Baby, It’s Cold Outside

snowI want it to be sunny AND warm.  Is that too much to ask?  It looks gorgeous outside today.  Blue sky, slightly breezy, crisp.  Looking out there, it seems as though I could grab my cup of coffee, the book I’m reading, and head out to the chairs we have on our back deck.  The chairs that just yesterday were covered in snow.  But, no.  Uh uh.  Ain’t going to happen.  Why?  It’s damn cold.

It’s not really that bad, being 37 out there right now that is.  Not bad considering the winter we’ve had.  Not bad considering how much snow and cold and wind we’ve had this year.  But, c’mon.  37.  It’s spring.  I’m ready for spring weather.

Not long ago, November of last year, we had our first snow of the season.  We were so excited.  Yay, we said.  It’s going to snow we exclaimed excitedly.  Yay.  When we only got a dusting we were upset.  We felt robbed.  We wanted more.  We should’ve kept our gosh darn mouths shut.  Be careful what you ask for is right.

Those months ago, when we were entering the cold season and we wanted to experience a real Illinois winter, we didn’t know what we were asking for.  The previous two winters we’d lived here were mild, mellow in fact.  We were told repeatedly that the warmer weather we were experiencing then wasn’t normal at all.  We had no idea.

Now, after a frigid winter and loads of laundry from all the layers we have to constantly wear, we’re ready to pare down.  We’re ready to break out only t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops and not have to spend 10 minutes just getting ready, layer by layer, to go out.  We’re ready to actually look forward to walking the dogs.  We’re ready to be able to sit outside on our deck and watch the birds in the feeders and talk to our neighbors over the fence and grill with ease.  We’re more than ready.

Of course, in three months I’ll be complaining about how hot it is, how humid it is, and I will long for the cool breezes of early spring.

Trolley



Trolley, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Wandered around Chicago with Martin yesterday briefly while Karen and Mary went in search of boots. We, meaning Martin and I, were more successful. We found photos. The boots remained elusive.

Siskiyous

Siskiyous, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

We got up wondering if we’d have too much snow for the rented Jeep Liberty to handle. The forecast said there was a possibility for up to 4 or 5 inches. We had a dusting. No problem for the Jeep, even in 2 wheel drive. Our first stop, as I posted earlier, was Starbucks. Had to get that London Fog and the Chai. A must have for any road trip, not to mention any time we leave the house for any length of time at all.

This was taken as we ventured through the Siskiyou Mountains.  We were in 4 wheel drive for about 10 minutes.  We didn’t really need to do it, but we thought why not… we’d gotten the 4 wheel drive because we thought we might need it.  We didn’t want it to go to waste.  We crack me up.

Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Yep… it snowed. Again. We still had a snow pile left over from the last time. Ah well… I guess Oregon has just joined the ranks of the East Coast winter club. Snow… cold… snow… and uh, oh yeah, more snow.

It is beautiful though. I have to admit. And… we’re going out anyway. Thor, as our car is now known after the last storm, can handle a mere couple of inches of snow. Besides… it’s already melting. I’m just whining… a little. Slightly. A small whine.

Frosted

 

Frosted, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Later in the day, Christmas Day, the sun popped out for a bit. I wandered around outside taking some pictures. This is the front of our house. Looks like a large frosted cake.

Christmas Day

 

Christmas Day, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

I know I’m out of order here, but I realized I hadn’t posted any photos from Christmas Day. I took this one in the morning that day. It was snowing again like mad. We probably got another 3 or 4 inches… at least. It was crazy.

Mr. Winter? Where Are You?

 

Mr. Winter? Where Are You?, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Sunday last, December 28, we came home. We’d called the power company to find our power was back on and our road had been plowed. However, we still had a lot of snow. Not so bad at all getting back home on the roads up to the house, but wow… still white all around once we got up here. Poor Mr. Winter… he was only a shadow of his former self.

Our Christmas Story

Yesterday we’d had enough.

The power went off three times over the course of three days.  The first time it was off for seven hours.  The second it was off for most of an evening, which just happened to be Christmas Eve.  When it came back on we were thrilled, silly us, thinking we would be able to get up Christmas morning, enjoy some hot cocoa (made on the stove top instead of on the top of the wood burning stove), open our packages, and then make a lovely traditional turkey dinner.  We were wrong.

