Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#19 LOCKED OUT


            We had new front and back doors installed , and you could actually lock them.  We had never had locks on the house, so this was a big deal. That first night everyone was gone for the week-end except me, and it felt good to be safely ensconced in my solid-built house.  I awoke the next morning to a fresh layer of snow on the ground, and I went outside in my nightclothes to burn trash.  (We can still do that here in the country.)  What I didn’t know was that opening the door didn’t automatically unlock it, and once I closed it behind me, I was locked out.  I had no cell phone, the nearest neighbor was ½ mile away, and I had just socks on my feet.  

            All the windows were shut tight for the winter, leaving only two ways to get in.  The first was through the doggy door, and I tried crawling through the 1’ by 2’ enclosure that led to the door.  No dice.  It just wasn’t big enough, and I was afraid I’d get stuck.  The other choice was the crawl space under the house where I would attempt to find the board that lifted up into the floor of a closet.  I wrestled with the heavy crawl space cover and propped it against the house.  The crawl space itself was only 2’ to 3’ high and it was totally black as a panther on a moonless night.  I started out boldly, but became disoriented several times, and had to crawl back to the entrance and start over.  I had to feel between the floor joists, hoping to find this loose board, and not think about spiders.  Finally, after much prayer, God reminded me that the built-in vacuum pipes were close to the board I was looking for, so I felt around until I found them.  And there beside them was the board. 

         Now I could just push up the board and be in the house.  But in that 3’ space were pipes for the furnace as well as for the vacuum, and I had to lay on top of them to lift on the board with my back.  It was so heavy!  Then I remembered that there was a card table and four chairs stored right on this board in the closet.  So I kicked into Superwoman mode , and using all the strength I could muster, I moved the board about ½”, and then an inch, and more, until I was able to climb up into the closet.   How good it was to be back in the house, curled up by the wood stove,  absorbing its heat while I thanked God for caring for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#18 A MYSTERY (1988)


          Mike was training in Portland for his new job, leaving Andy and I at home to hold things together.  It was winter, and we had a major snowstorm while we were both in town, forcing us to spend the night with friends.  The next day was no better, with more snow and much wind, and the snowplow didn’t bother to open our road.  Knowing the horses and dogs would have to be fed, I called around until I found a friend with a snowmobile willing to take Andy to the house.  He lived two miles from us, and Andy was able to 4-wheel drive to his place.  The snow was light and fluffy and very deep, and the snowmobile kept sinking, taking them over an hour to cover the first mile.  So the good Samaritan had to give up and turn back, and Andy walked the last mile.  I should say “crawled” and “clawed his way” because the snow was impossible to walk on.  Hoping to cut some distance off his trek, he cut across our field, and tried to cross the creek.  However, he could not get any footing to jump across, and landed in the water.  It took all his strength and fortitude to get out of that water, grabbing bushes and weeds to pull on, wondering the whole time how long it would take people to find his body.
            Finally he reached the house, totally exhausted.  The Lab and Doberman were so happy to see him, and he immediately set about starting a fire in the woodstove.  Then he noticed it:  fresh red blood splattered on the T.V. screen!  There must be somebody in the house, and they were injured.  Looking around, he found drops of blood on the walls of two other rooms.  He was too exhausted to run, and too scared to check the rest of the house.  He frantically called me at the hospital where I worked.  I asked him not to panic, and we would look at this logically.  First I asked him how high up from the floor these splatters were?  About one foot.   Then I had him check the end of the labs tail to see if she had wagged it so hard against the furniture and walls that she had cut it open.  Relief! Mystery solved!
            It seemed to happen often.  This time Andy and I were snowed IN,  with no way of getting OUT. The wind had created unbelievable drifts. I was concerned about the weight of  3' of snow that had accumulated  on the roof, so I asked him to get a ladder and shovel some off.  He had a better way.  He climbed out his second-story bedroom window onto the steep, first story roof, just like he did as a young kid.  However, we had put on a new metal roof since then, and with snow on it, it was slick.  He made it a little way, but then he started sliding.  As he went over the edge, he gave himself a little push, hoping to land on the roof of the car so he wouldn't fall as far.  Instead, he smacked the car on his way down with his frozen hands and then hit his head on it.  He staggered into the house and collapsed on the floor, hollering about how much his hands hurt.   I was more concerned about him hitting his head.  I kept asking him questions about his head, and he kept crying about his hands, especially when they started thawing out!  He laid around the rest of the day, and I kept a close eye on him, ever so grateful he was ok.