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Suburban Island

Back to Business as Usual
Saturday, Jan. 10, 2004, 1:33 p.m.

QUESTION: Who ate the rest of the chocolates?

WHAT I LEARNED: Seasons come and go.

I survived my first week back at work with more overall success and less overall pain than I had anticipated. It was pretty standard for reentry – some Outlook problems due to my penchant for maintaining overlarge archive files, a little too much personal time with Excel, and finding myself going out in the cold for client visits when I would rather be home sipping chocolate by a cozy fire – that type of thing.

At home, this week was a gearing down and starting up time. The decorations slipped away into boxes a little every day until yesterday, the last survivors of this effort - Charlie Brown and his gang - had to hit the road. I waved goodbye to them as they made their way out to the shed in a large plastic tube filled with other holiday favorites - see you next year - I said under my breath as my husband carried them off. The tree that had made its way from the local tree-stand’s no-Christmas-for-you pile to our house and Christmas celebrity status by a lucky chance in December, was laid gently at the curb in January; I swear I saw a smile move across its green branches as it exited the house. Thanks for the very green Christmas - I think as I see my rooms all morph back to normal un-holiday spaces. All the special holiday foods are gone too with a few exceptions: a forgotten carton of eggnog which we discovered yesterday, some last bits of chocolate which we are still nibbling on, and a few individual serving of my special Christmas Eve casserole – a noodle, tomato, and cheese concoction that I have enjoyed every Christmas Eve since I was a kid – which we will be eating as the whim and hunger dictates this winter.

So it is January and things are back to normal, back to their usual order, back to air that is devoid of jingle bells or Christmas carols. After the frenzy of every holiday season, it actually feels good to be getting back to business as usual. This dark heart of winter always feels so peaceful; being unobstructed by holiday requirements of any sort that require vast amounts of cooking and decorating. But even as I revel in the first days of it I am thinking ahead.

As is my habit after the holiday season - after spinning dredles and eating latkes, after watching every version of A Christmas Carol I can find and opening my very last Christmas present, after drinking my last glass of New Year’s Eve cheer and writing up my resolutions on New Year’s Day – I now wait for the crocuses to poke their gold and purple heads out of the cold front garden, such as it is, and hope for an early spring.

And what I wouldn’t give for summer right in the middle of winter without a ticket to a warmer climate.

image from ephemeranow.com

It could happen.

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