this weekend, and, oh, did I mention I can’t find it? Hey Google, find Geoff’s travel bag. Hey Google, find Geoff’s travel bag I lost while traveling literally only 2.5 miles south? Hey Google, set reminder for soccer practice and games for both kids, breakdancing class and staff meetings? Hey Google, set a reminder to be grateful. Again.
The paradox of fall is that where we live the days grow incrementally shorter and colder and more slippery altogether too quickly. With the cold comes the snow providing our winter playground and supporting my husband’s livelihood as a professional skier. Everyone in my family anticipates winter’s return, skiing primarily, with the same spirit as they look forward to Santa Claus. They. Cannot. Wait. I can wait. Honestly. Give me my sunny porch days and river swims and cold iced tea for a few more weeks. Let me get used to having a lawn and a house I’m responsible for maintaining on a budget, without throwing snow, ice and the need to salt my driveway. I’ll take your beautiful foliage and crispy freshly picked apples, but Time, please slow our autumnal roll towards winter.
Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 9 and 8. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.