The Portugal Years – Year Two: Winter


New York City is on the same parallel as Portugal, but the Jet Stream moderates Portugal’s climate. Summer is less humid and hot, and except in the north of Portugal, winter seldom pulls the freezing card. Nevertheless, the cold we did get was a force that drove us to layer on clothing and blankets, and to make as many oven meals as we possibly could.

We had no central heating (or cooling). There was no insulation in our home. It was cold and humid during the rainy season. We seldom saw snow except in photos of the mountains in the north of Portugal. What we got plenty of was rain.  frio_2

The rain arrived some time in October, and took its good old time leaving in April. Usually. Umbrellas were our daily accessories as we waited at bus stops and walked on the wet, cobbled sidewalks. That year, I tried to remember the sun, but by January it seemed like an old wives’ tale.

The weather brooded over my emotions. Seven months before we had committed to parenthood, but parenthood had stood us up. Granted, it had not been a really long wait as waiting goes, but it was a painful one for us.

Twice during those seven months I walked to the pharmacy to verify what I thought was a pregnancy. Twice I walked home with my hopes dashed. I wondered why it seemed that some women had only to think a pregnancy into being. Every pregnant woman that I saw stirred my envy and I dreaded the well meant but frequent question, “Are you pregnant yet?”

On January 20, 1981 Harry thought I should go to the pharmacy yet again. I decided that I was too fragile to do that. So when he got home from work, he borrowed a car and took the little jar to have the contents analyzed. Half an hour later, he burst in the door grinning from ear to ear; Harry had lassoed the stork.


Have you ever waited a long time for something? What was it?

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  1. Kevin Spencer · ·

    Good ol’ Harry!

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    1. Right.

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  2. Love the last line.

    Hmm…I can’t think of anything, but I’m sure there is something… Does dinner count, maybe?

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    1. Harry thinks dinner counts. It’s like five minutes sounds like two hours when I say it to him.

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    2. Yes, that’s it. You know, Harry seems like a very sensible fellow.

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    3. Well, sometimes he is sensible. We take turns so no one has to be overwhelmed by sensible.

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    4. That’s the good way to do it, for sure.

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    5. No, it isn’t. Who wants sensible?

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    6. Well, the professor is a very sensible person, you know.

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    7. Of course. Wait. Define sensible?

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    8. Professorish.

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    9. Is that a word?

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    10. Naturally.

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  3. Ta-da! I seem to relate particularly well to this story ;)

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    1. You saying you remember?

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    2. I remember you telling the story before…

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    3. It’s nice to know that someone is paying attention…

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    4. You know I pretty much always pay attention!

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  4. Ah, great story! I’m sure I’ve waited eternally for some things …

    Btw, nice to see you back writing!

    (Just saw the story on national news today about the huge waves in Porto, Portugal.)

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    1. Thank you. I find it difficult to focus during December – too much going on. I saw videos of the storm surge and apparently it is affecting the entire coast.

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    2. Yes, I understand. I find myself thinking of wanting to write, but not actually writing. I have a rant to go on though, and that should create at least one entry! ;-)

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    3. A rant? Oh dear. :D

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    4. Ah, well that urge has passed now……. :)

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    5. Laughing. They usually do given time and space.

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