Life Lessons From Frozen Chicken

I have a problem with patience. Actually the problem is I don’t have much of it. I have a saying my kids know by heart: Patience is a virtue. It isn’t one of mine.

There’s a lot going on in my life lately. Too much of go go go and do do do are cutting into my quiet time to just be. I missed out on Mass last week thanks to the blizzard and I’d missed the Tuesday and Thursday Masses before the storm too. I was too tired and too stressed to go. I had too much to do. In the end though, instead of feeling like I’d accomplished more during that time, I felt more rushed and more exhausted. Guess what, more rushed plus more exhausted equals less patient. Not good. That four days spent snowed in was good for me but when it was over, I dove in and tried to make up time. It’s a silly thing really. Time comes and it goes. I don’t know how much I have. None of us do. I have no control over so many things that impact my time and yet what do I stress the most over? Time! It felt so good to go to Mass Sunday night but the ‘just be’ didn’t last long.

Monday was another one of those crazy days. I woke up with a blinding headache. I went to work. I got out early and rushed home for five minutes. It was just long enough to pick up the boys and rush to a scout event that involved lunch at McDonald’s then driving twenty minutes each way to tour a television station. The boys didn’t eat at McDonald’s. I couldn’t believe it. All the times they beg me to take them and this one time, they won’t eat. So on the way home from our television station tour, the first question was, “So what’s for lunch?” It was 3:00! We’d gone out for lunch. They didn’t eat and now they wanted lunch while I was figuring out what to cook for dinner. When we got home Eugene wanted a fried egg and ketchup sandwich. The toast had to be perfect golden brown. Then it had to be layered bread, ketchup, egg, ketchup, and bread. Andrew wanted a frozen French bread pizza. So despite the headache, I did my best short order cook impersonation.

Meanwhile, I still had to start dinner when all I really wanted to do was sit down and close my eyes for ten minutes. Eugene requested chicken soup. That was simple enough to suit me. I had some frozen chicken breast in the freezer. Now a patient person would put the frozen chicken breast, package and all into water to thaw a little. Not me. I decided to pry the chicken out of the foam package. It was frozen solid and stuck fast. I, who can’t open soda bottles, decided I would use brute force to free this solid ice bird from it’s foam tray prison. I’m not exactly sure how it happened but the next thing I knew, my thumb was stuck. It got wedged between the chicken and the foam. I couldn’t get it loose and now working one-handed I couldn’t get a good enough grip to pull the chicken off the trapped thumb. On top of that, it really hurt! I was getting frostbite on the fingertips of my right hand while trying to free the left thumb. I struggled for a few minutes and finally had to call for Andrew. “Andrew! Come in here! Hurry! My thumb is stuck under the chicken!” To his great credit, he managed to break the foam so I could pull the thumb out before he burst out laughing. We laughed until our bellies hurt and tears streamed down our cheeks.

Two minutes under hot water in the sink was all it took to get the rest of the tray unstuck from the chicken. As I chopped the carrots for the soup, I had some time to think about how ridiculous it was of me to try to force something that was obviously not meant to be forced. And for what? To save two minutes? Instead I ended up with very bruised thumb and a slightly bruised ego. How many other things in my life do I try to force? How much unnecessary pain do I cause myself? Is it really a lack of patience or is it really a need to control the uncontrollable?

It’s funny the things life can teach you. Who would believe I’d learn life lessons about patience and control from a frozen chicken? God has a twisted sense of humor. I like that about Him.

Blizzard Bliss


Front Door 2/9/2013

At the risk of being burnt as a witch, I will admit I did my little snow voodoo starting on Wednesday. I moved my white crayon, aptly named Snowball, from the front of the freezer all the way to the back of the freezer. I’ll spare you the rest of the ritual. Suffice it to say, I was hoping for a whopper of a storm and I wasn’t disappointed! I know what you’re saying. ‘That girl just isn’t right!’ Believe me, my Facebook page is full of such sentiments.

‘Why do you want it to snow?’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that one. By this point, I’ve given up on trying not to sound crazy. Point blank: My soul needed snow! It’s graceful. It’s clean. It’s beautiful. It’s wild and wonderful and so completely beyond my control. It’s bigger than me. There was nothing to do but watch it happen. And maybe take tons of pictures and videos to make a little music video. Call it Nemo or Blizzard 2013 or Snowpocalypse, it was stunning both in the depth of the snow and the height of the drifts. It took my breath away to see my front door nearly completely buried. I mean that quite literally. It took me twenty minutes or more to walk halfway around my house in nearly waist deep snow to take a picture of it. It felt sinful to ruin the perfect snowfall. Maybe that’s what I needed, a good healthy dose of perfection.


6 Foot high, 4 feet wide, 8 feet long. 1 Shovelful at a time.

I remember the Blizzard of 1978, but just barely. This storm I will never forget. I was so excited as the first flakes started to fall. Saturday morning, I looked down the stairs and saw the front door window blocked with snow and I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. My sister and I used a hairdryer to thaw the frozen storm window in my bedroom so we could open it to take pictures out the window. I stood outside on the back porch, well after clearing off two feet of snow by removing the storm window in the door and leaning out with a shovel to clear space to open it, and stared. The six foot drift next to my car looked like a wave frozen just as it crested. The wind was still whipping the snow up into the air where it hung like glitter in the sunlight.

It was too windy to shovel much on Saturday. I took some pictures, including one of the front door and another of our entire street under three feet of snow. Then I went back inside to be chastised on Facebook for my snow voodoo. I went back out Sunday to shovel for about five hours just to uncover my car and one of two buried garbage cans. I also dug out a snow fort. Come on, you know it sounds like fun! It wasn’t huge but four feet wide and six feet high with a nice snow chair. A girl has to take break. I was sad to finally have to knock it down.

Even as tired as I was when I was done, I was thrilled to the core. My arms were cramped. My hands are still very bruised today. But I don’t care! It was worth it! For 72 hours, it was quiet. Really quiet. No trucks. No traffic noise. No trains. Nothing but wind, birds and the friendly call of neighbors from across the street. The air was so clear and clean. I stood outside in the same spot for most of the day and watched the sun move across the sky as I carried each shovelful on snow to the backyard, the only available place to throw it that wasn’t over my head.

Deep down I felt it: This is BEAUTY. This is WONDER. This is AWE. This is God Himself giving me what I needed so badly even though I can’t quite name it. Maybe that’s why it didn’t feel like work to shovel.

They say we could get more snow on Wednesday night. I might have to sneak the crayon back into the freezer. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!


Perfection, unmarred by man