The trip itself was actually pretty uneventful. We ran into snow in the mountains but nothing terrible, got home about five.
There’s more snow than I’ve ever personally seen here – it’s a foot deep in places. Last night the temperature got down to fifteen below, which is a good twenty degrees colder than I’ve ever seen it. Landlady drove down to the meadow house, which in hindsight may not have been the smartest thing we’ve ever done but there was a bunch of stuff to unload. She was hoping for a new year’s eve party with some neighbors and they all cancelled, which bummed her out and removed a major chunk of the reason she even came. If you say you’re gonna be someplace, don’t cancel at the last minute – I famously have no social skills at all and even I know that.
M came up at around 9:30 and parked up on the ridge, which turned out to be smart. To get out of the property, it’s necessary to climb a very steep hill at the foot of which is a sharp right turn, which means you can’t approach the climb very fast. It’s famous for putting cars into trees when there’s snow on the ground, and there’s a lot today. M had a bunch of heavy stuff to unload from his pickup, including my new toilet, and so we made an elaborate plan for getting it all to his place which doesn’t have that very steep grade. I tried to start the Jeep and it just sneered at me – it still won’t turn over – and so I hiked over to meet him. We got the truck unloaded, and he told me that while I was putzing with the Jeep he’d tried to drive Landlady’s car up the grade – no go.
Landlady was in no mood to be stuck. She planned to work on the Meadow House’s plumbing, but cold as it is it would be ridiculous to turn the water on and that removed her very last reason for being here. Sit and shiver through a useless weekend, or go back to the city? Hmmmm…
But first we needed to get her car up the hill. With the Jeep out of action, we needed another 4X4. So of course we called a neighbor.
Turns out there is no place – but no place – on the front of Landlady’s car to hook a tow strap, so we ended up trying to tow it up the hill backward. We got most of the way up when Neighbor’s 4X4 spun out. Coast back down.
While Neighbor broke out the tire chains, M and I went to work clearing the glazed snow off the steep road with shovels and rakes. The whole thing, from the hike to the final success, turned into an extremely lengthy two and a half hours in the coldest weather I’ve experienced since … well, a very long time. But we did eventually get her car up the damned hill.
When I got in last night every drop of water was frozen everywhere, including the “Plan B” bottles, except for the ones we left in the Meadow house, whose insulation works quite well. I carefully thawed the water in my teapot – frozen solid – so the boys and Click could have something to drink. Ghost had really meant it when he spent all week agitating to go home, and refused to leave my very cold Lair for Landlady’s house. He spent most of the night under the covers with me on my couch, and for once I was very happy to have him there. I kept the propane heater going all night, and the snow never melted on the floor. This morning the water bottle still hadn’t begun to thaw, so I melted a bunch of snow for the animals’ bowl and some coffee. When I got back from moving cars, having left the heater on low in the Lair, the animals’ bowl had a crust of ice.
For the record, this sucks.
Ghost has completely bailed on me now – he’s over at the neighbor’s house and didn’t even bother waving goodbye. I won’t see him till tomorrow. LB is more loyal, of course, and Click has LB to keep her warm. I may move into the Permanent Lair just because I can heat it up – what the hell, I don’t have any plumbing here, either. Thank God I cut firewood.
Welcome home, Joel! Why did you want to be a hermit again?