The power came back on around 4 am. The sudden bright blinking of my alarm clock woke me up. I turned on the heat and went to my desk to finish writing the post that was interrupted the night before. Sue awoke a little while later and called a few plumbers… who just laughed at her. I sent an email to my office to let them know there was no way I was coming in. Sue works for Skagit County and of they decided to open for business so she said she was going in. I figured I’d go with her and buy some plumbing supplies and have a go at fixing the pipe myself. (They also have showers at her office! Hot water.. ahhh.) All my BioDiesel work have increased my plumbing skills a bit. In reality I’m likely just knowledgeable to be dangerous. I figured we could always get a real plumber out here to fix up my bodge. We packed up the Jeep with a shovel, some warm clothes and heavy boots and struck out north for Mount Vernon. The roads up in the foothills were awful, but once we got down to sea level things were considerably better. The freeway from Arlington up and over the Stanwood hill was a bit dodgey (we saw a few cars off the road including one SUV completely inverted in the ditch with two State Troopers looking at it slack-jawed), but once down in the Skagit Valley things seemed OK.
Until we got a flat tire.
I was just rolling along and suddenly the right rear of the car sagged and I knew we had a flat. Unfortunately we were in a single-lane, snow-bound freeway and no shoulder. I rolled up to the next exit, and found a spot to change the tire. It was on old highway 99, still not on the shoulder, but at least there was very little traffic. The tire was flat as a pancake, from having been driven on for almost 2 miles. I got the jack out and raised the car up, removed the flat, but then could not raise the damn car far enough to get the spare on. WTF? I had to put the flat back on, and then jack it up from the trailing arm instead of the frame. This scared me quite a bit since the other wheels were on frozen pavement. I finally managed to get the suspension compressed and the vehicle raised enough to install the spare. Tossed the jack and flat into the trunk, and continued on to Sue’s office. I dropped her off, and ran some errands. First to the hardware store for plumbing parts, then on to the pet store for some dog food. I also picked up some bird seed and some nuts to feed the deer I’d seen wandering around the neighborhood. Then I went to Les Schwab to get the flat fixed. It was pandemonium. Everyone was there buying chains, snow tires, etc. They said the tire was toast but did not have a replacement. Grrr.
I went back to Sue’s office and took a hot shower. Sue finished up her work and we headed home. On the way we stopped at the Les Schwab in Arlington to see if they could fix our tire. They were also swamped and said they’d get to it in three hours, so we left it and went home.
Above: Snowy scenes around the Goolsbee home.
I set to work on the pipe, which involved a deep-snow trudge out to the barn to gather tools. Along the way I shot the above photos. Meanwhile Sue was out spreading feed around for critters. Back in the garage, I found that my beloved Dremel would not work. Sigh. I’ve owned it for about 10 years. I trudged back out to the barn to find something else to cut with, and by now it was dark. I noted this comical pile of snow on a light:
Unable to find an appropriate cutting tool I figured I’d run the Jeep CRD back into town and pick up a new Dremel at the hardware store. I was happy to find that they had one on sale half price. I also stopped by Les Schwab and check on the tire… no dice. As I turned onto my own street I noted a DOT snowplow clearing it (yeah!) but that it had left a wall of snow in front of our driveway. I grabbed my shovel and cleared enough to get in. Right as I completed that task the lights in the whole neighborhood went out. Damn. Sure enough power was out. 🙁
I hung out with Sue for a bit, as she was already reading her book by candlelight. Unfortunately she was downstairs, which is where the one “indoor” cat lives and I had to leave after about an hour. I’m allergic to cats.
Nothing really to do but go to bed.