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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Not Much (But I Sure Wrote A Lot!)

I haven't written lately because . . . there's not much to report!  And, too, truth be told, my past week was SO fruitless - regarding getting anything done at the office - that I've been overly protective and selfish about my time.  So goes it here at home, too.  I'm already nearly halfway through "my Sunday" now and find myself feeling anxious about how few hours I have left.  I know that's so self-defeating, though, too, that I really want to find a way to curb it (the anxiety).

I did have a good day here yesterday and got a few things accomplished.  But, there are SO MANY THINGS that I want to get done that I'm really needing a week at home.  And, in reality, I guess there's no good reason why I shouldn't do JUST THAT.  I'm not exactly over-run by walk-in customers at the gallery right now.  Even taking my not-tourist-friendly location OUT of the equation, it's just not that time of year in our tourist town.  And, I got SO LITTLE done on my two current graphic & web design jobs last week that, perhaps, I should just work from home for the next week or so.  I'll bet I get more done from here than were I in the office!  ;)  But then, I worry that I'll fall into the trap of, "ahhh, why go into the office today when I can work from home"?  I.e., I don't want to LOSE potential customers because I'm not in the office during my posted open hours.  Sigh.  What to do?

An aside, I realize that writing to you here, sharing my current feelings here on the blog IS actually helping alleviate my stress and put things into a more do-able perspective.  So, see (I say to myself), I SHOULDN'T stay away from blogging for fear that it takes me away from other things that need be done!  In the Big Picture, it helps!

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I think all of us who live outside of town (where the now-warm sun melts everything between the asphalt and it) are now wishing that Mother Nature HADN'T given us that reprieve last week!  The temperature dropped nearly 40 degrees in the span of 24 hours on the last day of the warm, warm weather, and all of that melting snow turned to treacherous ICE.  And, I don't just mean ice as in "oh, it's a bit icy out".  I mean ice as in "I haven't been able to drive all the way HOME because the vehicles (not to MENTION people!) can get any traction to drive on it"!

(And yes, this had a lot to do with my week.)

On the last warm day, I couldn't get the car up the hill at the bottom of the driveway on my way home.  I was able to leave it parked on the incline and well off the road, but, in order to get around to the back of the car to let the dogs out, I LITERALLY had to hang on to, first, the open door, then the wheel well over the rear wheel, and then the rear bumper to keep myself from sliding away from the car as I lifted the back hatch to let them out.  Figuring I'd bring the truck back to the car to haul everything up to the house (of course, I'd bought groceries in my way home), I inched my way over to the soft snow at the side of the drive and slogged home.  (I'll have to measure it some time, but I'll bet the driveway is close to a 1/4 of a mile long.)

I got the truck started and headed back out the driveway where I pulled alongside the car, door to door so that I'd have something to hold on to as I transferred the day's worth of accumulated stuff from the Yaris to the 1-Ton.  After that was done and the car closed up, I drove down to the end of the driveway and turned the truck around.

As I headed up the problem hill in the big truck and squeezed past the car, the still-soft and wet snow at the side grabbed at my wheels.  No problem, gravity was working with me, and so I'd just back down the hill for another go at it.

Unfortunately, the wet snow and iced-over hill was no match for gravity, and, as I slowly backed down the hill, I was pulled even farther into the ditch.  I worked and worked at it (what time was it now - probably near 10:00 PM and very dark) until I finally gave up.  I would deal with it in the morning.  So then, with my large LL Bean tote packed full and groceries in arm, I ever-so-slowly worked my way back over to the wet snow at the side of the drive and headed back up towards the house.

It was that night that the mercury dropped so precipitously (I love that word!), and the snow was like cement in the morning.  After attempting to drive the truck out again in the light of day, I knew getting it unstuck would be no small feat, and so I decided to wait to attack it come Monday, when I'd be at home for the whole day.  I'd half expected to find that the car had slid to the bottom of the driveway's hill that morning:  it was SO icy where I'd parked it.  But, fortunately, it was where I'd left it, and I carefully backed it down to the flat surface and headed in to work.

When I'd left the house that morning for my hike out to the vehicles, I loaded the toboggan with my things AND a 5-gallon pail full of ashes.  I hoped to spread them on the driveway's hill that night in order to be able to drive the Yaris all the way in to the house.  I can't remember what kept me late in town that night (seems like there was something going on almost every night last week), but it was about 11:00 PM and the wind was a howlin' when I, again, made it halfway up that little hill before the wheels were spinning in place and I was beginning to slide, uncontrolled, backwards.

I got the car stopped and began the task of spreading the ashes:  not an easy one on the slanted-at-a-30-degree-angle skating rink of a hill.  Aided by the wind, my good town coat and good mukluks were covered in ash, but I had just finished the job when the PistenBully* (used for grooming the snowmobile trail that runs parallel to the winter driveway) stopped at the bottom of the driveway, its light flashing brilliantly.

Image taken from www.pistenbullyusa.com.
 * I SO want & need one of these "toys"!!!

