I am writing this from Maine, where the snow plowed up against the barn door is probably ten feet deep. The barn, garage, and house—attached to each other, typical early New England— form a cul de sac, and Jesse, who plows, has no place to push it when he gets up into that corner...so it all goes against the barn door and gets higher and higher and higher.

It is lovely to be here in winter, though the day started badly yesterday. The plan was to pack two cars (driving separately because Martin would be coming back to Cambridge a couple days before me), leave mid-morning, allowing time to stop in Kittery, Maine, to meet my daughter Kristin, who lives near there, for lunch and to exchange Xmas gifts before heading on north.

So: the dog got me up at 5:30 AM. I went downstairs and let him out, then lay down on the couch in the TV room to snooze until he wanted to come back in. Zzzzzzz...until at 7 AM I was startled awake by water dripping on me. Oh dear! The house is a three-story federal colonial house. When we remodeled it 12 years ago, we moved the laundry upstairs to the second floor (near the clothes, right? Makes sense?) Now I was lying on a couch directly under the upstairs laundry room and water. was. dripping, on. my. head.

Ah, but it turned out not to be a leaky washing machine hose. It was the wonderful New England phenomenon known as an Ice Dam...when a roof edge becomes frozen and water backs up under the ice and then..stealthily...into the house...across the innards above the ceiling...and then...drip drip...onto one's head.

The recent weather has so lent itself to that possibility: Snow, rain sleet, freeze, ice, snow, rain, etc. etc.

So Martin got up on a stepladder (the ice dam was on the roof of a first floor bay window) and a chopping tool. I loaded the two cars with food, Xmas gifts, etc., etc. But in the process I became aware that my purse was missing. My nice black leather pocketbook that contains allll myyy stuff. Unload cars to see if it is lurking on a floor. No. Search house again and again. It is nowhere.

Call supermarket where I had bought some things (using money from my nice black pocketbook) the day before. Nope, not there.

So now Martin is outside chopping, and I am on the phone calling credit card companies one after another, cancelling cards. Online to the DMV to get a new driver's license. Bank for a new ATM card. The humans I reach in varous places...some in India, I think...are all appropriately sympathetic. ("Oh dear, right at Christmas!")

I keep thinking with sadness of my brand new iPhone, so handily tucked into the perfectly-sized pocket of my wonderful black purse.

Then I unload my car and put all of that stuff into Martin's car because of course I can't drive mine with no license. Finally we convince the dog that he won't mind riding stuffed into the back seat surrounded by wrapped pacakges. Off we go, to Kittery, Maine, arriving despite the delays just on time...12 noon...only to find a sign on the restaurant where we always meet Kristin. OUT OF BUSINESS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE OVER THE YEARS.

Secretly, after exchanging gifts in the slushy parking lot and heading on, I began to suspect that somehow Jesse would have failed to plow our driveway and we would arrive at the foot of our hill to find three feet of deep snow between us and the house. But I guess the rule of 3's had applied; there were no more glitches. The driveway was plowed, the house was warm inside, our friends Jack and Deborah arrived for dinner a couple hours later, and we had a cozy and cheerful evening.

Martin says he will be my chauffeur and banker this license-less, money-less week. The bank and the credit card companies tell me they'll have new cards waiting when I get home. Drivers license? Not sure. iPhone? Sigh.

And there are larger problems in the world. Global warming, war, famine, and such...all trumping the loss of a few extravagant baubles.

I do suspect, though, that the owner of that OUT OF BUSINESS restaurant is vacationing in the Caribbean on my American Express card.Wreath_2