Thursday, January 4, 2018

Chilled To The Bone

A distracting sort of day yesterday--scuttling downstairs to a hot shower, then scrambling into clothes I had left warming by the fire. 
The night had been uneasy--while I wasn't cold enough to get up and spread another quilt on the bed, it seemed I didn't relax into real warmth and deep sleep.
[I have always 'minded the cold' and fibromyalgia definitely makes me more vulnerable to the effects of getting chilled.]
I've complained to Jim that as I sit at my desk to read or write I've been enveloped in a cold draft that swirls up from the basement room, seeps around the stairway door and enfolds me. Thus, I head upstairs to bed already chilled.
[A central stairwell anchors the house and our desks occupy the wide hallway connecting kitchen and living areas with the downstairs door located behind and between the desks.]

Jim took my complaints seriously enough yesterday to search out a roll of weather stripping and apply it to the door casing. A strip of leather stapled to the bottom of the door now gives it a snug fit. 
Seeking the source of the draft Jim discovered that two of the windows in the lower basement room had never had caulking seal applied.  He remedied that and almost immediately the wide hall became a more agreeable place.
While he went in and out weather-proofing, I tackled a rearrangement of furniture in the kitchen and dining area. The alcove beyond the kitchen proper has become by default my sewing nook. The removal of the small hutch and matching drop leaf table called for some adjustments.
I do know how to use a measuring tape--to compare the depth and width of a piece of furniture with the available space.
Unfortunately I can't visualize how a table or cabinet or such will look when dragged to a new location.
I was hauling a kitchen island unit toward the alcove when Jim came through on an errand. He waved me off, twitched the hearth rug under the edge of the cabinet and scooted it across the floor. I turned my sewing table away from the east window, clattered about in the sunroom and dragged out a battered but comfortable wing chair to sit in the alcove corner.  I was contemplating this set-up when Jim reappeared and announced he had forgotten to eat breakfast and was there anything to be had?

Between bites of lunch I walked about to view my furniture arrangement from all angles--it was clearly awkward. 
I carted the big chair through the living room, back to the sun room, shoved the island cabinet back to its original place, much to the relief of Bobby Mac who considers it his special perch, from which he can oversee the entire area.  

This saga could continue in detail, but suffice it to say that finally I did what should have been done at the beginning: brought in our antique drop-leaf table from the sun room, positioned it under the alcove north window, wheeled a small kitchen cart to the corner where  the shelves could be stacked with bins of thread and sewing notions. 
The cats--who don't like domestic upheaval--crept out of various hiding places and demanded their 'tea.' With that dished out I pulled on layers of clothes and headed down the lane to offer apple peelings to the goats, collect the mail, return an empty milk bottle in exchange for a full one.

The sun was already sliding behind the ridge as I trudged back up the lane feeling cumbersome in my quilt-lined overalls and layered sweaters. 
I felt sure that I had earned a mug of tea, the luxury of falling into my rocking chair with a book.

Jim was on the phone when I walked in and began tugging off the cumbersome overalls.
Hearing his side of the conversation I suspected he was on the trail of yet another tractor. 
"How would you like to go for a ride?" he asked brightly.

The ridiculously tiny tractor, ready to roll off the trailer.

I didn't want to go anywhere.  I wanted my chair by the fire.
"Why would you go on a tractor chase at nearly dark?  Can't this wait til tomorrow?"

Of course it couldn't wait!  The tractor in question had been posted for sale only minutes ago. Jim, endlessly trolling craigslist, had spotted it, the seller's phone was ringing off the wall with interested callers.
I didn't want to go out in the cold.  Still, I try to play fair and Jim had given many hours to pantry renovation, had helped shove furniture about.

I layered on a more presentable assortment of clothes, clambered into the truck, still feeling reluctance.
We headed east into deepening sunset, skies painted with coral, gold-rose, paling to mauve and pearly grey.  I became aware that the truck's automatic transmission was not shifting properly.  Jim was fiddling with the lever, repeatedly attempting to activate the over-drive.
I mentioned that it might be wise to turn back, which of course didn't go over well.

The truck continued to roar along in high gear but not smoothing into overdrive.
I bit back the comments that came to mind, focused on the fading colors of the sky, the giant icicles hanging from the rock-cuts that bordered the highway.

Across the cab Jim was poking about in the console, fumbling at the edge of the seat. He admitted [testily] that he hadn't brought his notebook with the tractor seller's phone number and location.
I huddled tensely in my seat, chilled, cross, tired, berating myself for being part of this expedition.

It was full dark when we reached the point where we needed to turn off the main highway. 
The super-moon was climbing above the tree line, a globe of pale gold against the night sky
Jim turned the truck onto what he thought was the correct side road and we lumbered noisily along an ever narrowing track that suddenly ended at the gate to a farmyard. 
From the window of the adjacent house colors and shapes flashed across a wide-screen TV. 
Jim crossed the frozen grass to the door, disappeared inside.
He returned 10 minutes later having been told that he should go back to 'the dollar store' on the main route and explore a turning there.
The lane was narrow, no place to make a wide sweep to turn the truck and lumbering trailer.
Fortunately Jim can do this in a tight spot.
The designated turning took us along another winding rural road--as unpromising as the first.