The driver opened the door and hollered something to me, but I couldn't hear him for the wind.  I slipped and slid my way down to him to hear him repeat, "You should have ice skates on!"

Was I stuck, he wanted to know?  No, I explained, I was just putting down ashes so I could, maybe, drive all the way in.  What about the truck, he wanted to know?  Oh, well, YEAH, the truck was stuck, but I'd deal with that on Monday.  "Want to pull it out," he asked?  "REALLY?!  Yeah, that would be WONDERFUL!"  (And, double bonus, I had the keys for the truck on me, so I didn't have to ask him to wait while I drove - or walked! - up to the house to get them.)

While he got the machine positioned to accept the tow rope, I slipped it over the hitch of the truck (I ALWAYS keep it and/or a tow chain with me!).  Then, I was behind the driver's seat, and he threw the PistenBully into gear.

But . . . the truck held fast.  He pulled again.  The PistenBully, with its studded treads, slipped and swung on the ice.  Nothin'.  He backed up and then gunned it:  WHAM (as tension struck the tow rope)!  The PistenBully swam on the ice, but the treads finally caught, and I started moving . . . the frozen snow g-r-i-n-d-i-n-g against the wheels and raised plow and every other part of the truck it touched.  Two more tries, and I was finally free, nearly sliding into the back of the PistenBully as the tires locked on the glaze-iced hill.

Seeing what it had taken to pull me out, I realized that I NEVER would have gotten myself out by shoveling.  And, more to the point, the truck had been encased, for all intents and purposes, in frozen snow NO DIFFERENT THAN poured concrete.  When I'd gotten stuck (in the warm weather), the soft snow had fallen in all around the wheels and axles.  Then, when the temp had dropped down into the single digits that night, the freezing snow had encased the lower 1/3 of the truck.  BUT, the truck was FREE, and B.V. (long-time PistenBully / trail groomer) was my new best friend!

B.V. went on his way, lights flashing, and I left the truck running while I battled the wind back up to the car.  Taking a few runs at it, I crested that first little hill of the driveway and then stopped the car on the level ground and headed back down the ice to the truck.  Through ALL of this, I had managed to not fall once . . . but I did so then.  Fortunately, it wasn't in front of B.V. and I was moving so slowly, anyway, that I really just sat down.  I felt my right quad pull, but that was the only strain.

I then drove the truck up the ash-covered hill and parked it, too, on the level ground.  Then I drove the car in to the house, parking it on the top of the other little hill that is at the top of the yard (knowing I wouldn't be able to drive out of it if I parked in my usual spot at or in the garage).

(Is this the longest blog post known to man?  I'm beginning to think so!)

I've just remembered:  that had been Friday night, and I was home late because I nannied for Bundle of Joy while her mama worked and her daddy was out of town.  Right!

So, Saturday, I slipped and slid my way in to town in the little Yaris.  That night, I was again at Bundle of Joy's house, and fluffy snow began to fall during the evening.  As I headed home, the snow coming down hard enough that I was blinded if I used the headlights' high beams, I realized that the cold, cold snow falling into the skating rink roads (scoured to an even smoother surface by the previous day's winds) was only making things WORSE.  I lost traction a time or two on the main road and, as the car traveled down the road at a 45 degree angle, I glanced at the speedometer to see if I was driving too fast for the conditions.  I was going only 15 mph . . . and losing traction.  That wasn't good.

I was about half a mile from the house driveway when the good little Yaris could go no further.  After four attempts, I parked the car (sliding backwards yet again) as safely as I could on the side of the road.  Knowing I had a hike ahead of me over treacherous ground, I looked at my bags, trying to limit to the bare essentials what I had to carry in.  Ironically, the happiness that I'd felt earlier in the day when I'd picked up my two new computers (yayyyy!) quickly dwindled as I realized that I had to pack the new laptop and its accessories.  I couldn't leave them in the car.  (And, this little sucker is HEAVY!)  At least I hadn't brought home groceries again!

I unloaded the dogs, strapped on my headlamp (I never leave home w/o it!), and headed into the snowy, snowy night towards home.  It was 13 degrees when I got home:  fortunately, I always have warm enough clothing on (or, at least, with!) during the winter for these unexpected . . . or do I expect them by now!? . . . situations.

Sunday morning showed about 3" of super fluffy snow covering the ice . . . which tended to make one forget the nastiness that lurked beneath it!  I loaded the truck and drove down to where I'd left the car.  While I left it running, parked in the middle of the road, I started up the car and drove it back down the winter driveway to a flat surface near a trailhead parking lot.  Then I slipped and slid back to the truck and drove it to the car, transferring the dogs and my bags for my day in town.  Then, I stowed and locked it in the same parking lot in the farthest plowed corner.

I made it another half mile or so out to the main road before I lost control of the car on a gradual rise in the road that couldn't have been greater than 5 degrees, if that.  On the up side, it was super easy and FUN to accidentally whip the car around in a 180 and head back towards home!  ;)

So, undoing all that I'd just done, I got the truck going again and eased it out.  I unloaded the dogs from the car and into the truck.  Same with the day's bags.  Then I parked the car where the truck had been and headed, gingerly, into town.

