Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Braced and Preparing

Here we go again! The Winter of Disbelief continues with another sucker punch to the Northeast region of the US. I know New England and New York are still getting pummeled and are due for a round two tomorrow, but here in Jersey a lot of the snow has melted due to 24+ hours of rain and the snow begins late tonight.

Some places around here still have quite a bit of deep snow cover (like Mom's house--how do they still have so much less than a mile away and so much of ours has melted?) and we're supposed to get another 8-10 inches when all is said and done on Friday. This time it's supposed to be a "snowicane," a hurricane-like snowstorm. I've never experienced this before and, I have to admit, I'm a little concerned.

We don't have enough wood. The Viking only split so much, never dreaming there would be this much snow to prevent him from getting back out there to split some more. We've used the new stove way more than we anticipated and, despite our efforts to ration the wood since the last storm, we just don't have enough to heat the house should the power go out again. Still, we survived 11 years in this house without a wood stove and I know we'll survive this time. There is a possibility (albeit a slim one) that Daria and I may be able to get out back and split some more wood ourselves, but only if she is confident in her axe-wielding skills. I am decidedly not.

We also have other preparations to make. Fool that I am, I put off my weekly run to the grocery store until today and will now have to do it while every hooligan in the entire state is rioting over the last of the bread, eggs and milk. And I need bread, eggs and milk! We have candles and matches from the last storm, but we're dreadfully low on tea and have nothing in the house to prepare for meals. I'd better go find my brass knuckles.

In other news, the deep-clean marches along slowly but purposefully. On Saturday The Viking and I cleaned and cleaned. I thoroughly swept the kitchen and dining room while he vacuumed like his life depended on it. We also got very irritated with the dog in the process. One of the reasons so much time was spent on the floors was because of the excesses of fur that have been clumping and floating around here lately. Nutmeg is in the throes of her Spring Shed (which tells me Spring is not far off, no matter how much snow we get tomorrow) and the sheer volume of the stuff beggars belief! I just kept finding more and more of it as I swept! And then, to complicate matters, Nutmeg herself kept being very skittish and causing all kinds of gnashing of teeth.

Like many dogs, Nutmeg is afraid of the vacuum. And, to a lesser degree, the broom. We only have carpeting in the living room so whenever we vacuum, she runs as far from it as she can get, through the dining room and into the kitchen, and cowers in front of the kitchen door. I think her fear of the broom is mostly because she knows when it comes out the vacuum is soon to follow, but when I sweep the kitchen, she keeps her distance by sitting tight in the living room. I think Saturday's simultaneous sweeping and vacuuming nearly done her in.

As I said, I was sweeping while The Viking was vacuuming. So when she ran into the kitchen to get away from the vacuum, she encountered that pesky broom. Then she would run out to be far from the broom and then come face to face with the vacuum. So she'd run back into the kitchen. And each time she ran through the kitchen, she'd inevitably hit the pile of sweepings I was working on and re-scatter all the fluff I had just swept up! I was getting so frustrated and impatient that The Viking finally called her to the far corner of the kitchen where I was no longer sweeping and commanded her to sit and stay. We could see in her eyes that she was considering defying him, but she slowly sat and stayed with a mutinous look on her face.

Daria tells me (as Cesar Milan says) that an anxious dog in an unpredictable (and therefore, dangerous) dog. And a perfect example is what happened next. She was staying in the far corner of the kitchen. I was still sweeping in the adjacent dining room where I had the chairs all upside down on top of the table in preparation for mopping the floor. The Viking was still vacuuming the living room. Then, The Viking shifted the vacuum a wee bit to clean the threshold between the living and dining rooms which caused the vacuum to enter the dining room just a smidge. But it was enough to spook the silly dog.

For some odd (and unpredictable) reason, she charged in the direction of the vacuum to dart under the dining room table, but in her panic, she misjudged the space and slammed into one of the heavy chairs perched on top of the table. The chair came down with a crash, missing her by mere inches, scaring the daylights out of all of us and putting a nice, deep gouge into the hardwood floor The Viking installed and finished all by himself.

No one was hurt, thankfully, though I shudder to think what would have happened if one of us had been standing there. And the damage to the floor is not important in the grand scheme of things (though I think it will be quite a challenge to repair). But the fact that she got so out of control really concerns us. In retrospect, it seems we had not taken very seriously her anxiety regarding the vacuum and we really need to work with her on it. If we don't, it's just a matter of time before she snaps again and that time, somebody could get hurt.

For what it's worth, Nutmeg spent the remainder of the cleaning time banished to the yard and I wound up scrubbing my kitchen floor Cinderella style though I did not sing, "Sing Sweet Nightingale," while doing it. I was too busy gritting my teeth and trying not to let bad words fly out of my mouth. Not the really bad ones, mind, but bad ones nonetheless. I think, perhaps, I need to spend some more time on my knees (both scrubbing and praying) to work on that particular problem.

So, the desk and kitchen entrance have been GI-ed and the floor has been (hand) scrubbed. Next up: mouldings and baseboards.

Right. I'm off to finalize the grocery list and prepare for the trip to Wegmans (or as Lobelia calls it, The Portal To Hell). Stay warm!


Leila said...

See if anyone in your area sells bio-bricks or envi-blocks. You can google it. They are very good highly compressed wood bricks that burn very hot and clean in the stove. I prefer envi-blocks but you might just have to take what you can get. We've done the math and, at least around here, they are comparable in price to cord wood and burn hotter.

Your description of the dog is priceless. Roxie goes in the crate when I vacuum.

We have five inches of gloppy soppy snow-like substance out

Anonymous said...

It is only The Portal to Hell when weather is happening.