The past four days have been an adventure. Between Wednesday night and Thursday, I found 10 inches of snow outside The Barn. With great glee, I celebrated the announcement that a certain community college was closed both Thursday and Friday. At my place of employment, this means we are also closed and I don’t have to burn vacation days due to heavy snow. It doesn’t take a lot of snow to trap me on the hill and nearly a foot was way overkill.
We had eight inches of snow over the President’s Day weekend. I ended up with a full week off of work. It was a lovely respite, but I did nothing but sleep, eat, read and watch Downton Abbey.
I had big plans for these four days off, but as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” I seem to be in major nesting mode – I want The Barn to look as wonderful as I think it is, so a thorough cleaning was in order. I also was looking forward to cooking. After not cooking for most of the past ten years, I’m suddenly interested in it again.
Day 1 of my four-day weekend, Thursday, I did some triage cleaning (Chez Barn was/is a Superfund Site) and finally finished putting all the Christmas stuff away. Yes, yes. I know, March, but, hell, it was July one year. I’m ahead of schedule! It was so nice having my living room back that I wallowed in that room and admired the gorgeous snow and sunshine out my window. It was very Dr. Zhivago-ish. I also made the starter dough for a new sticky bun recipe. I’m on a quest for the perfect sticky bun. The potato soup I made for dinner was spectacular! I could win a soup contest, my potato soup is just that good.
Friday morning, I woke up with a head of steam to clean and bake. I turned the starter dough into finished dough and had it set to rise when the power went out at 9 a.m. I trundled my butt-that-doesn’t-need-even-a-single-sticky-bun-much-less-a-dozen down to my folks’ house to see if they had power.
They didn’t. But they had a fireplace and the hearth proved a perfect spot to make old-fashioned percolator coffee. After visiting with them for awhile, I took the big camera out for a photo shoot of Ma Nature’s glorious handiwork. I tromped around Onafork and took some stellar photos, some mediocre, and some just bad. (See the gallery below.)
When I returned, I called Appalachian Power and reported the outage. I was told it would be repaired at 10 p.m. Sunday. SUNDAY! I was miffed. One cannot clean and bake in a cold, dark house with no electricity. I mean, really, it already looks like I clean in the dark.
By the afternoon, The Barn was getting cold – 55F, to be exact. I trundled back down to my folks’ after defrosting the windows of my car and cleaning off the snow. I wanted to be ready in the event of an emergency.
We all sat around drinking coffee, laughing about how we were out of wood and having to burn old software manuals, and eating the leftover potato soup I made on Thursday.
Software manuals put out a great deal of heat. We were comfortable and told stories. Eventually, I went back home to sleep. I have a heavy down comforter on my bed as well as a heavy bedspread. I was confident I would be warm enough. And I was.
Saturday, I went back down to the parents’ house, because the only way to be comfortable in my then 42F house was to be in the bed. One can only stay in bed alone for so long. Plans were made for them to go to a hotel. I decided to stay here and tend to critters. By that time, we were down to broken furniture to burn in the fireplace. A cheesy “wood” chair made in Yugoslavia doesn’t burn nearly as well as do software manuals. Surprise, surprise.
Nonetheless, I was all zen and accepting of life’s curve ball when I discovered I had left my car running, ran the battery down and my phone was down to 10% power. The only way I had to charge the phone was the car charger and that wasn’t going to work with a dead battery. I lamented on Facebook and my friend/contractor sent his son over to jump my car.
I have been so blessed with the people in my life. My boss texted me often to see if there was anything she could do to help. Other friends called. My Facebook world fretted about my well-being. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve the friendships I have, but I’m very grateful.
Saturday evening was spent in a haze of wine and contentment. It would have been nice to have had some music, but, alas, I was short of that perfection. I left my folks’ house at about 11 p.m. and returned to my toasty bed. If nothing else, I did get a lot of sleep. I drifted off convinced that the power company was lying to me and I would wake to power on Sunday morning.
Well. I woke up this morning and I still didn’t have power. Zounds!
Back like a boomerang, I went to my parents’ house yet again. The fire had gone out and I couldn’t get that Yugoslavian chair to light to save my life. Besides the cold factor, the more important problem was that I couldn’t make coffee. I have a serious coffee addiction. It was a dire situation. After about an hour, in walked my parents with coffee and sausage biscuits. Again, I was suffused with gratitude.
And then the power came back on, well before 10 p.m. There was great celebration and I returned home to bake and clean and blog and upload photos and do laundry and put emergency light sources away…and…and…
It’s been a wonderful day. The sticky buns turned out a tad gummy, but recipe tweaking should take care of that. The house is still a mess and laundry isn’t even half done, but I am happy and content. These days it’s good to be me – the winter of my content. Contentment may well be the best state of being. I know I’m certainly enjoying it.
Trudy, as she was known, was my birthday present 12 years ago. She was a red dachshund and a spoiled brat.
She was our second dachshund. In a tragic accident, I ran over Frauleinen Stephanie von Whomper. I seriously did not know if I could live through her death. I grieved and I grieved hard, especially as it was my fault. Stevie was a Cracker Jack and I mourned her hard.
After a few weeks, we couldn’t stand coming home to an empty house any longer and we “rescued” Willy the Italian Greyhound from a local pet store. Six months after that, I was ready for another dachshund and Trudy came to our home from a trailer in South Point, Ohio.
As dachshunds are wont, Trudy was independent, needy, spoiled, and a complete delight. She had the prettiest eyes. She and Willy bonded. They were quite the pair. More importantly, she and my son bonded. It was the Great American Love Story.
A few years ago, my son called and said, “Yo, Mom.” Any conversation that starts with “Yo, Mom” is to be taken very seriously. As it turns out, he was working up the courage to ask me to let Willy and Trudy come live with him in Charlotte. He really wanted just Trudy, but she and Willy were a bonded pair.
Chef Boy ‘R Mine and Stevie had been very close. We got Willy because he couldn’t handle another dachshund. When I wanted to bring Trudy home, he said, “Whatever.” Who knew that she would become the most important creature in hi life?
They fell in love with each other almost immediately.
As it turns out, I was ready to let Chef Boy ‘R Mine have the two dogs. It was the right time and they were better off with him than me.
Trudy went into heart failure a week ago today. My son had to make the horrible decision to have her euthanized. Evidently, he tried to call me in the moments of grief but it was late. I was sleeping and didn’t hear the phone ring the four times before it went to the answering machine.
I hate that I wasn’t there for him.
We’re going to miss Trudy. She was something special. My heart just aches.
It’s Throwback Thursday and I’m in an impossibly good mood. Things are going well in my life and that’s such a change from recent years. I’ve mentioned before that the Raising Sand album my Alison Krauss and Robert Plant has been one of my mourning staples. I’m far enough in the grief process that I no longer cry when I hear these songs — they just provoke wonderful memories of Doug.
I’m in my office at work — lunch at my desk — and rocking out to the album. I’m happy, but I do miss him.
Today I’ve been reflective about all the changes that have occurred in the past few years – chief of these the loss of Doug, my partner, and The Beautiful Babette, the sweetest Shih Tzu of all time.
The Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations are joyous affairs. While reflective, I was also happy in my memories of Doug and Babette today. It’s been long enough that it doesn’t hurt to think about them. I like the idea that they might be walking among us today and tomorrow. I hope they’re together and I hope they think of me as fondly as I think of them.