Friday, December 24, 2010


Mike and I loaded the Dakota, including Nellie, at the town house, stopped to exchange holiday greetings with neighbors, and headed out to the farm. Arriving unsuspectingly at the farm yard about 10:30 a.m. with visions of a happy Christmas dancing in our heads, we were moving from the Dakota to the house when I heard it – the sound of water gushing at the barn. OH NO!!!! The frost-free spigot at the barn had burst and was pouring the Clearwater River onto the ground as fast as it could. Mental chaos ensued as we tried to think our way through the problem. Turning the water off at the pressure tank was useless. We had to turn off the well at the power box on the utility pole before the gushing stopped, but now we had no water in the house either. "Don't unload the pick-up," advised Mike, "because if we can't solve this problem, we won't be staying."

"Ina did," I wanted to retort, but I knew in my heart he was right. Our outside facilities are now defunct. I can't help but think of Hallie and Nick, who are coming to play. They will be disappointed if they can't have a Christmas celebration at the farm.

Here it is Friday – and Christmas Eve, too. Our attempt to leave a message for a plumber in Orofino was questionably effective, though hours later the call was returned. Mike had many questions before he could get started with the necessary work. "How about Mike Lorenz," I asked. Lorenz was the general contractor when we remodeled the house. Within minutes Mike was talking with Mike, who offered to call a sub-contractor for info and call us back. His response was immediate and helpful, and Mike set to work to dig out the spigot and see if he could cap it. Not fun in 34-degree temperature. Not ever fun anyway. The hole kept filling with water.

Once Mike determined the kind of cap he needed, we wondered where he would get it. I called Builder's Supply in Orofino at 12:35. "We closed at noon," said the voice on the other end of the line. "What can I do for you?" Interesting phraseology: "I'm closed – what can I do for you?" I let Mike explain, and the man at Builder's Supply agreed to wait the half hour it would take for Mike to get to the store. After downing a cup of warm soup he was off for town. The owner had waited for him as agreed. On the way back to the farm, Mike stopped at our neighbor's – a mechanic with most every old tool – and borrowed a pipe wrench which ultimately he didn't use.

By 2:15 the pipe was capped and Mike was unloading the pick-up. "But," I said, breaking the news as gently as possible, "we have no internet."

Now -- I insisted Mike call Clearwater Power on Wednesday to re-up our Wild Blue satellite internet. "Please re-instate it now," I said, "because knowing Clearwater Power, they won't man the office on Thursday since they never work Friday." So Mike put in the request and was assured service had been restored. However, a screen on my laptop was telling me "service has been suspended" with a phone number.

Since we now knew we'd be staying the weekend I called the Wild Blue number on my screen and was advised that my only course of action was to call my contact, Clearwater Power. "But they aren't there," I said. "You mean I have to wait until Monday for service?" Yes. "This is unacceptable," I screeched into my cell phone. "Here I am in a remote locale on Christmas without my connection to my friends." "Sorry," said Ray the Tech. "And Merry Christmas."

So – Mike called the president of Clearwater Power at home and was advised to call the emergency number and ask for Jeremy. Mike made that call, but there was resistance on their end to contacting said Jeremy. "This is what the president of your company said I should do," said Mike firmly. "Please let Jeremy know about this matter and have him call me." There was no follow-up call from Jeremy, and we still had no internet. So Mike called Clearwater Power again and told the service operator that he wanted a call from Jeremy. Subsequently Jeremy did call and said that one in twenty re-ups will fail – hang up in the Wild Blue system -- and such was the case with our request. The situation had been corrected, he said, and now we should re-boot our system. When we did, we had service.

"I need a good hard work-out," said Mike -- off to ride his wind trainer.

It's a Christmas Eve to remember for us, but then aren't they all? Merry Christmas to you all. Love, Kathy
[The first two photos illustrate the blog. The last is a late evening picture of the sun's reflection.]


Leah said...

Wow. What an adventure. Yes, you'll remember this Christmas for a long time to come. Good to know the story had a "Hollywood Ending."

Happy Christmas, Kathy, Mike, Hallie & Nick.

Hallie said...

Happy Christmas to you, Leah! It's been a lot of fun having your comments during Mom's advent series.

Nick and I are looking forward to our Christmas at the farm in just a couple days. Who says Christmas is just one day? ;)

Chris said...

Wow, it's a good thing you went up so you could stop it before it really did some damage! And so glad you got to stay. Have a wonderful Christmas when Hallie and Nick arrive. :-)

Leah said...

Hallie: I've really had fun as your Mom's blog just bursted with Christmas spirit each day. What fun we had reminiscing about the past. Your time at the farm will be a great escape from the city. And to have snow too! Yes, Christmas lasts as long as you want it to.