The power came on after the second outtage at around 10 PM, I think.   It went out again, right in the middle of a movie Karen and I were watching in our room, and enjoying mind you, at 1:00 AM.  Drat!  We went to sleep hoping it would be on when we woke up Christmas morning.  It wasn’t.  We enjoyed our Christmas very much, with tea during package opening we’d made from water in the kettle on the wood stove, even without power.  We drank tea, opened packages, enjoyed some lovely hot dogs heated up on the wood stove, ate a lot of Chocolate, stayed warm with the stove going, flushed the toilet with water from a bucket (taken from the hot tub), and then used candles and lanterns at night to talk and play games by.  We were also not without music as Mary and Martin had, on their death defying trek to Fred Meyer, purchased a battery operated iPod player.  We had it on some of the time and not others.  It was nice to have some Christmas music playing.  So Christmas was good.  Much better than Christmas Eve.

Let me explain….

We decided to try and get into town to see a movie.  Probably not the smartest thing we could’ve tried, but hey, we’d managed to slide in to Portland the day before for some last minute Christmas shopping and grocery shopping (to get turkey and accompanying stuffs we have yet to eat) so we thought… heck… this is much closer to home, we can do it.  It was snowing again mind you, which will come into play later in this sad tale.  So off we go… buckle ourselves all in and down the hill we go.  No problem.  We get to the coffee shop for some chai and a mocha, enjoy our respective coffees, and then head into the theater.  The movie, Twilight, is good… we head home.  Or try to.  We make it all the way to our  road, which isn’t bad.  The road right before our road is a bit steep, windy, and treacherous in it’s own right, but our car handled it like a champ.  Even with the extra snow that had accumulated while we were at the movie.  Our road… we see a tree has come down to partially block the road.  We all think, not just me, who was driving by the way, that I can squeeze around it so that’s exactly what I try.  Hindsight… we should have stopped, gotten out, and moved the tree.  Instead we go around, hit some deeper than it looked snow, and get sucked right into a fairly good sized ditch.  We try to push ourselves out, but when I, and then Martin, step to the front right of the car, we sink to our hips in snow.  Hmmm… deeper than we thought.  The car won’t budge.

Rescued… the second time.  Our first rescue was actually one of our neighbors tractoring our driveway so we could get out the day before Christmas Eve.  What a great guy.  Karen gave him jam (the good stuff… stuff she’d made) as a thank you.  She’d given jam to our other neighbor earlier in the week after he let us cut a Christmas tree down on his place.  Giving jam to someone is now synonymous with saying thanks in our house.  It’s pretty funny.  But that’s another story…  back to this one.  Rescued… another neighbor saw we were in the ditch and pretty stuck.  He drove over to us with his ancient truck, a truck with a winch on the front… yeah!, and asked if he could help.  Just about that same time a tree fell across the road just ahead of where we were.  Very loud.  The kids decided to go up and see if they could move it, or at least some of it.  They got some of the smaller branches out of the way as our neighbor winched us up and out of the ditch.  He then drove us up, after we parked the car at another neighbor’s house, to where the tree and the kids were.  Besides a winch he had a chain saw.  Yes, this guy was prepared.  He grabbed that thing and cut the tree into small enough pieces that we could move it off the road, which we did.

We then decided we should try to get the car the rest of the way home.  Karen and I trekked back down to the car, jumped in, backed up to get a run at the hill, and started up.  We skidded one way and then the other, but stayed on the road.   At one point Martin was in front of us, in the roadway, walking along and I was saying to Karen, and to him even though he couldn’t hear me, move Martin, get out of the way, I can’t slow down, I can’t stop, I’ll never make it if we have to stop or even slow down.  Luckily he moved and I didn’t have to stop.  He said later I had a very determined expression on my face as we whizzed by.   As we reached our driveway we started to skid into the rock wall that runs along it.  Unfortunately I had to stop, though at that point I really had no control over matters.  We came to a stop just before we hit the wall, and at that same moment Karen says to me, “Did you see that power line, it just snapped!  That power line just snapped!  Did you see the sparks fly?”.  I was like, uh, nooo, I was trying to brace for impact incase we hit the wall.  Hurriedly I backed up slightly and made a run at the driveway… we made it up.   The whole time worrying that the snapped power line was going to come down on us.  After we got up to the house Karen jumped out to go down and tell the kids to watch for the power line as they walked back to the house from where the tree had been.  They made it back safe and sound.  Only to realize the power was out because the line had snapped.

Flash forward past our Christmas day without power… to Friday.  Yesterday….

We decided, because we’re running out of wood for the stove, and water for drinking, etc. that we need to try and get out.  Our first option was to try and drive out.  Martin and Mary walked down to and along the road to check out the situation.  Martin feels like we can make it, Mary isn’t so sure.  There’s a lot of snow.  Much more than there’d been the day before during our sledding expedition.  But we have to try.  We hadn’t showered for days.  Hadn’t had a really good meal, or been able to brush our teeth, or any number of other things you take for granted when you don’t have to really think about it.