The car sits in that spot still, and I'm not thrilled about having it be in such a remote location that gets a lot of attention from passing snowmobilers.  Maybe I'll try to get it up to the house (or, at least, the bottom of the driveway) today, but I don't think I'll have much luck.  I suspect I'll need to wait until the weather changes and/or those couple of inches of snow compact on the hills to make them less slippery.

I was fortunate enough to be able to drive the 4-wheel drive heavy 1-Ton all the way in to the yard on Sunday night.

All of these extra-late nights due to the winter conditions have meant later mornings and much less time in my office.  So, I decided to change my office hours during the winter, and I posted such in the building and on my business FB page on Sunday.  From New Year's on until the roads are easily passable (end of April??), I will be in-office only 4 days a week.  I'll work from home the 5th day.  I think this is reasonable, especially since I'm not getting any walk-in traffic right now for the gallery.

So, whew!  That's where things stand.  For any of you brave enough to have slogged through this entire post, thank you!!

And so, with that and a clearer mind, it's outside I go to tackle the woodpile.  :)


  1. I'm exhausted after reading that post! Ice is so dangerous to any kind of movement! Glad you're okay - better safe than sorry, you know.

  2. I think that's the longest post I've ever read. Having said that, I couldn't believe it when you started out by saying you really had nothing to report. I know what you've been going through the last week or so and I wouldn't have been surprised if you post had been twice as long to document everything. (And there was a lot you left out.)

    I ask you, dear readers of this blog, is it any wonder her mother worries about her living out so far away from any help??

  3. I think you are very smart to trim down your hours during this time of year, it will save you on gas, too! Tis now safe this time of year and you are worrying your mama :)! There will be plenty of time for extended workweeks when the tourists descend on the town in summer. You are definitely prepared for all that comes your way - but I kinda wish I lived out in the sticks down the road about a 1/4 mile from you so you & the dogs could just slog it in to our place and have a glass of wine on nights like that - speaking of, maybe you need a team of dogs in the future?! :)

  4. p.s. I had a mini panic attack at the thought of those gorgeous mukluks covered in ash!

  5. Oh Chicken Mama, you are a better MAN than many I know!!! I would have collapsed in the snow crying. ...then I would have picked myself up and tried and tried until something happened!

    Shortening your days is a good move when the winter snow and winds hit.


  6. Are tire chains illegal up there? I remember working in Yellowstone and truckers putting chains on just so they could get over Bozeman pass!

  7. I'm worn out from reading of all your work. Please take care of you so you don't get hurt with all that late night slogging through bad weather and ice. We all care about you and wish you well. Shorter days and working at home this time of year is a great idea. Working at home is usually more productive anyway.

    We still have a lot of snow here in Indiana, but not nearly as much as you do. Be careful out there!

  8. Susan, we got about 5-6" of new snow on Wednesday, and I've been working on packing that down . . . hoping I can convince it to stick to the ice underneath!

    Mom, I know there was plenty "going on", but you just get stuck in the "yeah, but will anyone think it's interesting?" rut. ;) And, you know: I'm not doing any DANGEROUS! Heck, I'm in a MUCH better situation than you and Dad were when you first moved up! :)

    Erin, I love sled dogs but have NO interest in keeping a team, thank you very much (although I know you were kidding, anyway)! That had always been a dream of the ex's (he wanted to race the Iditarod one day). I told him I'd be handler for him for races, but, beyond that, they were HIS responsibility! I'll have to find pictures from my wedding and post them: all the guests were brought in by dogsled!

    P.S. I buy my mukluks purely for function! The fact that they're also gorgeous is a happy benefit. :)

  9. Yvette, I'll take that hug and THANK YOU for the "better than many men I know comment"! I *LIKE* that! :) And, I think you and I are cut from the same cloth: if you get discouraged, you express it (cry, cuss, whatever) . . . and then pick yourself back up and GET ON WITH IT! :)

    Melissa, studded tires are illegal, but chains aren't. I haven't had to resort to struggling with them YET, but they do "live" right behind the front seat in the truck. :) Matter of fact, when it was snowing and so slippery on Wednesday, I did see a semi slowly backing down the big, long hill that one must crest to leave town and head out on the open road. I wonder if he had chains to put on?

    Karren, WELCOME! I was tickled pink to read your comment. Are you a newbie to my blog or have you been "lurking"? ;) I always try to be very careful, and it's wonderful to hear reassurances from folks who are vicariously living my life with me! Thanks for writing!

  10. I think that at this time of year, it is perfectly reasonable for you to make appointments to meet people at specific times rather than sit there and wait for someone to happen by. Most people would probably expect to do so too!

  11. OMG - I actually commented before I read the rest of the post. Why do you even TRY to drive your little car in the winter?? And office hours- forgetaboutit!


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