Yesterday morning I woke up in the land of bougainvillea and grapefruit blossoms, buzzing bees and glorious sunlight… got on a plane (leaving Jeff and the kids behind) and flew home. The view from above showed dirty snow and standing puddles, grey flat grids of farmland and suburb. Grey sky, grey landscape. It was raining but giant plow-scraped mounds of filthy slush remained.

I headed straight for school, and organized my studio space to make some room to work. As the grad program has grown my space has shrunk: I find myself confined to a narrow table jammed against an end wall, with two overloaded shelf units…

The plan was to head for the cottage where my pop-up is stored and set it up in the kiln yard, load the salt and start firing. Nobody but me is willing to fire the salt, as the burners are not quite up to the job and it’s an all-day-and-half-the-night struggle to get it to temp, even if we candle overnight beforehand. (I laughed when I read on clayart that wood and atmospheric firings are a good “team building” experience… has anybody seen my team? )

But the reality was that, even if I was able to dig out and haul home the pop-up, I wasn’t going to be able to put my little gypsy wagon anywhere in that kiln yard, which was largely underwater. By the time I came out of my Monday night class, temps had plummeted again and the snow was deep and coming down thick… the drive home was not much fun.

I got home to three desperately lonesome cats. Oddly there were also two chirping smoke alarms, whose batteries must have died simultaneously… and one little plastic frog my mom gave me that cheeps when a plant is too dry, just twittering away.

Once I got the beeping to stop and checked the pets, in a moment of seasonal-shock self pity, I turned up the thermostat to 70. Al Gore can bite me. It sucks to be home.

Now I have to answer calls, hit the bank, buy chicken feed, fill a prescription, then drive back to school to glaze and start loading. I wish I felt more excited about firing this wood kiln. Patrick and I are planning a 30 hour firing just between the two of us… and if I don’t have my camper, I don’t have a place to sleep, a source of coffee, or any place to warm up between shifts. The sculpture building nearby will generally leave a door unlocked for access to a bathroom, which is nice, but campus is really not safe enough for me to feel very comfortable stoking the three-in-the-morning shift out there alone if Patrick has gone home to bed.

A better plan would be to fire in good weather, but I’ll be done (forever) by spring, and can’t wait around.

Forecast: snow every day this week, lows in the teens. Sigh. Did I mention it was blue, sunny and 70s in Florida?

My brother has offered to come to the lake with his big honkin’ truck and help me pull my pop-up out of the snow.. but I don’t know where I would set it up even if I got it to school.

I have to go figure out my plan. More later.

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