Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gimme Shelter

Enough with the snow already!
Remember that parody about the 12 days of Christmas? Well that's how I am feeling about the snow. Thank God I don't live someplace like Minnesota.
The first 6" of snow was a treat.. very beautiful, and a welcome sight.
The next 3" made me a little concerned about an elderly neighbor, so I went to check on her and used the only clear day (December 19th) to do another grocery run before the real storm hit.
At 18" I thought my 4x4 Jeep would just go out the garage and through the snow. Wrong. A neighbor came down, beat the snow down along the driveway a bit and backed my jeep into the garage so I would only have to go forward, as that is easier than going backward.
My 4x4 John Deere Gator also doesn't clear 18" of snow, and once I got it stuck, it took two hours to dig it free so I could back it the 5' I made forward , back into the barn.
Saturday afternoon Ed was supposed to fly home as per usual. Both Alaska Air and Southwest Air apparently felt that Portland Airport was a no-go , and cancelled all their flights, leaving thousands of holiday travellers stranded. After Ed waited all day at the airport, hoping for a make-up flight, Sunday was also a no-go.
Monday morning, with 4" more, I thought I'd better keep that driveway clear, so I tried to drive the jeep back and forth, like my neighbor did, to clear it. I don't back up well under normal circumstances, and I failed to factor that into the equation. After re-evaluating the situation, I thought I'd just park the jeep out near the road instead.Trees were breaking and falling everywhere, and it sounded like cannonfire. After watching several tree limbs drop like soldiers at Gettysburg, I reconsidered, and backed up (!) far enough to clear most of the trees, and left the rest to luck.
Ten more inches of snow for Christmas.
By Christmas day, I'd gone past the point of reasonableness, and called Ed in tears, which is not my norm. He managed to get some emergency time off, and thank goodness, the airlines were finally flying again.
Friday morning Ed flew home with my daughter and granddaughter. Thank goodness, because I wouldn't have been able to get out of the driveway. It started to rain Friday night.
Now, four days later, the snow is down by about half, the driveway is marginally passable, and it's supposed to rain quite a bit in the next week. I can hardly wait.
Ed spent his entire days off using the tractor to clear snow out of the driveway. He goes back to work tomorrow morning...if I let him leave. We learned several things:
1. 4x4 isn't the end all and be all of traction.
2. We need different tires on the truck and the jeep.
3. I need to learn to drive the tractor, even if it's scary.
4. I'm not as independent as I thought I was.
5. Snow is really pretty on postcards, or from inside the ski lodge.
It goes without saying that Ed didn't get as much done as he would have liked on the building project. He is still working on rough plumbing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There's Snow Business

Ed has been working on the plumbing for the last two weeks. I've decided that being a plumber is an underappreciated job, and for several reasons.
1. We all need it, but nobody wants to admit it.
2. It's really boring work.
3. It doesn't photograph well.
Ed was getting pretty frustrated because the waste lines had to go into the ceiling of the garage area (or under the floor of the apartment, depending on perspective). Cue in Paul Simon's "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor". Well it's not like the garage is empty. There are piles of lumber, tools, tool buckets, firewood, loose coils of extension cords, not to mention a freezer and a 71 Boss 302 Mustang silently waiting to be restored. Try setting a ladder over that! A stack of can lights, the bedroom ceiling fan, a wall heater..on and on. Now drop the temperature to about 30 F just to add icing (sorry couldn't stop myself) to the irritation cake. Finally, he had to stop. We cleared out some stuff, and things went much more smoothly.
Finally he was to the point that he had to know where the drain line for the bathtub was going to go, so off to town for a tub. We were pretty sure we wanted a porcelain over cast iron tub, but we thought we'd look at all of them. The fiberglass is much less expensive. The deciding factor was weight. Can Big Ed haul a six gazillion pound cast iron tub up 15' in the air and through a window by himself using only a rope? The answer? Well of course he can! I'm a believer. But why should he? We got the fiberglass tub.
He finished up the rough plumbing for the kitchen and bath sinks, bath/shower, toilet and washing machine. It's all hooked up to the septic lines, and that's a very good thing.
This last weekend, we had snow. Don't you roll your eyes at me in that tone of voice! It's as much snow as two people raised in the desert ever need to see. It was darned cold..(stop that!) and we found out that the plastic water supply pipe doesn't flex well when cold, so we brought it into the house to warm up. Not exactly a decorator item for the living room, but whatever..Did I mention the door to the pumphouse blew open and we had forgotten to turn the heater on for the winter? We caught the pipes just in time.

Tuesday morning we got up and it was 16 F. That's about as cold as it ever needs to get. We were expecting more snow during the week, so Ed finished up the door, and installed it. He also put a sheet of plywood over the front window opening to keep most of the snow out. Once we get the plumbing and wiring done and inspected, we can get sheetrock delivered and put that window in.

We've had about 7" of snow in two days, which for us is a lot. 7" of rain here is no big deal, but snow...well that's another ball game ..a snowball game.

I've taken this same shot off the balcony during the summer, fall, and early winter. So I took one of the snow in the pasture. In the spring, I'll take the last of the series and call it art!

OK..ok, just two more cause I'm goofy about the snow..

That's it. Thanks for not laughing out loud.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Wasted Day

Sunday Ed worked all day installing the kitchen waste line, only to finish with that little nagging feeling....better check the book. Sure enough, he made a mistake. He'll have to cut some of it out and re-do it.

We still haven't had any serious rain, so Monday morning Ed finished the house wrap on the second floor. He taped the wrap around the windows and down the seams, and by afternoon the rain had begun.. not the 3"-per-day-wash-away-the-neighbors rain, but wet enough.

The whole time he's working..up the ladder, down the ladder, hammer tacks in for the wrap, pieces of wrap flapping in the wind, using the skilsaw, whatever, he has company. Momma and the twins are chomping on the grass between the chicken coop and the garage. We make a point to not friendly up the deer because they need to be wary of people. As close to coddling them as we get is to teach the dog not to chase them. She started grooming one of the twins up one side and down the other, always aware but unconcerned with the entire construction process.

By Tuesday morning we'd had an inch of rain. We drove into town to get more ABS fittings and other supplies. He re-did the kitchen waste plumbing, and installed the vent pipe as well.

Meanwhile I've been turned loose with a paintbrush, always a risky endeavor. I painted the door frame to match the exterior trim, and stained the other side of the front door. A couple coats of spar varnish, and it should be good to go!