Rachel coined the term “Driveway of Doom” to describe the very steep and curvy driveway that is well-known in the community. My realtor friend, Nancy, says I’ll never sell this house because of it. Tim, the contractor, and his guys laugh at me. Alan, neighbor and fellow dog walker, commented that I’ll never use the driveway in the winter. The Carrachilo brothers who delivered wood said that they hoped I had someone ready to plow at a moment’s notice.
What all of this means for me is that I am constantly checking the weather and have become a bit obsessed about the Weather Channel app on my IPad. This morning it reported freezing rain so I quickly moved the car to street level (photo on the right). There are 39 steps to climb to get to the car and I’ve mastered carrying garbage, recycling, purse, and grocery bags up to the car and can carry up to three bags full of groceries down to the “front” door. The deck gets very slippery so I have Blizzard Wizard stashed at strategic places and have a pair of ice walkers that fasten to the bottom of my shoes in the car. In spite of all my efforts to prepare for winter in the mountains, there is always another wrinkle in the plan.
Earlier in the week I bought a Christmas tree reasoning that it didn’t matter where it sat outside until I had help getting it in the house. The man at the place that sells wood stuff (it does not seem to have a name and this is how it is referred to at the diner) was very helpful. “There are several criteria,” I said. “It has to fit in the car, I have to be able to lift it, you need to do the fresh cut and remove the bottom branches, and it has to last.” The owner helped me choose a tree, did everything I asked and had it in the car before I had finished browsing in his store. “It’s not heavy at all,” he said, “so you shouldn’t have any problem. Just put it in a bucket of water when you get home and it will be fine.” I replied, “Won’t the water freeze?” “Oh, no, you’ll have too much water in the bucket for it to freeze.” Perhaps as a science educator, I should have known better. I got the tree home, put it in a bucket of water and left it outside the back door.
The next morning I decided that I should bring the tree up to the porch to make it easier to get into the house. I was able to carry it up the stairs although it was considerably heavier than the Christmas tree guy indicated! Perhaps that’s because he stood about 6’5″ and was certainly a former linebacker. It stayed on the porch until yesterday morning when I decided to get it into the house because it was leaning over and getting crushed. Temperature was about 29 degrees on the porch, so I hurried out with the tree stand and proceeded to try to lift the tree out of the bucket. “Wow, this is much heavier than it seemed yesterday,” I thought. Perhaps it was too early and I had too little coffee. I tried again and still no luck until I realized that the water in the rather large bucket was frozen solid and I was lifting the whole thing, not just the tree. How could I have been so wrong?! After struggling for what seemed like hours, melting the water, dragging it inside, the tree was standing, albeit crooked. At this point, I’m just hoping the tree survives its freezing and stays standing until Rachel arrives next week. One of the challenges of living alone is finding ways to negotiate tasks that seem so simple, like where to park, when to move the car to the top of the driveway, and how to handle a Christmas tree! At least I didn’t have to carry the tree down the 39 steps!