Memories of a 20-below New Year’s
December 26, 2006
Last week I wrote about two deer, a doe and her fawn, that came up to our snow-covered deck and looked right into the large glass slider door on Christmas Eve 10 years ago. They watched us as we watched them. The next morning my husband and I and our little kitten followed the deer tracks through the deep snow in our orchard and up to the top of the BLM hill behind our house and then south along the ridge top. From there the tracks came down through Juniper Canyon.
We got about that far and our kitten finally tired out and started to meow. Norbert picked her up and cuddled her in his arms for our trek through the snow back to our home. We never did see that alluring doe and her wonderful fawn again.
Each Christmas has its own memories. The memories I have about our Christmas back in 1990 were not nearly as enchanting as seeing the deer. Actually, it was a very stressful Christmas. That’s when we had record-breaking 20 degrees below zero, and the water pipes froze tight. All the plumbers in town were swamped so we were on our own. Lots of people went a lot longer than three days without water so I shouldn’t have been complaining. I should have considered it an adventure, like camping out. If it had been just Norbert and me, I wouldn’t have been worried. But what about the four babies that were coming? How would we bathe them and change their messy diapers without running water?
We improvised quite well. The biggest problem was flushing the toilets. It must take several gallons of water each flush. We had stored quite a bit of emergency water but went through all of it on the first day. That’s when we got creative. We used water from the spa to flush the toilets. I collected buckets of fluffy snow and melted it down to drink and to water the houseplants. Our showers became spit baths.
With freezing temperatures even during the daytime, those pipes weren’t going to thaw out on their own. Space heaters on them didn’t work either. So my husband bought a little propane torch and that fixed our problems. We hope we’ll never have 20 degrees below zero again. Happy New Year’s to us all.
n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.