Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas Break, New Year's Snap

ANOTHER LADYBUG SIGHTING: On Mr. Lucky's computer keyboard Wednesday night (he has a desktop, I have a laptop).

I haven't blogged in over a week because it's still Christmas break and the Bear has been zooming and zinging all over the house, bouncing off every wall and ceiling, waking up at four in the morning to rearrange his bedroom furniture.

We live in Florida, where I can't buy new clothes this time of year because it seems all they have for sale are sweaters, mufflers, mittens, yea, even parkas--everything you need for an expedition to the Pole of your choice. I can't see buying that stuff for only two or three days a year, so I've always made do with the same old sweaters I had when I was living in Germany over twenty years ago.

As a native of the North, it seems I can never stay cool enough. Around the house, my standard outfit is a sleeveless top and shorts, while it's an ongoing battle just to keep any clothes on Baby Bear.

From Wednesday evening until early Friday, I had to wear a little more than usual. Make that a lot more--as in the old sweaters, long pants and thick slipper socks. Temperatures plunged into the very lower thirties--almost too cold even for me, but not for Bear, who continued to run around shirtless.

That alone is one reason I'm glad we don't live up North, where I'd have to spend an hour every morning wrapping up that kid in jacket, hood, muffler, mittens and boots, only to have him tear everything off the minute he gets outdoors before plunging into the nearest snowbank as if he just burst out of a sauna.

On Wednesday evening, for the first time ever, I switched on the heat on my Charmglow electric fireplace in the living room. Usually I only turn on the artificial flames for that cozy parlor look.

And Mr. Lucky actually allowed the central heat to be turned on. I only wish someone could explain to me why, when the air conditioner is set to 75 degrees in the summer, I'm still not cool enough, but when the weather turns cold and the heat is set to that same temp, I'm not warm enough?

After dinner Wednesday night, I had to cover some of the outdoor plants to protect them from the bitter cold, using Bear's top sheets. That kid will not take a top sheet on his bed--he just rips it out and crumples it into the nearest corner.

A sheet printed with pictures of Sponge Bob Square Pants and friends covered the hibiscus tree, next to our front walk. Mr. Lucky planted it last summer, and after a long period of adjustment, it finally started blooming recently, with frilly hybrid blossoms in multiple shades of pinky-peach.

Pokemon creatures covered the purple Mexican petunias, while Teletubbies protected the allamanda.

I used a sheet with pictures of Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story to cover the hibiscus bush at the corner of the house. Lately this bush has exploded with more than a dozen huge, bright yellow blossoms as big as my hands.

At 11 pm, the local news posted the temperature at 36 degrees. I peered out the living room window to check the sheets, and to my dismay noticed that Buzz and Woody had blown off the yellow hibiscus at the corner.

I ran outside to cover it back up, taking care to ensure the entire bush was covered on all sides. Yet the next morning, it was off again--yet all the other sheets remained in place.

The good news is that two days later, the yellow hibiscus seems none the worse for wear. The bad news is that even though Sponge Bob stayed put all that night, the frilly, peachy-pink hibiscus tree did not fare so well. The leaves were a limp, dark brownish-green, now turning yellow; the blossoms shriveled and drooping. I fear it's done for.

The ladybug was still hanging around Mr. Lucky's keyboard on Thursday afternoon. Knowing he'd never hear the end of it from me if the ladybug had an accident in his office, he coaxed it onto a sheet of paper and set it free on the dying hibiscus tree, as if its magic touch might help bring the tree back to life.

Alas, that ladybug must have other plans for us. I hope they're good.

Number of times I got up while writing this post: 9 (Who's surprised?)


Wendi said...

Karen! I had a ladybug sighting this morning on a plant outside my lanai. It was an extraordianary lady bug. Orange back with a yellow rim around the bottom of the wings and tons of little black spots. I had a nice little conversation with her, and I thought of you. Maybe there's lots of luck to go around.

Happy New Year!

Karen Lingefelt said...

Thanks, Wendi--and Happy New Year to you, too! Mr. Lucky thinks it might be "ladybug season", but I've never heard of such a thing. The last time I saw so many ladybugs was in June, but that was also a much higher latitude--Germany. Hmm--is it just the cooler, milder weather--or are they really lucky omens?

I prefer to think the latter.