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.