We load up the car (making sure to get the $50 organic turkey breast that had been moved from the fridge to the freezer to the snow filled ice chest outsid,e that we just couldn’t bear to leave behind)… we think outloud and to ourselves… OK, if we can’t get out driving, we will hike out, with a minimum of stuff, and have someone pick us up in town.  It’s only a couple of miles.  We could do it.  But we were hoping to drive out.  So, with us, the kids, and the dogs, we get in the car, tense knowing we might not make it.  We start down the hill and the snow is deeper than the center of the car, the ruts are crazy and we begin to slip and slid and swerve and vier one way and then the other.  It’s crazy.  I’m working the wheel like a crazy woman and everyone in the car, including the dogs, is just hoping we don’t die.  We’re all willing the car first down, then up the hill.  Somehow we manage to make it down our road, passing over tree branches and sledding all the way.  The Volvo, with all wheel drive, is a champ.  Though it’s not made to be a four wheel drive sled, it works as one.  It’s amazing.  We can’t believe it.  We all finally take a collective sigh.  Relief.  Safe.  Martin names the car Thor.

Our friend, Maggie, who lives in the city, kindly agreed to take us in.  We all get here and are so thrilled to have heat and lights and running hot water we can’t even stand it.  We take showers.  We brush our teeth.  The kids get picked up by one of Mary’s friends, friends she hasn’t been able to see the whole time they’ve been here, and go off to hang and play, relax and enjoy, with them.  We, on the other hand, walked over to Hawthorne, bought some good wine at Pasta Works, went into a pet store and got the pups bully stix, and loved just being able to walk around, in civilazation, amongst people.    We got back, opened the wine, ate some cheese, peppers, and fruit, made food, a really lovely dinner (with the rescued turkey breast), drank more wine, talked, watched a movie, and drank more wine.   Life is good here.  Civilization is good.

We got up this morning and had coffee, home made muffins, and more coffee.  Everyone is relaxed.  The pups are laying down in both mine and Karen’s laps.  They are happy as well.  I think they feel our tension, or lack thereof.

We know we’re here for at least another night.  We’re going to call a friend to see what the conditions are like out by our house tomorrow.  We hope to get home again, and to have power when we get there.  We don’t really know if we will.  Either way, we’re happy.  Maggie and Lisa Lynn have taken good care of us, treated us well, been really wonderful.  Thanks ladies, maybe we should bring you some jam.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

 

IMG_5756_2, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Well… still snowing. The bad news…. we still can’t drive out. The good news… Mary and Martin braved the trek to Fred Meyer to replenish supplies and Stacia came as far as our driveway with two six packs of beer and another two six packs of root beer. Nectar of the gods to be sure. We were without power for about seven hours today. No problem as we cranked up the wood stove, used water we’d collected in the tub to flush the toilet, and cooked crumpets, rumpets, and bagels on the stove top.

Now… the power is back on and everyone is surfing on their individual laptops or computers. It’s snowing. It’s quiet. It’s kinda cozy.

Ice

 

Ice, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

The freezing rain came down last night covering what was at that time about a foot and half of snow with a half an inch of ice. Since then, this morning, it’s been snowing. And snowing. And… snowing. We keep looking out saying to each other… look, it’s snowing… how, uh, pretty… yeah, sooooo pretty. STELLA!!

Trapped

 

Trapped, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Day Eight…. We’ve been able to get out twice. Once early in the week and once, briefly, on Thursday. Thank goodness for that. Since then we’ve been unable to leave our house. The promised relief in the forecast keeps getting pushed back. We watch the news and check weather dot com incessantly hoping for a change, for warmer weather, for what looks like an opportunity to leave.

Don’t get me wrong…

It’s not that we don’t like each other… we really do. Thank goodness. We probably couldn’t be stuck with any better people than we are, but this has gone too far. We want out. We want to leave. We are getting silly. Playing games, surfing the net, cooking, making brownies and cakes, and venturing outside. Very nice… we’ll do it all again tomorrow.

Karen and I took a stroll down to the road earlier. The snow cascading over our boots (knee high Sorrel’s) in places. Us crunching through the layer of ice covering the top of the snow, which has since been itself covered with a couple more inches of snow.

Will it ever end? We are trying to plan our trip to England in May now thinking we could all still be here, hoping to get out and to the UK at that time. LOL Not really… but man… snow bound is an apt term.

Hello? Anyone? Anyone?

Mr. Winter

 

 

Mr. Winter, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

The snowman Martin built on our front deck.  He sacrificed his new hat, briefly, to the effort.  That and the pups bully stix.  All items now recovered and returned to their rightful owners.  Poor Mr. Winter is now suffering from a very cold head, has no arms, and no scarf. Sad.  Sad poor Mr. Winter.