christmas day found me awake in bed by 9:30am, watching the end of justice league on the android showbox app. i did take a peek outside earlier, saw a lot of white in my blurry vision, but it could've just been snow from 2 days ago. i wasn't expecting to see any snow, and hoped whatever we got would just be rain. at least i don't have to shovel rain. at some point i heard some thundering. my father called at 10:20am, said he could come pick me up so i could help him shovel the sidewalk around the cafe then go visit my grand uncle at the sancta maria nursing home. "is it raining or snowing outside?" i asked him. i had 30 minutes to get ready.
when i finally woke up and saw how much snow there was outside i was very surprised. last night's forecast said anywhere from a dusting to at most 2". what i saw outside looked more than 2". after a quick shower, i got dressed and went outside to do some shoveling. even though it was still snowing heavily, i wouldn't be back until later tonight and wanted to clear the sidewalk a little bit. even though the temperature was 25°F which meant light fluffy snow, the snow that i shoveled felt heavy and wet. later i learned it was raining throughout much of the night, only transitioning to snow came daylight.
there was nobody out yet, i was the first to shovel (probably most people were waiting for the snow to stop, which was soon). a white christmas might look pretty, but it's anything but when you have to clean up all that snow.
at the cafe we had the small snowblower which made snow removal much faster. the problem with using a snowblower in the city is where does all that snow go? you can't completely clear the sidewalk so you have to leave a mound on the curb. blowing it in the street is not only illegal, but once the plow trucks come by, they just push it all back onto the sidewalk. those who suffer the most are anyone parked along the curb. empty parking spots also become a casualty, as they fill up with snow with nobody to dig them out, then solidify overnight and become usable. the snow quickly stopped by 11am, with the sun coming out in a clear blue sky.
we left for the sancta maria nursing home by 11:40am via concord avenue. i'd seen this building all my life on the townline between belmont and cambridge - back when it was still a hospital - but have never visited. ever since my grand uncle was admitted on the 19th, my father has been here 3 times a day, so he was pretty familiar with the place by now. we took the elevator to the 5th floor. it was a busy period as it was lunchtime. also being christmas day, visitors were arriving to see their relatives. two in-firmed old men were lying on stretcher beds by the entrance. most of the other elderly tenants were gathered in a large room where they were sharing lunch. i noticed all the nurses seemed to be from the caribbean. my father grabbed the food tray for my uncle from one of them and we went to his room.
my grand uncle shares a room with a haitian man, whom i didn't see because there was a curtain partition, but i heard the nurse speaking to him in french. when we got there one of the nurses was just changing my grand uncle, so we waited in the hallway until she was finished. the view from the 5th floor window is pretty spectacular, especially with a fresh coat of snow covering the landscape. from there we could see the arlington reservoir, the belmont repeater antenna, and the mormon church.
my father visits 3 times a day because he doesn't want my grand uncle to feel lonely and he doesn't trust the nurses to feed him properly. nevertheless, my grand uncle is very picky when it comes to what he'll eat, and stubbornly refused to eat any of his lunch, only drinking a bit of ensure mixed with milk and a thickening agent. he's been like this for a while, even when he was living at home. that's why he's grown progressively weaker and couldn't even get out of bed anymore. we're not sure whether it's because he just doesn't like the food, or maybe somehow lost his appetite, or maybe some physical reason like an inability to swallow.
we arrived at my parents' house by 12:35pm. we spent the next 20 minutes clearing the snow from the driveway and sidewalk. we have a larger industrial snowblower in belmont which is great for large amount of snow but harder to work with when it's just a few inches. at one point i went to the backyard to inspect the solar panels. with the sun shining it would've been a perfect time to turn the inverter back on, but the panels were all covered in snow.
i had some rice porridge for lunch then waited for the start of two christmas NFL games: steelers vs. texans (4:30pm), and eagles vs. raiders (8:30pm). periodically i'd look out the backyard window to watch juncos divebombing the feeder for seeds while a pair of squirrels loitered around the feeders trying to make mischief.
at 3:45pm i turned on the convection oven to preheat and by 4pm the 13 lbs. turkey (which had been sitting in a cold brine solution for the past 2-days) went into the oven. my father started making the flatbread bing at 4pm. at 5pm he left for sancta maria.
my father returned at 6pm, within just a few seconds before the turkey was finished baking. my mother and sister had already made a few side dishes so all we had to do was take the turkey out of the oven and begin carving.
this was our first time eating turkey on a day not related to thanksgiving. the turkey came out looking a little dry and underbaked (none of that golden brown goodness) but it was still juicy and flavorful. one reason is because i didn't baste the turkey, or rub it down with oil/butter beforehand. my sister gave me a ride home around 7:45pm. i left with enough turkey leftover to eat for a few days.
i noticed it this morning but was happy to see it again in the evening: the bathtub was no longer slow to drain. while i was showering i heard the satisfying noise of water gurgling through the pipes. the double plunger technique really works for tubs.