Friday--I have reached that part of the winter where I have suddenly many things to do, and little motivation for doing them; where it is unpleasantly cold, not merely outside but inside the house--our house is heated by gas, but it is old and not well-insulated, so when the temperature does go down to the single digits at night for a week or two straight and never rises above freezing during the day one feels it; where I have had two dead car batteries in a single week; where these same older cars still need repairs done before they can get an updated inspection sticker (we do have one nice new stress-free new car, but my wife usually drives that, as she should); where I took my 17 year old to take his driving test and found out he needs glasses; when I have to apply for financial aid for college which still may or may not be opening, an online process requiring multiple passwords from me and my kid which I find rather difficult to navigate; when I have to get labs taken and visit my heart doctor to see if I am improving at all; when I have to schedule dentists appointment for eight people after not having been for a year. Normally at the end of next week I would be going to Florida, but that has been cancelled this year. I still have a vacation, and I really need one since I haven't been off at all since last July though I didn't go anywhere other than the beach in Maine (which is nice, but it's only about an hour from where I live; I could go down there for breakfast and be back before lunch tomorrow if I wanted to) but I don't know what I can do. I had visions of maybe going down to New York City for a day or two and visiting the MoMa, which I have never been to, but between the never-ending concessions to the pandemic that must be made and the logistical and behavioral problems posed by the size of my family, I have a feeling I am not going to be able to pull this off either. I would be great to just go there with my wife even overnight and leave the children at home but we don't really do that. We never have (since we had children; obviously before that we did). We'll still be able to go to our house in Vermont, though it is a rather small space for all of us to be confined during the long evening and nights of winter. Perhaps we can take the children skiing one day in lieu of the New York trip, as their school skiing program was cancelled this year, though I myself do not ski. Maybe I can find a smaller art museum that is open somewhere in Western New England--there are a number of quite good ones fitting this description--or go to Boston, though my impression is that they are still doing the social distancing thing rather seriously there, and a group the size of ours might disconcert people. So I don't know what I will do.
I broke down today on account of all of these annoying issues, which are not that big of a deal except that in this weather I really just want to sleep and sit beside my space heater and read my old books all day, and went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch since I was out running all over town anyway. My waitress was a petite girl with blonde dreadlocks and one completely tattooed arm. It was kind of worth it.
Monday--The radiator in my 2007 van had gone and needed to be replaced. I had it replaced. I keep my cars as long as they are running and the cost of repairing them is cheaper than trying to replace them. We had a party on Valentine's Day with a hot pot and very salty Chinese style food. I ate it and enjoyed it but I going to have to gnaw on whole grain bread and unsalted nuts more or less exclusively for the next few days to make up for it. Writing a personal essay now is to expose the facts of your life to the scrutiny of insurance companies, banks, collection agencies and other miners of data who are increasingly the only entities interested in you, but not as a participant in the literary life of the nation or any such thing as that. I am quite at a dead end as to what to do with myself, I clearly won't stop trying to post writings from time to time though my efforts may grow somewhat more infrequent. I haven't got any other real hobbies or outlets. I think other people don't either, which is why they take to political argument with such stridency but I have never been able to see what they get out of it. I think they are looking for camaraderie in the struggle maybe--that's what I would be looking for--but I don't know for most people whether it is really there. It's why I can't ever put my heart into it.
Tuesday looks like it is going to be a snow day, maybe even an ice day. Everyone home and confined in the house. Three days until vacation. Don't know what we're doing. I am working on a list as always but most of it not practicable among 8 people. Separating into smaller groups inevitably causes resentment. Work still needed on the old cars. Doctor visit on Wednesday. I reformed my life about halfway, probably not good enough. Haven't been able to give up mashed potatoes, eat salad as a main course. I could use a haircut. Want to get another movie review post done before the end of the week and vacation...