Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Synopsis: Part 1

It's almost the end of January, an important fact that means winter is over in ONLY 5 MORE MONTHS!!!!! YEAH! It also means another busy month is about to be tucked safely under the belt of time, never to be dealt with again (thank goodness!).

The day after Christmas was my last day working for Walmart. Since then I have gotten a lot done on the ol' homestead. Unfortunately, most of what I've done has only made it uglier. For instance, one (not-so) fine day I decided to change the rubber strip in my threshold. I quickly discovered that the strip was so old I could not get it completely out of the threshold. But not before I took the threshold off. And the door.

I put the door and threshold back on, then purchased a new threshold the next day. Door and old threshold came back off. I measured carefully, cut the aluminum of the new threshold with a hacksaw, installed it. Door went back on. Beautiful!!

Now the door wouldn't shut.

Door came back off. I tried cutting the door with the hacksaw. A butter knife would have been faster. Tried a little Roto-zip, but the blade broke off in despair. Then I sent out an emergency call for an electric saw. Noni brought me out a Skil-saw. The blade was bent and cut crooked. Changed the blade and cut the door. Yeah! Door goes back on. Door now fits perfectly in the corner where I measured from. Floor slants down the rest of the door width.

Most of door now 1 inch off beautiful door jamb. Arctic breeze gusts through gap. Sigh.

So now swinging over my beautiful door jamb I have a door with half of a draft stopper insert (a full one wouldn't go all the way across because one corner was the right height, remember), a little plastic draft stopper stapled all the way across the bottom of the door, and then 3 inches of putrid pink carpeting, wrong side out, stapled across all of that.

But that coordinates with the black trash bag stapled over the window, the carpet strip across the top, and the neon 70's pink and green flowered blanket hung between the door and the storm door. This much ugly takes time and planning!

One 'beautifying' project I was able to complete was painting my living room a soft, butter yellow. Sigh. The paint was called 'Asian Silk'. The name brings to mind something dignified, hints at the mysteries of the Orient. It lies.

I told my mom if the sun and a yellow crayon had a baby, and that baby spit up mustard, that's what my living room looks like. The room will have to be repainted anyway since my renovating plans have been recently modified. Still, for all 'Asian Silk's' overpowering nature, it's a nice antidote to the winter blahs.

Another much more wonderful improvement was getting my interior water supply back. My pump broke near the beginning of December and I was without indoor water for nearly a month. Oh, how difficult it was pumping all that water by hand and then hauling those buckets through the snow, the wind, the cold.

Just kidding. I had to walk 20 feet to a heated well house and plug in an electric pump. I was still glad when I didn't have to do that anymore! That cleared the way for the next problem, the Problem of the Clogged Sewer Lines. Every time the temperature drops (and it's North Dakota, folks. That happens a lot!) my sewer line backs up. Tomorrow I expect to go under the house and take apart the line to clear it before the weather gets bad again. That's OK. Winter can't last forever. Soon all these problems will be distant memories.

Something else splendid was getting to say a permanent good-bye to my walk-in front room refrigerator. If you recall, my front room was (and still is) a nice crisp 39 degrees, so in the absence of my fridge, I stored the groceries in the living room. My dad helped me haul my fridge from Noni's house out to mine before he left for another trip to California. First I had to get it from the mother-in-law cottage out to the road, so Tiggy helped me push it through the snow. Have you ever pushed a refrigerator on its side through the snow? It does not make a good sled.

The last week of weather has been wonderful. Temperatures all the way up to 30 degrees and lots of sun, but there were plenty of cold days before that. I also understand that the usual weather pattern after a January thaw is to have a dreadful February.

The deer have been in great abundance. They winter in large herds, some in abandoned farm yards and some right in town. On almost every drive you are bound to run into a few, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally. The snow is so deep this year that if they leap off the road they sink up to their necks. A maneuver like that leaves a deer perilously vulnerable to coyote attack, so they are loathe to do it, choosing instead to run panic-stricken along the road for great distances. It's inconvenient, but I can't bring myself to resent it too strongly. After all, any animal that has to spend the whole winter outside digging up grass crumbs to survive deserves a little understanding.

Amazingly, these were the cheerful news items for January. My next post will deal with the non-cheerful news, but it seemed a little, well, out-of-place to mix it in with the rest.

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