So, let’s go waaaaayyyyyy back in time. All the way back to the middle of October (hey, I’m living in the moment right now.) The weather was fine, the leaves were on the trees, it wasn’t even time to buy Halloween candy – and I finished the rock terrace/wall/woodpile base behind the garage! I only smashed one finger in the process! As in, took off my glove to see if it was going to bruise immediately and found the blood… That was awkward and annoying – and it hurt for a month. But the terrace got finished, and I was so proud of myself that I was all set to post pictures before life went all pear-shaped on me. So here they are – look, it’s done and I’m proud of myself. That was a lot of bleedin’ work, and it had better not fall down. If we ever get the cordwood stacked, I’ll show you the finished effect.
Not bad, eh?
The following weekend was Halloween weekend, and we had plans with vynehornto go to Boston to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Museum of Science and also catch an exhibit of renaissance prints in Cambridge. Once we added the print exhibit, I had to take Charlotte out of the equation. I figured she’d do okay at the MoS, but adding a print exhibit would be asking a lot of a three year old. So Plan “A” was thus: Friday night we would drive down to my parents’ house, drop her off, leave my car, and take Mom’s jeep. Saturday morning we would depart very early, meet vynehorn at her place, and head up to Boston for our 9:00am timed tickets. After the exhibit we had planned to meetjdulacandlucianus, grab some lunch, and then go on to the exhibit in Cambridge. Head home. Load the now unused changing table into the Jeep and out of the middle of my sewing room. Have an adult evening. Sunday morning, head back down to my parents’ for Bob’s birthday dinner. Move changing table to their attic, have a nice dinner, swap the cars back, and bring Charlotte home. Finis.
It was a beautiful plan.
On Thursday vynehorn called and said “I’m worried about the weather. Should we change our plans?” I was also a trifle worried about the weather, so I was entirely in agreement. The weathermen were working themselves up into their usual ohmygodtheworldisendingrunrunrunforyourl
So we implemented Plan C. Friday I left work early, because our delivery of three cords of wood was scheduled to arrive at 4:00. It came just about on time, and as soon as Bob got home we drove down, dropped Charlotte off, swapped the cars, and headed home. The forecast was messy, but not dire – snow starting at midnight, snowing heavily through the wee hours with a total accumulation of 6”-10” in my town. Judging by their usual level of hype, we figured that meant snow overnight between Saturday and Sunday, possibly an accumulation of a few inches. Probably there would be tree damage and the associated power outages, because all the leaves were still on the trees. Bob brought in about half the wood box’s worth of wood from the new delivery just in case – that way we would have some dry wood in the house if we needed it for a little while, and I figured I could draw off a bucket of water when we got home Saturday evening.
We made good time to Boston, and saw the exhibit in a fairly leisurely fashion. It was fantastic. I’ve been fascinated by Pompeii ever since I read a Smithsonian article about it as a child in the ‘70s. The body casts just enthralled me, but I never thought I would get to see them. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to go to the exhibit. It’s in Boston until February – I highly recommend it if you have any interest at all. Well worth the price of admission (although the dog will break your heart.) We had a nice lunch overlooking the Charles, and just as we were paying for our parking and heading out, my phone rang. It was mom. It was snowing in Brookfield. WTF? It wasn’t even 2:00pm. What happened to snow “at midnight?” Off we went.
We hit snow before we even got out of Massachusetts – that storm was moving fast. It was that blowing into your windshield, big flakes type of snow that’s really annoying in the daytime, and blinding after dark. By the time we hit the Connecticut border it was sticking, and I was beginning to worry a bit. We dropped off vynehorn, beat feet home, loaded the changing table (because I was *damned* if I was going to be stuck with it in the middle of my sewing room,) and headed out. It *should* take forty five minutes to get to my parents’ house. It *actually* took the better part of two hours. First were the idiots who were trying to crawl up the hills on Route 6. Doesn’t work – hit ‘em fast, and you’ll make it to the top. Creep, and you’ll get stuck halfway. You know – like all the IDIOTS in front of me. I think we spent about twenty minutes just sitting and waiting for the three cars in front of me to sort themselves out so that I could get a running start at the hill. Then after crawling down the highway – stuck behind the damn tractor trailers going 30mph side by side in BOTH lanes – we almost got stuck again on Route 25 on the uphill just before the town line. I got a run at it, got halfway up, and realized there were two cars stuck on my side of the road, a cop on the oncoming shoulder, and someone coming down. I bailed onto a side road, and discovered that it didn’t go through to where I thought it did. So I turned it around, commiserated with an equally frustrated guy in a sports car, and managed to get the rest of the way up the hill – without sliding into the police car, thankyouverymuch. Thank goodness for four wheel drive. We got to the house and attempted to turn it around quickly. Except for a series of issues:
- There were already multiple inches of wet snow on my parents’ driveway – which is almost as steep as mine, just with the house at the bottom instead of the top;
- My car *sucks* in the snow if it doesn’t have the snow tires on;
- Of course I didn’t have the snow tires on – it wasn’t even *Halloween* for Pete’s sake!;
- The all-weather tires I do have on the car are pretty much done – they spin if someone spits on the road.
No, as a matter of fact, I didn’t make it up the driveway.
