Monday, March 8, 2010

the crazies

There are weeks when you feel like you could be living anywhere and you ask yourself, "What's the big deal about living in Alaska?"

This was not one of them.

After Matt took the kids on Thursday night, I went up to a friend's house for a visit and a sauna. As the evening progressed, the snowflakes multiplied and the wind began to build. It was pretty obvious I wasn't going anywhere. By morning, the flakes had accumulated to several feet of snow, and the wind picked up.

I worked all morning from Crossman Ridge thanks to a laptop and an internet connection, hoping for a break in the weather. No such luck. The storm intensified, the wind got worse, and resistance was futile. Saturday morning revealed much of the same and more snow fell and made a mockery of the paths I had shoveled in a vain effort to make order out of the now-waist-high drifts between the house and the woodshed.

Saturday afternoon, the snow finally abated enough to chop some wood, but then the wind kicked up again and the temperature dropped. A ski to assess the car situation proved dangerous when my gloves were inadequate for the conditions and I wound up having to ski back in without using my poles so I could keep my frozen fingers in my coat pockets.

Finally, on Sunday morning, the weather broke after 3 days of madness and I made the trek out and freed the car from its tomb of drifts. At home, I was greeted by more crazy drifts, and then, even better, the heating oil in the monitor stove had run out, dropping the temperature in the house down to 40 degrees. I quickly lit a fire in the woodstove and started shoveling. Matt brought the kids up around 1 p.m., and after some lunch and outside time (it was a beautiful bluebird day at this point ) Thea went down for a nap and Liam and I went back to work on the shoveling.

After about an hour, I went back to the house to check on Thea and heard a strange noise when I walked in the mudroom. Was the washing machine on? No, there was a flood coming from the laundry room. A pipe leading to the outside faucet had burst, flooding the house with several inches of water while I shoveled. I quickly turned off the fuse to the water pressure tank, and started to clean up the mess using every towel in the house while plugging the kids into an Elmo movie to keep them happy in the living room for a bit.

After the mess was cleaned up, we headed into town to find parts and pieces that might work as a fix. I got the typical not-so-helpful advice from various hardware store people who had a hard time dealing with my description of the copper-to-pvc-to-cpvc-to-metal set-up. But I got some parts and pieces, and some pipe glue and brought it all home. After dinner, I took a saw to the pipes, then gingerly and with lots of prayers and pipe cement applied a cap to the line.

Then kids to bed, and two hours wait until I could turn the water back on and see if it worked. At 9 p.m., I flipped the switch, and yes! it held. Another successful chapter in singlehood drew to a close.

This morning we woke to another blizzard, and a third (fourth?) on the way this evening. The fuel guys said they might not be able to make it up there today with the storms, so I'll probably go home at lunch to stoke the fire. What an adventure this week is turning out to be.

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