Monday, January 27, 2014

The Adventures Continue (is this like "glamping"?)

It's cold here.
 We are currently in our snowiest winter since 1884 or something like that, according to our local meteorologist. It's a funny thing, too, because there doesn't seem to be that much snow on the ground. I guess that's because it's all blown away. On or property, it's all blown to the back (south) fence and created this amazing frozen tundra that we can climb up and walk across. There are a few places to sled down, but there are also a few steep spots that form something closer to a cave. I kind of can't imagine how cool it must be for the girls to play out there (on the days when it's warm enough to play outside, which have been scarce) because the little cave spots are higher than Greta. We have a bush out there by the fence that looks like it should be a lilac bush, but it isn't, (to give you an idea of it's size) and the snow is about halfway up that bush. Before the last weather event (generally a weekly occurrence) Martin picked up a sled for the girls, a little one-seater with a high back and a rope for someone to pull it. This Sunday was really warm so we all went outside and Martin pulled them up the little hill and across the big drift. Elka LOVED it.

So, it's mostly a lot of fun living out here.

But then sometimes it's less fun.

Like on Friday night when the girls and I ran errands in town and my parents invited us to dinner, and we accepted. It was fun! All the cousins were there and the girls had a great time. After a long and drawn out debate with myself, I had decided not to bring Brynja the puppy along with us. We knew that a winter storm was coming in that night, so when Martin came in from work he ran out to the grocery for a few things we needed and we took off from  my parents' place at a good time, before the snow started.

Unfortunately, it wasn't before the wind started. It was kind of a crazy drive home, but we made it safely to our road. About halfway down our road, a big truck coming from the opposite direction stopped us and said the road was drifted over two to three feet, we'd never get through. He had barely made it through and had had to pull out the car behind him. At this point it was beginning to snow and we were kind of in a pickle. Martin drove on ahead (we were in separate vehicles, since he had come from work and we'd gone into town earlier in the day) while the girls and I waited at the gas station, to check it out, and he barely got farther than where we'd been stopped when he saw that indeed, the whole road was drifted under. Awesome.

We are lucky to have family in town though! We drove back to my parents' house (another treacherous drive) for a family sleepover. Anja was pretty excited, even though she was worried about Brynja. Greta and Elka were asleep by the time we got back there, so they didn't realize until morning what was going on. (Actually, Elka woke up around 1:30 and didn't go back to sleep till after 3:00. So she was completely aware. For a long time. While I was not asleep. But it's okay, I'm not bitter, I'm used to it.)

Once we got there, Martin was really nervous about leaving our house. A mischievous puppy and multiple electric heaters as well as the potential to be gone from the rest of the animals for possibly days made him concerned enough that he decided he would go back and stay there until he could come back to get us. I was kind of worried--these were near blizzard conditions and the only way he'd be able to get to our house was by parking at the gas station and walking two miles to our house. Two miles with only three other houses between, and only farm fields otherwise. But, he felt it was the right thing to do, so off he went.

He texted me as he was setting off from the gas station and about half an hour later I read on Facebook a warning from an amateur meteorologist about not letting your teenage drivers out in the weather. And if you slid off, it stressed, "STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE. If you get out and try to walk in these whiteout conditions YOU WILL NOT SURVIVE!" Oh. Em. Gee. So, I started frantically texting Martin things like "I think you should turn back" and calling him repeatedly (and of course he didn't answer) and I was pacing nervously around the bedroom when I got a text about fifteen minutes later saying he was halfway there and "This is easy! I'm even carrying five gallons of kerosene! Doing great!" Of course. Captain Headlamp would be the one to defy the odds of blizzard survival. Knowing where he was, I knew he was within short distance to the three houses (all in a cluster) and past the worst of it. A few more minutes and he sent me this:

He had made it safely. He did have some pronounced scratches around one of his eyes from where the ice was pelting him for the entire two mile walk, but other than that, he was fine. Thank goodness! Not only that, but he said our road had been plowed and he thought he could probably get out to pick us up in the morning. And he did! And we were so happy to all be together again. It was an adventure that was  a lot more fun in hindsight, as adventures often are.

