Holding Pattern

robin 0319Donnie, who has worked at Pat’s Screen Printing for something like 13 years, has a milestone birthday coming up tomorrow — but that didn’t seem to be foremost on his mind yesterday when he came to work. “Spring in two days,” he kept saying. Almost as if he could will that to be true.

I mean, it is true: according to the calendar and the tilt of the Earth, Wednesday marks the first day of Spring. And my weather forecast says it should be sunny that day, if not necessarily warm (right now, 18, but don’t you worry: it “feels like 0”). But then the snow returns.

There is a highway south of us, US 550, that has been closed for avalanche mitigation and safety for at least a couple weeks. The Denver news this morning said it’s going to remain closed at least another two weeks — and the forecaster, while not threatening, offered only ominous news (don’t you wish “ominimity” was a word? I know I do): the snow that falls on that part of the state later this week “could be in the feet.” Imagine our joy.

We’re not supposed to get nearly that, but once again it is gray and gloomy, a threat of snain lingering in the air. It’s probably best I haven’t put the snow shovels away yet. Contrary to Donnie’s forceful assertions, it doesn’t feel like Spring will ever spring.

And so we wait, poised on the cusp of the change of a season, but nothing is happening, and so we wait.

Which is how my entire life feels right now.

I don’t share Lynn’s day-to-day impatience at how slow progress at our new house seems to be. From the outset, Dusty told us construction is a seven- to nine-month process, and we are just about four full months in. Another way of viewing that: about halfway.

One of Lynn’s Almont postal patrons is also having a house built by Dusty, and while it feels like this has been going on for years, I don’t think it got underway until last June. So he’s at his nine-month mark, with several projects left for Dusty to complete — but he’s also changed his mind several times, much more than I have, apparently. But it sounds like both he and Dusty are ready for this project to be done.

Where I feel very cramped and itching for resolution is the status of our living situation until we can move into the new house. If we have to vacate this house before the new one is ready, we do not have any great options presenting themselves. And this is where the bulk of my stress lies.

We’ve had several people suggest options to us, should we have to find an interim solution, but almost to a person, we get an “oh,” when we remind them about two cats and a dog, not to mention the five human-size plants (and all their smaller brethern and sistern) that will need to come with us.

I do not want to make that interim move, but I also don’t like people shuffling through my half (or less) sorted house, wondering which if any of them are going to make an offer. And if they do make an offer, what is one worth accepting this early in the process?

Maybe I won’t have to worry about that, even if one broker said her client is “hoping” to put an offer in soon. Lynn is also despairing because no one came to look at the house yesterday. But we can’t gauge anything based on this break week:  in addition to Donnie urging Spring forward at work, Gilly, whose work station looks out over Main Street, kept remarking on how barren the street was, void of traffic both auto and human.

And so I wait, growing edgier by the day. It’s not just here: there is waiting to be done at work as well. We are fast approaching the end of ski season. “April” is not called “April” in Crested Butte: it is “Mud season,” and nothing much happens except that snow melts and mud proliferates. In Gunnison, we see an uptick in tourist traffic from southern spring breakers through March, and then nothing much happens until the college — I mean, university — holds graduation the first weekend in May.

So this is the time to plan for the summer, but it’s always too early for employees to impart their future plans, and when we rely (as we often do) on student labor, very few of them are stopping to consider their summer plans when it’s “so far away.” (Oh, kids, if you only knew.) Are we going to need additional help? I don’t know. By the time I will know, the labor pool will have evaporated and we’ll be too busy to train. You’d think by now I’d have this down to a science, but I don’t.

And so I wait.

I sent a text to someone on Friday, resuming a month-old conversation where the two of us went days between each text (so much for the immediacy of modern communication), and I’m still waiting to hear back. I sent an e-mail to Dusty Sunday evening, and I’m waiting to hear back. I’m waiting on my Solarize application, although they wanted some additional information from me. I finally — finally! — made a dental appointment, and it’s not for a month.

While Na Ki’o is giving me his best “Food NOW” glare, everything else is in this “waiting” stasis.

I can do some waiting without wilting, but all this waiting at once feels crushing, and a bit paralyzing. There are rooms to sort, taxes to file, bills to pay, house decisions to be made (endless house decisions, some of which require input from Dusty, who isn’t getting back to me) . . . and it’s hard to focus on that because I would like some answers somewhere in my life.

But, like Plankton (owner of a competing eatery in SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom) spending the day at his front window looking for his new regular customer, all that can be said is, “I wait. And I wait.”

And so I wait. But not happily.

I couldn’t, in my two-minute quest, find the Plankton clip, nor a short one where SpongeBob and Patrick are waiting by the mailbox for a toy to arrive. Here’s the best I could manage:


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