family, home, life (on the farm), motherhood

    This is what it’s like to blizzard in an old house

    **I have no words for the response I received to my last post. You all flooded my inbox, my Facebook messages and my phone with offers of help and words of encouragement. I am so grateful for your kindness and your care. We have found a place on the Barrier Islands that was just what we were looking for. And I’m confident if she can just rally enough to get there, she will love it. I think we’re all having moments of “Are we taking on too much?”, but in our hearts really want to do this. I covet your prayers and your words of support. They mean so much. xo.**


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    I figure this is probably the kind of storm one must document. It was record-setting for Baltimore–39 inches–the biggest snow storm on record. I’m always game for a good storm, but have to admit anything over twelve inches moves the needle from enjoyable to annoying.

    Our storm began the way any storm in an old farmhouse begins–with a plumbing crisis. As the first flakes were beginning to fall and fall rapidly, the girls and I noticed a horrible burning smell coming from the basement. This is NOT something you want to smell any time of the day, let alone as an epic blizzard is barreling down on your house. I went downstairs to discover that the small puddle of water I had noticed and shrugged off that morning (meh. old houses) had now quadrupled in size. Not only that the smell of burning rubber was overwhelming and steamy smoke was pouring out of the top and bottom of the water heater.

    Kids: In the blizzard. Me: Inside with oatmeal, coffee and knitting.

    Kids: In the blizzard.
    Me: Inside with oatmeal, coffee and knitting.

    I called Dan who was still at work, one hour away, and explained to him what was going on. He asked if I could cut power to the water heater by tracing the electrical lines in the ceiling of the basement to the electrical box. Ummm, no thank you. I know, tough girl.

    So we called in for reinforcement until Dan could get there. They cut off the electric (they hoped) and told me the small stream of water pouring out of the bottom of the tank was no big deal. It wasn’t an emergency.

    Still snowing. Obviously.

    Still snowing. Obviously.

    But actually it kind of was. The trickle was picking up and the constant flow of water meant our furnace was running non-stop. I could see the dollar bills pouring out all over my basement floor.

    So like any good resourceful wife I texted Dan pictures of all the plumbing coming in and out of the water heater–elbow joints, pvc pipes, copper pipes and other thingamajigs. Thank goodness I have such great plumbing photography skills. He used the photos to buy the stuff he needed–a shut-off valve, most importantly–and came home to get to work. By this time we were talking white-out conditions and the storm was getting serious.

    Relief arrives in the form of Grandpa in a tractor.

    Relief arrives in the form of Grandpa in a tractor.

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    While a burning rubber smell is something you don’t want to have coming from the basement, the other thing you really don’t want to have coming from the basement is your mild-mannered husband’s cursing. I opened the door and called down the steps only to hear him saying over and over “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” I rounded the corner to see water spraying wildly from a pipe all over the basement. Like something out of a movie. Or maybe the Titanic.

    The snow pile, almost to the top of the garage roof.

    The snow pile, almost to the top of the garage roof.

    I’ve learned over the years to keep my mouth shut in these situations and not ask a lot of questions. Finally Dan dove back into the spray of water, twisting and turning something buried in the stream of water and finally it stopped.

    We both stood there silently, waiting, holding our breath and praying that this connection would hold.

    And it did. Praise Jesus.

    When you've been inside too long and your standards start to slip in the form of cats on the counters.

    When you’ve been inside too long and your standards start to slip in the form of cats on the counters.

    Think how boring it would have been if we simply did chores, ate chili and sat by the windows snuggled under blankets watching the snow pile up. *yawn*

    Otherwise the storm was thankfully uneventful. I suppose the 5 storage tubs of snow Dan shoveled from the attic are quite notable. Slate roof? Lots of wind? Tiny flakes? That’s what we’re blaming it on.

    When you're hiding from the kids in your husband's den, with ALL THE BOOKS.

    When you’re hiding from the kids in your husband’s den, with ALL THE BOOKS.

    Dan, God bless him, was probably thrilled to go back to work yesterday, just for the chance to rest. Hauling water, shoveling, mucking, doing chores, hauling snow out of the attic–it wears on a man.

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    Today, the girls went back to school for the first time. The pony was let out into her snowy pen where we shoveled room for her to move around. When you’re a Shetland in 37 inches of snow, you lose a little mobility.

    The driveway is plowed. The stocked cupboards are practically bare.

    And we finally got to leave the house.

    When your road is one of the last to get plowed it makes for perfect sledding.

    When your road is one of the last to get plowed it makes for perfect sledding.

    This will be one we all remember. And as Elizabeth said as we were getting out for the first time–if we don’t go through things like this, I won’t have any good stories to tell my children. I think she’s gathered a few these past few days.

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  • mommycoddle_hefightsforyou
    faith, family, living well

    Here I am

    It’s funny. I took these photos just a few days after Christmas. These beautiful cards I’d purchased long before Advent, so proud of myself for being prepared and ready to savor the…