I visited my mother in Michigan at the end of last month. I was there to see my new nephew, in the sense that I was only in the state because of him, but he can't be the only relative I see. Not for years, if ever. (I begin to understand the uncle I don't know very well, the one who loved my father and avoided family gatherings in the course of avoiding my grandmother.) My mother was very excited about seeing me for the first time since my brother's wedding. She wanted to take me shopping, partly because she regards clothes-shopping as a pleasant activity to share, and partly because she wanted to buy me nice clothes she thought I would need. I have a new suit.
For weeks before the trip, I fretted about what I could wear that would be suitable for weather and activities, and still look nice enough to meet with her approval. I stayed up most of the night before I left; packing, repacking, and dying my hair. At least she liked the hair. And she thought I had a pair of trousers that were ok. She said my winter coat made me look like a homeless person. I've had it for years, and the cuffs are frayed. Some years, I never took it out of the attic (when I was too fat to wear it, or combinations of mild winters and me being less sensitive to cold), so its calender age is greater than its wear age. How do you determine what level of wear is ok, when something is perceptibly not new, but is nowhere near falling apart? My mother was really upset that I could wear anything that looked so disreputable. She was appalled enough that I would be seen in public that way at all, even just to go to the store. That I was planning to wear it to a job interview made her think I had lost my mind completely. She gave me a newer coat, a coat I have to acknowledge is very pretty...like my old one, it has a hood, and is long enough to wear over a suit jacket. The problem is that the wind goes right through the pretty new coat. The body I had in high school wasn't perfect, but it was better at staying warm than the body I have now. Between my current lifestyle and my current body, the new coat is just not warm enough.
I thought I could buy a warmer coat when I got home. It didn't work out. February is not a good time for buying winter coats. Popular sizes tend to sell out around Christmas, or early in January, or after the first bitter cold. I can find a coat that's waterproof, or one that's warm enough, or one that fits over a suit. If I want everything, I need to shop when the selection is better, in the fall. *sigh* I only have to get through a few more weeks of serious winter.
Redbird was here a few weeks ago, and she helped put my new duvet in the flannel cover. It's ridiculously warm, so warm she can't actually use it for fear of overheating. When I'm here by myself, it's just wonderful, a safe warm little cave. It's a bit awkward for taking to the bus stop, though, especially if the idea is to avoid looking like a homeless person.