In fact, I think that's how I'll feel about this entire winter. It's been so cold! It was so cold last week that I couldn't stand it anymore. We all went into town after Martin got home from work and we went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse to warm up. I felt like I hadn't been warm in years. It was awesome.

By chance then, on Sunday night, we saw my parents at church and they invited us out to dinner--at Outback Steakhouse! What a treat!

Last night we got a crazy windstorm. I thought we were going to get blown to Oz, but we came out okay without even losing power. (It went out 7 times, I think, but always came back on within seconds.) Martin and I sat up until almost 2:00, wearing our headlamps, preparing to move the kids into the warmest room of the house if the power were to shut off for good, and the wind even woke up Anja, who is a heavy sleeper! I'm thankful that we came out of that okay because today our high temperature was forecast to be something like.... 9. Did it even get that high? At one time I checked it was 7 and another time it was 2. Right now it's -5. HOWEVER, as long as the wind isn't blowing, the house stays pretty cozy! You know, as long as we close off a couple of rooms and keep multiple electric heaters in the rooms we are using.

Brynja doesn't seem to mind the cold.

Today was another adventure. When we woke up we started arranging the heaters throughout the house, but a fuse kept flipping. (I can't tell you what room it was, because it was connected to different things in three different rooms. But it shut off all of the library, the washing machine [but not the dryer], and half the dining room lights. So I kept having to go down to the basement and flip the switch. It's not easy to get to our basement... If you'll recall, our basement is accessed through a trapdoor in the kitchen floor and you have to maneuver through the joists to get to the stairs. So at one point, I just left them off and the house stayed warm without the extra heaters, so I stopped messing with it. I figured I'd continue the laundry later, and I decided to hit the dishes which were super piled up because I had opted out of washing them the night before in favor of knitting some mittens for Greta. MISTAKE! MISTAKE! MISTAKE! Suddenly, as I was washing my second bowl in a collection of thousands, my water shut off. Rats!, I thought. Another blown fuse! But, no. Sadly, it wasn't just a fuse. It was all the water to the entire house. Our well pump had burned out.

Back down in the basement, it was a lot stinkier than it had been during my last trips down. You know the smell..... like a shorted out well pump. Electrical stinky. At this point it was noon. At 1:00 (his usual lunch break) Martin talked with his very understanding boss and took the rest of the afternoon off to try to fix our house.

We think it can be fixed relatively cheaply and we think Martin can put a new one in himself. So, that's good! Until then, we spent our day filling our two 7 gallon water containers at our old house and stocking up on water jugs (and a few other things) from the store. Tomorrow we are supposed to have windchills down to -40 so basically the whole world has been cancelled, including Martin's workday. So hopefully we can have our water restored within a day or two.

But we are having fun!! We are making memories!! And throughout all of this I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that I'm thirty weeks pregnant.

Because it's easy to forget how big you are when you're wearing all your sweaters at once.
(this photo was taken on Sunday when it was so warm. Our inside temperature was up to 75! Wooowheee!)


  1. You're showing!!! It's been so long since I've seen you!! Martin walking those two miles in this weather is just down right awesome! And your puppy is so cute. And your kids. And your house. All of it cute, cute, cute!!! Take care friend!!

  2. I'm glad you're chronicling all this because like you said these kinds of adventures are so much fun to read about that and be like, "Remember when we did that and survived that!" It sounds to me like you're keeping a pretty good attitude about it in the present too.

  3. Martin walking through the blizzard reminds me of Pa Ingalls getting stuck out in the snow trying to get home (cause everything reminds me of how much I wish I was Laura Ingals).
    at first we closed off the 2nd floor, basement, and bathroom with heavy quilts tacked up as walls to stay warm, living just in the kitchen and living room. Then moved a mattress next to our couch and slept in the living room floor for a month. we had only green wood left by then and had crazy methods of trying to dry it out so it would burn. we never could get it warm. it really was like 'the long winter' for all of us!