This set off a debate about options, which led to Bob and I having a row in front of my mother. Because he doesn’t LISTEN. But I’ll leave the details to disappear into the past – he and I won’t agree on them anyhow. The end result was that Dad blew the snow out of the driveway (and if he’d done that for *my* car, we would have gotten out – but it’s just as well,) we packed up Charlotte, got back in the Jeep, and headed home to ride it out there.
The drive home was just as much fun as the drive down – only it was dark.
We decided not to take Route 6 home through all the little towns because the crawl out hadn’t been so much fun that I wanted to do it again, and also because at that point I figured the trees were probably starting to break. It was a LOT more snow that I had actually anticipated, and I was getting concerned about actually getting home – I live in a town that’s entirely wooded, with occasional houses peeking out of the trees. I knew it was going to be ugly.
We made it up Route 229 without much trouble – it’s a main drag, and I figured that Southington would have a vested interest in keeping it open. Having the Jeep helped. I was glad I hadn’t tried it in my car – we wouldn’t have made it to Waterbury. The real trouble didn’t really start until we were within five miles of home. The intersection of Routes 229 and 6 was closed – afterwards we found out that most of an oak tree came down into the road and took all the lines with it. We got around that, and headed up into Burlington. There are two ways to get to Route 69 into Burlington, and I usually take the “shortcut.” The main road comes up to a traffic light at a fairly steep angle, and I’ve gotten stuck on that spot in the past. The side roads are less maintained, but flatter, so I took those. I even made it most of the way. We drove around the branches and lines dangling in the road, made the turn down towards 69… and saw a lot of maple tree at ground level. A LOT of maple tree. With a set of emergency flashers to go with it, where someone tried to drive around it and got stuck. There were a few people there, and one of them came over to find out if we had a rope. Sorry fella – not my car, out of luck. It was infuriating – we could SEE Route 69, but just couldn’t get to it. Earlier in the drive I might have felt sufficiently invincible to try to go around the tree and the stuck car, but at this point I was just tired and worried. So I turned it around and made my way back the way I came, and tried to take a cross street back over to the other route. That street had a cable down across it. Turned it around again. I ended up going all the way back to where I first turned off and took my chances with the hill. The big chunk of maple tree was just as impressive from the other side when we went past. I toyed with the idea of going home to get a rope and coming back, and decided that I wasn’t feeling heroic.
I was surprised to be able to get up my street, and even more surprised to get up my driveway, although in both cases I was driving around a lot of stuff in the road that used to be up in the air. I… may have gotten the Jeep a little… sideways getting up the driveway – but we got all the way to the top. I gave Bob a flashlight I found in the console (dingbat here forgot to grab the Mag-Light out of her car) and sent him around the garage to go in the back and unhook the garage door opener, because of course the power was out. Once the Jeep was safely in the garage, we turned our attention to other things. We called mom and dad, and reported our status: home, no power, phone works. We got Charlotte up to bed, and Bob cleared the driveway just enough to move his car around while I got a fire going in the woodstove. Did I mention that we took delivery of three cords of seasoned hardwood on Friday? And that I’d had him half fill the woodbox before we went to Boston? Dry wood notwithstanding, the stove was cold and the flue was cold and the masonry was cold and it did NOT want to light. By the time I had it going, he had enough of the driveway cleared to maneuver his car – we wanted to move it to as much of a position of safety as we could, although we couldn’t get it completely out from under that damn oak branch.
It was scary outside by then – the trees were breaking and falling, and in the dark you couldn’t see where they were – you would just hear the CRACK and then hear them crashing down. All you could do was stay close to the house and hope it would take the hit for you. It was making me very nervous, and I was much happier when we were inside. Of course every time something bounced off the house, or fell hard enough to shake the house, I wanted to go see what it was. But I was afraid (rightly so) to stick more than my head outside. I even gave some serious thought to having everyone sleep on the first floor, in case a tree came crashing into the bedrooms. It’s a scary way to spend the night. I was also contemplating my own folly – because the meteorologists have histrionics every time we get three flakes, I’d heard “wolf” one too many times. I hadn’t taken it seriously. I was completely unprepared. I had wood, but only a half a box, and now the rest was wet. I had a little drinking water. I had no flushing water. This had the potential to be unpleasant. We went to bed, and I listened to the trees break. Bob got to sleep, but I couldn’t.
I finally dozed off sometime after 4:00am. At 6:00am, the smoke detector in the basement decided that it wanted a new battery. First fire of the season, smoke detector beeping. Adreneline anyone? The worst part is that we have three smoke alarms, and I had to work my way through them:
Walk into upstairs hallway. Stare at smoke alarm. Wait. “Beep.” Not this one.
Walk downstairs into the living room. Stare at smoke alarm. Wait. “Beep.” Not this one.
Walk into the kitchen to the top of the basement stairs. Stare at smoke alarm. “Beep.” This one. Yank out exploded battery. Examine corrosion. Say “screw it,” leave smoke alarm on table and head back to bed. After all, it’s not like the boiler is running, and there are two other alarms.
I got to the top of the stairs, was heading for my bed and heard “Mommy!” Crap. She was up for the day. So I did what anyone would do in that situation: kicked her father awake to deal with it and went to sleep for another hour and a half before we went outside to assess the damage.
To be continued…
EDIT: Sorry - it won't let me use a cut for some reason...
EDIT #2: Ha. I win.