without being enveloped by a fireball
Friday, December 3 2021
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
This morning Eric the Painter came over and finished the painting in Powerful's room, and then I dragged all the furniture back in there in hopes that he would move in and not monopolize the living room so much. But he was feeling kind of shitty from a coronavirus booster shot he'd gotten earlier in the week and he only went down there briefly. Gretchen felt kind of bad for leaving him this way when we set off for the Adirondacks, but she'd arranged for a several of our friends to come over and check on him while we were away.
We had a fully-loaded Chevy Bolt for this weekend trip. Among the things we were carrying were an Instant Pot, numerous small-container plastic storage solutions, a variety of shelving planks, an inexpensive flat-pack shelving unit, and about four hundred pounds of bluestone. We drove directly to our cabin on Woodworth Lake, with Gretchen doing most of the driving. Ominously, I noticed heaps of plowed snow on the sides of Maple Avenue west of Gloverville, and that snow seemed to be increasing as we climbed up the Adirondack escarpment on Route 309. But even Woodworth Lake Road was drivable. It was only when Gretchen turned onto our driveway, which leaves Woodworth Lake Road at a bit of a slope, that the Bolt completely lost traction. We got out and tried shoveling tracks for the the Bolt to drive on, but the snow was crusty and hard and it was slow going, particularly for Gretchen. I managed to dig a track all the way to the top of the first hill, but by then my fingers were getting cold. So I suggested we abandon the car for the time being and walk to the cabin to warm up and get better clothes. We hadn't prepared very well for the scenario of having to trudge the last 700 feet to the cabin; we were both wearing Crocs and I didn't have any gloves. Interestingly, very little snow had fallen since we'd departed the cabin last Sunday and the Bolt's tracks in the snow were still visible.
This morning I'd been alarmed to look at the temperature graph from the cabin and see that it had abruptly stopped logging values at about 6:00pm last night. It had probably just been a technical malfunction, but of course I worried that something terrible had happened. Fortunately, the cabin was fine and it seemed the generator had been cutting on as needed to keep its temperature in the low 50s. Disturbingly, though, Gretchen detected the smell of propane, and she quickly figured out why: the oven knob hadn't been clicked all the way off and had slowly been leaking gas into the cabin for the past week. Since the cabin is so air-tight, the gas had managed to accumulate enough to produce a slight odor everywhere but in the basement. It was enough for me not to want to use a lighter to start a fire in the woodstove. So we opened the doors and some windows for a few minutes to let some of the frigid (but clean) air in to displace some of the gaseous indoor air. I then was able to start a fire in the woodstove without being enveloped by a fireball.
Meanwhile Gretchen had hiked back to the car to retrieve a few more things. By this point we'd decided it was probably best not to try to dig the car out but to instead wait until we could find someone to plow out our driveway.
While I assembled the cheap flat-pack shelving unit (which was even smaller and crappier than expected), Gretchen talked to Nate, a guy who lives nearby and who does the plowing of Woodworth Lake Road for our homeowners association. He said he'd come out tomorrow to look at our driveway and plow it if necessary, though he didn't seem to think there would be much to plow and thought maybe sanding would be enough. But I was pretty sure the two-to-three inches of crusty snow in our driveway was plowable.
Gretchen had brought a bunch of vegan ravioli and tortellini, and that was what we had for dinner.
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