Posted by: Brenda Kula | March 7, 2008

Wet Sneakers


I awoke yesterday morning to snow falling briskly here in East Texas (where you don’t often see this stuff.) I know, all my Canadian blogger pals are smiling right now as they read this.

I spent all day Thursday transferring plants from pots to beds. It was warm and spring seemed here to stay. So, being busy digging in the dirt, I didn’t have time to listen to the local news and weather reports. My mistake.

I ran a new Meals On Wheels route yesterday. Walli is out of town, and I’ve lived here for three years to her fifty-something years. She’s the one who usually finds places I haven’t been before. (I picture her sitting in Cabo San Lucas with drink in hand, basking in the sun.)

But, map in hand, I set out with my meals, milk, bread, and fruit desserts. And of course my four wheel drive SUV gliding along nicely in the falling snow.

When I moved here, I figured I’d never need gloves or winter coats again. So I donated them to the Salvation Army. Here I was, then, feeling a bit foolish. Dressed in sneakers and a light-weight jacket, that on this day of heavy snow was a poor excuse for a winter coat.

I thought at first glance it would be an easy route. A housing for seniors neighborhood. Little garden plots in front of quad-style apartments that all looked exactly the same. But neat and tidy. People who took the time, disabled or not, to put wreathes on the doors and display other signs of welcome.

I became so completely lost I was just this side of tears. Several times I got back in my vehicle and screamed. Not a blood-curdling scream that would wake the dead. Just an "I’m-going-crazy-here-but-must-plunge-ahead" scream. I am usually jovial and try to be conversational with all the clients. But I couldn’t even feel my feet in my cold, wet sneakers. My hands were freezing for the first time in years. I slipped and slid in the mud and ice trying to find numbers on doors that didn’t match carport numbers displayed in front. Several times I knocked on the same door twice. My lips were so cold I could barely get out a, "It’s Meals On Wheels. Hi, how are ya today?" My paper map and client schedule was falling apart in my hands due to the falling snow.

We’re talking elderly folks with missing limbs. Or stuck in wheelchairs. Or hobbling on canes and walkers. Kind-hearted people who always take the time to thank you and wish you well. People you want to give a cheerful smile to. And ask them if there isn’t a jar of pickles they might need for me to open while I’m there. (Goes along with the route, you see.)

Wet feet and hands and drenched clothing doesn’t seem like much compared to their daily circumstances. I kept telling myself that as I handed out the final meal. Seems I’d already handed her one, but someone else wasn’t home, so I gave it to her anyway. I do this a lot when folks aren’t home.

I trudged back to my car and told my feet to put the pedal to the metal and get myself home and into a hot shower. I was so dazed and confused and agitated I barely knew the way home. A stop at Taco Bell for a taco salad was my only stop. (Try it sometime with a Mango & Peach salsa, gluten free, hand crafted by a brand I know only as "Santa Barbara." Yum-yum.)

By now the snow had ceased. The dogs were barking as soon as the garage door started going up. I unloaded my gear and headed straight for a shower.

I have asthma, so I try my best not to get wet and cold, as that sometimes means I end up with asthmatic bronchitis. The only illness, knock on wood, that has so far managed to lay me low for weeks on end.

Well, it’s Saturday morning now. I couldn’t post this entry yesterday because I changed internet providers, and the installers were here until nearly dark last night. We couldn’t hook up the wireless component on my husband’s computer. And I was exhausted from trying to figure it out with this new modem that doesn’t seem to have wireless capabilities.

Now he’s on his way home from a doctor’s "over-nighter" shift at the hospital forty miles away. He will be tired and grumpy and needing a shower. And angry about not being able to use the internet on his computer until I get this thing figured out, or get someone out here smarter than I am. (Oh, what did we do to amuse ourselves before we had the internet?)

(TIme lapse) Okay, I wised up and have scheduled Best Buy’s Geek Squad to come out tomorrow (Sunday) morning. So he’ll have to be grumpy a bit longer than I planned. And I’ll end up spending more money than I planned to change internet providers from AT&T to Suddenlink cable, although I am enjoying the faster internet speed on my computer. 

Anyway, my garden seeds will just have to sit a bit longer in their colorful little packets stacked on my desk. The old "plant in late spring once weather is warm and settled and nights stay above 50 degrees" listed on the back of the packets warn me away from second-guessing Old Man Winter. Certainly after yesterday’s surprising weather.

Today I just need to deal with Old Man Grumpy.



  1. Sounds like everything went wrong yesterday. And don’t you hate it when the computer or Internet connection isn’t working? It does make one wonder how we got along without it all those years.

  2. Dear Brenda,
    Where do I begin? Okay, let’s go positive. You’re out in terrible weather bringing Meals on Wheels to people in Need?

    Thank goodness for that Taco Bell taco salad.

    You were able to send me a message today so something’s going right!

    You don’t have a cold (yet) right?

    In any case, I hope I made you smile and I hope your tennies are now dry. Those people are so thankful to see another human being. You did good, Brenda.

    Hang in there sweets! You’re a do-gooder, how you can you not – and next time my daughter asks for Taco Bell, I’m going to say yes, because I want to try that salad – yum.

    Happy Saturday!

  3. Wow, hope you are feeling better now. I just saw your blog at Anna (flowergardengirls) site and wish I had found you sooner!

  4. Our first winter in Austin was so mild that we were fooled into thinking it would always be that way – wrong!

    I hope you had no repercussions from the chill – Meals on Wheels is wonderful thing for you to do, Brenda! Also hope the speed of the new service was worth the trouble.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. Hey–I’m glad to see you are home and back to being a workaholic. How are the pets? Did they survive your being gone to see family? It does sound like you had a cold and wet day but the folks you took food to were grateful. And the families who depend on you to take food for their parents are gratefull too. You don’t just touch one life, you touch many.

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