"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, February 19, 2012

♫ Yesterday♫

Remember that Beatles’ song “Yesterday?”

♫Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away?♫

Well, yesterday I felt the same way as I was delivering mail along the 130 mile route.  The weather was pretty nice, sun peeking through, temperatures around 30 or so, the previous day’s slop now turned to ice.

Everything was rocking right along.  Just the usual winter things like horrendous fuel bills and horrendous snow-plowing bills.  The sun was back in the valley, though with the overcast skies, you wouldn’t know it.   

I saw a bald eagle in Hope, and eight more in Cooper Landing.  The ones in Cooper Landing hang out along the Kenai River, waiting for a stray salmon carcass to float downstream.  Two eagles were side by side in a tall cottonwood tree and three more buddied-up across the river,  so close to the road I could almost have touched them.

Sorry this photo is blurry, but I was driving across the bridge and trying to grab a quick photo before traffic caught up with me.
Where the bridge crosses the mouth of the river at Kenai Lake, a few swans and their hangers-on floated at the edge of the ice while fishermen tried to catch rainbow trout.

Yes, nice day.  I was thinking about all the fun projects I wanted to do when I got home.  Instead of heading right for the post office to finish up, I pulled into my driveway for a quick pit stop.

Actually, I didn’t pull into my driveway so much as I bounced into my driveway over the more-than-a-foot-high mound of broken ice chunks the highway plow had piled across the top of it.  I had cleared a similar mound the previous day and I wasn’t happy about this one.  That stuff is heavy.

The dirty snow in the foreground was a present from the highway guys.  The dirty snow in the background is why I can't shovel the new dirty snow out of my driveway.

I added “clean the top of the driveway” to my list as I headed for the bathroom for my pit stop.  What met me there, I won’t describe.  Suffice it to say my pit stop occurred outdoors and I added “clean up the bathroom mess” and “shovel a path to the lift station” and “call the Roto-Rooter guy” to my list of projects.

I thought I had that septic line freezing problem whipped when I hung a 100watt rough service light bulb in the lift station.  That was supposed to keep the floats from freezing in place, a problem that meant the floats wouldn’t trip the “on switch” to the pump, resulting in the septic tank filling and the water backing up into the line and freezing.

♫Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as if they’re here to stay…♫

First things first.  I finished the mail route and headed home to clean out the driveway.  While I was struggling along, my friend JJ came by and offered her help.  I was reluctant, but knowing what my shoulder would be like afterwards, I let her start the path to the lift station opening.  The snow, variously like sugar with layers of ice, or wet and heavy, was four feet deep.

My 300 gallon propane tank is buried on the right.

I finished the drive and came back to help her, wading through the snow to where I thought the lift station was and starting to shovel while she worked her way towards me.

Everything seemed okay in the lift station.  The floats weren’t frozen though the bulb had self-destructed, leaving its base in the socket.  I went back to the garage to get tools and a new bulb.  That’s when the right ear piece on my VERY expensive titanium eyeglasses frame broke.

♫Suddenly, I’m not half as calm as I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, this trouble came suddenly.♫

With needle-nose pliers, I removed the base of the broken bulb and then installed the new bulb.  Nothing.  Apparently the heat from the light had fried the socket.  I added “get a new light socket” to my list of projects, along with “go to Anchorage and hope the ophthalmologist has a new earpiece in stock and doesn’t have to order one.”

JJ finished the path and we went in the house and groused about being “property managers” all winter rather than having fun.  We also talked about our various options to cure that situation.

I added “get through this winter” to the list and also “figure out what the heck you’re going to do with all this stuff” if and when you sell this house.

Yesterday, seemed such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away.♫

Dixie returned my call and asked if I wanted Bob the Roto-Rooter guy to come over that evening or the next morning.  I told her morning would be fine.

“You sure?” she asked.

“Yeah, I still have the red bucket I peed in last winter,” I said.  There was a long pause before she started laughing

“I wasn’t expecting that.”  We made arrangements for Bob the Roto-Rooter guy to be here at 10 AM.  I grabbed my shovel and made sure there was a pathway to the septic clean-out opening.  Fortunately, that clean-out is under my front deck, which normally is an annoyance.  This time, it’s a blessing, otherwise it would be under four feet of snow and ice.

One of our many blizzards this winter actually sculpted the snow like this.  I only had to remove the newer snow to clear a path to get under the deck.

Back in the house, I put an artichoke on to boil and sat down to sulk and watch a movie on Starz.  It was a pretty good movie, Low Down with Robert Duvall as a cranky hermit trying to arrange for own funeral to be held while he’s still alive.  

Very entertaining movie.  That’s why I forgot about the artichoke, which ran out of water and incinerated the lower leaves of the tasty thistle.  I ate the rest of it anyway and decided I’d had quite enough of yesterday, so I went to bed right after 8 PM.

I’d had enough of yesterday.

PS:  Bob is going to come by next week and install a heat trace in the septic line.  That should solve that. 

My hero.

NOTE:  A wee bit of an apology to the Beatles for some minor lyrics changes.


  1. Note to self....forget your troubles and blues, be glad you aint' in Jeanne's shoes. ;)

  2. Your life will soon get better. I consulted my crystal ball and that's what it said. I thought you'd like to know!

  3. My goodness - never a dull moment for you! I'd never last in that much snow. You must have antifreeze in your veins! How's Pablo? Haven't heard you mention him for awhile.

  4. Brrrrr and ouch, is what I have to say. Your resilience is amazing, I'm such a wimp I'd be done shoveling after five minutes. I'm not so jealous of the snow now.

  5. ain't rural living in Alaska fun ?
    But days are longer and spring IS coming.

  6. I'm not going to complain about our weather ever again.