I like to do my civic duty once in a while, so a few years back, I signed up to be a poll worker. Depending on what's on the ballot, it can be incredibly boring or else bustling with people eager to make their voices heard. Last Tuesday was the latter variety--all the more so because Ohio was in the national spotlight, especially for the Democratic Party. What made it a bit odd was that in this heavily Republican county, Democratic ballots outnumbered the Republican ones, 3-1. There was a little bit of "well, our side's candidate is pretty much sewn up, so let's see what we can do with the other side." One young thing asked what party one of the presidential candidates belonged to. Now, that's what I call a really informed voter.
Outside, meanwhile, the heavens had opened and rained down--well, rain. But the temperature was hovering around 32 degrees, so when I went out, I found my car looking like something by Swarovski. Fortunately, I had brought a thermos of hot water for tea during the day and had some left, so that went on the windshield and I was able to make it the short mile home.
Where I found the house lit by candles. No power. Shoot! That meant no American Idol--and no supper, either. (My husband had offered to cook something, but since the microwave was unavailable, the offer was off the table--literally.) For a couple of hours, we huddled around the fireplace, dreading the moment when we'd have to crawl into an ice cold bed. No electric blanket. No hot water, either. We're on a well and when the well pump doesn't work, the water doesn't flow. Like Sidney Carton, Pat decided that it was a "far, far better thing" to get in first. Smart man.
We struggled through the next day, or rather, I did. He went to work. I sat in front of the fireplace and knitted and read and listened to my MP3 and stoked the fire. I had a school presentation later that night a short distance away. Luckily, they had power. It was just hard getting dressed. It's truly amazing how cold everything gets--clothes, utensils, toilet seats--ugh! After the presentation, we hit a neighborhood restaurant and lingered over our dinner, enjoying the warmth. By the time we got home, the power had been restored--not soon enough for American Idol, though. The furnace was sounding a little grumbly, but it had been doing that for several days and we'd already gotten a couple of quotes for a new furace, maybe in the summer.
Forget summer. The next morning, the furnace was dead. Dead, dead, dead. And it was cold. Cold, cold, cold. Except for a small electric heater, which we set up in the office. The guy who was coming out with our quote was in the right place at the right time. He could do the job the next day, so it was his.
I'm still barricaded in the office while the snow (another blizzard thing expected) piles up outside. March has definitely come in like a lion. I've been going over manuscripts and checking out blogs and doing online jigsaw puzzles. Everytime I leave to get something in the kitchen, I'm reminded of how frigid it is out there. The furnace guys promised us heat by tonight. Winter. You gotta love it.