Tuesday, March 2, 2010

another year older and deeper in debt

St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I won't go. I owe my soul to the company store." More figuratively than literally of course, given that I don't think Safeway would let me buy Almond Milk on credit...  This is one of my favorite songs my mum sang to me growing up. I've been a bit nostalgic lately, between rummaging through old papers and finding high school essays, trying to figure out a name for the LLC I'm going to start (suggestions are more than welcome) and turning the big 2-6. But it's all okay because I get a snow day for my birthday. It started coming down this evening so I should get some fresh lines at Sugarbowl as a birthday present from Mother Nature (or whoever you choose to believe is sending me the fluffy white stuff).  So in the vein of archives and nostalgia, below is an essay I wrote for my rhetoric class when I was a senior in high school. I don't remember the assignment, but just coming across it made me smile. It's a bit long, I know, but I'm always happy to provide a little procrastination help. Here's to playing in the snow.

Double Digits
I can hear the radiator clanking as  I hide underneath my covers for one more minute. It sounds like someone swinging at a metal pipe with a hammer. Slowly, the clanks turn to clicks. My room is warm enough for me to venture outside of my fire engine-red bunk bed onto the chilly wood floors. I open my eyes slowly, anticipating the sea of bobbing colors on my floor. My entire room is filled with balloons. I can't set foot out of bed without kicking one, or popping one. This year they are red, yellow, blue and green, my favorite colors at the moment. I stand, shivering in my nightgown, amazed at how different my room looks with these globes in it, wondering how many of my mum and dad's breaths it took to fill them all. I pick one up and punt it across the room. It bounces off the kite hanging from my overhead light. I smile as the kite sways and the canary colored balloon floats to the floors, scattering the balloons it hits.

I need to hurry now. It is Tuesday and I have to get to school on time, I've already been late once this week. But I think Mrs. Alloway will forgive me, she'll be as excited as I am that I'm turning ten today. I can't believe it! I'm finally in the double digits, as Amanda keeps telling me. She says it means I'm getting old and that my brain is going to start decaying soon. I wish I were her big sister, then I'd be able to scare her with facts like that. Today she doesn't matter though, she has to be nice to me because it's my birthday. Pushing some balloons out of the way I open my door, and just like every year, the door is now a curtain made out of streamers. They hang down, swaying slightly, and I can imagine I'm a princess emerging from my royal chamber. I cross the hall to the bathroom; I want to look in the mirror just to be sure that no one can tell my brain has started decaying.

I begin walking down the hallway towards the kitchen, hoping for something yummy for breakfast, when I remember the most important guest on my birthday. I jump up so I can see the top shelf of my closet. I know he's up there somewhere! Finally, he tumbles down with all my other stuffed animals. Birthday Bear only comes out once a year, and today's his day. He's a CareBear whom I got on my second or third birthday. It's his birthday today, too, and he always sits at the table with me while I open my presents. Now I'm ready to begin my birthday.

Tip-toeing down the hall with Birthday Bear under one arm, and a balloon under the other, I sneak up on Amanda and bop her on the head with the latter. She gives me a mean look, then smiles, steals my balloon and hits me with it. Still holding my balloon, she runs away laughing, "Happy Birthday Watermelon Head!"

My dad is cooking my favorite breakfast, a bowl of Spaghetti-O's and a tall glass of milk (with a twisty straw of course). I peak around the corner into the dining room, and I am happy to see exactly what I anticipated. There are streamers, in the same colors as the ones across my door, hanging from the chandelier and radiating out to all sides of the room. There are clusters of balloons in every corner and loose balloons bouncing around the floor. On my chair there are yellow (always my very favorite color) balloons tied to the back. Then I catch my breath. Snow! Our entire porch is covered in snow, at least a foot!

I spin around, and with wide eyed amazement point to the porch. My dad tells me it started snowing as soon as I went to bed last night and stopped around seven o'clock this morning. "It's a snow day, just for you, for your birthday!" I excitedly scream to Amanda that we don't have school. She walks in, with a knowing look on her face. She has been up since early this morning watching the schools closings; obviously there's no school. Determined not to let her ruin my good mood, I pull on my snow boots and run outside in my nightgown. I jump into the snow on the porch and it goes past my knees. I run back inside, freezing cold, and ecstatic. A day off on my birthday, what more could I ask for?

I wolf down my breakfast, and gulp down my milk. I don't even stop to blow bubbles in my milk to make Amanda laugh. Not only do I want to open all the presents next to my chair, but I want to get outside and play in the fresh snow before everyone else ruins it.

Turning my head to look back at the dining room table as my mum zips my jack I can't help but smile. I have gotten all sorts of neat presents, and Birthday Bear will watch over them for me until I get back. I lumber out the door, padded from head to toe, and looking a bit like The Pillsbury Dough Boy. As soon as I get to the bottom of our stairs, Amanda pushes me face-first in the snow. I stand up and jump on her back, taking her down with me this time. Once we are too tired to get up again, we decide it is time for a plan of action. The snow is so deep that it is really tiring to walk in. So, we have to decide what we want to go, then get there as soon as we can. Amanda wants to walk to Kineen's Park and go sledding. I tell her that she can go, but I am going to the the Leaf Pile. Quickly changing her mind, Amanda agrees and run off towards the boundary of our yard.

The Leaf Pile is a collection of leaves raked from our neighbor's huge yard over the past twenty years at least. They have never been removed, and the Pile is added to every year. At its peak, it is at least fifteen feet, if not taller. We scramble to the top just in time to see Kelsey, Tory, and Jen coming through the woods towards us. Determined to take the first jump, I stand up and prepare to take the plunge. Amanda protests, saying she should go first because she is the oldest. I just smile at her, and leap over the edge. As I slide to the bottom I see my friend arriving above me. "Nice jump!" they call.
"Yeah, you got real air too!" yells Ned, Jen's neighbor.

Then I see them all huddle, and they turn around and throw armloads of snow down on me. While I am still pinned beneath all the snow, they sing Happy Birthday to me; purposefully off key, of course.

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