Wonderful Warmth

Five days after our power went off, it’s back on. The snow is almost melted, and I had my first normal day back to work today. Fortunately, the freezer was full enough and cold enough to preserve all of the frozen meat and veggies that we had for food bank families. The dairy products in the fridge had to go, but I was afraid that we’d have to dispose of much more than we actually did. There were a lot of people in the food bank today, as I thought there would be, but it seems that most people weathered the storm and power outages well. We lost a week, but we’re back to where we were. This is another time where I’m glad that I don’t have a curriculum calendar to match, so there isn’t any pressure to speed teach what would’ve been taught last week.

During “Boys Time with Jamie” today I let the boys have a snowball fight today. It was cute until two fifth graders didn’t want to stop throwing slushy spheres at each other. Then, instead of making a snowman, I made the call that it was time to go inside and do homework. Sometimes I forget how many boundaries and rules need to be established. Lucky for me, the kids are quick to reveal when I’ve overlooked this fact. I still can’t believe how difficult it is for the to focus on their work and follow directions and do what their teachers and our program staff ask them to do. Of course, we’re all like that, really. The kids…it’s just a little more frequent with them.

After my day back at work, I walked out the door and crossed my fingers, hoping for heat at home. I texted my roommate, asking simply, “Status update?”, to which she replied, “I just walked in the door and cranked up the heater.” That sentence was glorious. I have been longing for my warm bed with its electric blanket, for the ability to cook, and for light after 5 pm. Grateful as I am for the hospitality of my friends, home is home, and I am happy to be back. When I got home and checked the temperature in my room, I found out that it was 45 degrees. Brr. I turned up the heat and after catching up with my roommate, I headed for the kitchen for my first self-cooked meal in nearly a week. The funny thing is, it took me a while to figure out what to make, and the end result wasn’t something I would typically try, but I made cinnamon almond coconut rice with shrimp and kiwi. Does that sound funny? I wanted it to be sweet and warm. It was pretty tasty, and I savored the sweetness.

To make it, I took one can of low fat coconut milk and added it to about a cup of rice. I cooked it as I would normally cook white rice, though I added a cinnamon stick and some almonds halfway through. I cooked some shrimp and sliced some kiwi…and that was my dinner. I need to go through the fridge and freezer, organizing and tossing food, but for tonight, I’m going to pre-heat my bed and curl up with a book. I thought about doing some yoga as an attempt at some physical effort, but tonight will not be the night for that. Tonight is the night to thank God for the gift of electricity, and to enjoy being home.