And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

It’s been a long winter. A long, long, LOOOOOOOOOOONG winter. Even my granddaughter Maya Mae, who is six years old, is sick of it. Sick of it at an age when she should be delighting in making snow angels, snow forts, having snowball fights, sliding down slippery hills on sleds and toboggans and even her own snowpantsed bottom. But last weekend, she looked at me, shook her head, and said in the saddest of voices, “Oooooooh, Gamma Kaffee. I need the cold to become the warm again.”

Out of the mouth of babes.

This past Saturday, my day was supposed to be relatively simple, by my standards. Run errands. Get work done. Pick up Olivia at work at 3:30, drive her to Oconomowoc (about 20 minutes away) to see her boyfriend. Come back in time to grandbabysit Maya Mae. Pick up Michael. Go back to Oconomowoc, pick up Olivia, go out to dinner. Bring Maya home. Simple. But as I sat in the Starbucks drive-thru at 3:15, the clouds opened up. It rained so hard, I couldn’t see the car in front of me – in a drive-thru lane. It was 34 degrees. I knew what that meant. I knew it way too well.

What followed was the cancellation of Olivia seeing her boyfriend and dinner out. It meant white knuckles on the steering wheel. It meant swearing. And as the sheet of rain turned to sheets of sleet turned to ice turned to snow, it meant tears. Weather doesn’t usually unravel me, but it did.

It’s been a LOOOOOOOOOOONG winter.

And now it’s today. Five days later.

It’s fifty-five degrees.

And I have a car whose plates are up for renewal and who needs an emissions test. Semi. My Chrysler 200 convertible. Who has been sitting in my garage since November because no road salt will mar this car’s underbelly and no snow will ever warp his ragtop retractable roof.

But it was raining.

Still. The emissions test needed to be done. The license plate would expire in two weeks.

Grumpy, I took the car out, top up. We drove in the rain to the oil change place where I get my emissions tested. Semi passed – good boy. And then I drove out of the garage.

And I swear I heard the angels sing!

The clouds split. The sun came out. The sky was blue. I imagine my whoop was heard all the way up to Minnesota. I pulled over to the side and I hit the down-roof button as if I was pulling a parachute’s ripcord.

For the record, I think my car whooped too.

Oh, the air! The sunlight! Oh, the warmth that wasn’t really that warm, but sure as hell was a lot better than subzero (but hey, I have heated seats and that’s what the heater is for!)! I dug out a CD, threw it in, cranked it up, and hit the gas.


When I pulled into the drive-thru at Starbucks, where just five days ago, I couldn’t see the car in front of me for the downpour of about-to-freeze rain, I heard whoops that echoed my own from across the speaker. “Kathie’s got the top down!” one of the baristas yelled. “It’s SPRING!”

Then I ordered my cinnamon dolce latte iced, instead of extra hot.

To hell with the robin. There is no surer sign of spring than Kathie riding topless, an iced latte by her side.

The forecast for tomorrow? A high of 36 degrees, with a mix of snow and freezing rain.

But we’re not going to pay attention to that for now.


And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Just before pulling back into the garage. WHOOP!
Photo from last summer. In my happy place.
My birthday last summer, complete with a gift of superhip sunglasses and driving gloves.

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