Roaring around a curve we noted a man in heavy clothing, a headlamp strapped over his wool cap.  He was towing a large dog on a lead. 
Jim stopped to make inquiries--he was looking for a brick house--on the right--owned by a man who drove a Fed-Ex truck--and had a small tractor for sale.

The dog barked madly, deafeningly, leaped about entangling his owner in the leash. 
"Turn around in the driveway," shouted the man, "I'll take the dog in and come back out 
 to talk with you!"
The trailer wheels spun on the frosted grass at the verge of the road. I muttered something about the folly of hauling things about in winter with a 2 wheel drive truck instead of the 4 wheel drive.
I had dire visions of being stuck for the night in a frozen corn field.
The man, having reappeared within out his hysterical canine suggested that there were two side roads close together, one posted as route 577, the other as 579--and that Jim, having struck out with 579 should go back a few miles to 577.
[ I have since seen Jim's notes, left on his desk, specifying rte 577!]

Jim slowed as a brick house, on the right,  loomed in the moonlight.  At the sound of the approaching truck lights came on in a garage, an overhead door went up and a man appeared, several dogs milling about his heels. "This is it,"  said Jim, happily, "He's been watching for us."

While Jim and the tractor owner went over its finer points the three dogs cavorted in and out of the garage, two small hybrid hounds and a jolly old black Lab whose missing back leg seemed to pose no restraints as he fended off the wrestling youngsters.
The tractor and its implements were loaded onto the trailer, the tight sweep onto the road accomplished.  The truck suddenly decided to shift smoothly into overdrive.

We stopped to eat at a favorite chain restaurant, bracing ourselves for the cold dash across the parking lot. Only a few late patrons remained and we were offered a table in front of the huge stone fireplace.
Home at last, roaring over the moonlit miles, home to put wood in the fire, to assure the cats that we really were back.
I couldn't settle to sleep. The too late meal lay heavily on my innards, days of painting, carrying, moving things, days and nights of feeling chilled, had caught up with me. 

I came down stairs, trailed by a retinue of cats, huddled miserably in a chair by the fire.
Jim appeared after a bit, bundled into his old bathrobe.
"Are you sick?"
"Not really. Supper disagreed with me--too late."
Teasel-cat landed in my lap, purring.
Jim rummaged in the fridge for a grapefruit--he has a stomach of cast iron!
It was 2 a.m. when I went back upstairs, folded myself into the blankets, felt the cats settle into their favorite positions on the wide bed.

I didn't go outside today, other than a quick dash out to offer food and water to the outdoor cats. 
The sun has shone in a brilliant sky, the temperature has climbed a few degrees.
Jim collected several sheets of blue-board insulation at the building supply, fitted some of it under the lower stairwell, blocking the cold air that had been invading the upper floor. Two more sheets of blue-board have been positioned upstairs to close off the double hallway that leads to unused guest rooms. 
I have worn my wool socks over thick tights, jeans, a heavy ribbed cardigan over a turtleneck jersey.
I made cream of tomato soup using my late mother-in-law's method, 
Comfort food, warm clothes, the house battened down against this unusual stretch of freezing weather. Cats adjusting to the rearrangement of furniture.

I have projects in mind, but am feeling like I need a little break--still anticipating hours in my old rocking chair, finding my place in the book set aside before the holidays, making room for a cat in my lap.
Being warm.


  1. Wow, what a thrilling adventure. It sounds as though you may have overdone things a little. I know the feeling when you get super chilled and the Fibro starts to nag. I've got the disadvantage of having hot flashes on and off now so I'm in a bit of turmoil!
    You pantry looks lovely and is inspiring me to have a tidy up. It's diffiult here when nothing is fully organised, but we'll get there.
    Hope you manage to have a peaceful rest day

    1. Kimberly; I sometimes think it is one too many efforts that brings on a 'flare' of fibro--in reality its probably that things pile up and hit like the proverbial 'ton of bricks.'
      Hot flashes--such an indignity!
      Renovating and organizing after a move are not projects to be quickly accomplished.

  2. Oh my sweet lady, what a post about a day or two in your life. You always inspire me.

    So glad you have your dear husband to take care of making things better.

    Be warm, keep cozy and keep posting.

    Love & hugs to the both of you ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; We couldn't manage this country lifestyle without my husband's skills and ingenuity. The amount of 'muscle power' I can contribute merely picks up the pieces.

  3. I feel your pain. I have sinus problems and pleursy right now and the cold makes it all hurt worse. And like you I can not eat a big meal late at night, we eat our biggest meal in the afternoon.
    Good that your getting the leaks sealed up.
    We have two heaters in our house and yesterday afternoon the one for the downstairs stopped working, we suspect a capacitor has gone out, one has before, thank goodness we have 2 propane fireplaces and the upstairs heater. I called a repairman today, but who knows how long before they send someone out.
    I haven't mentioned this on my blog because our daughter reads it and I don't want her to worry. It was 22ยบ here last night.
    Hoping for warmer weather soon.

    1. Janet; Heating and cooling systems would be beyond my husband's ability to repair--everything is geared to a computer of some kind.
      Jim has been mentioning that the whole south east lives rather unprepared for severely cold weather--older houses with little insulation, furnaces that strain beyond safety when worked overtime. Your house looks new and modern--but the snow surrounding it just now can't be welcome.
      Going out in the cold would be so miserable for you just now--I hope you can stay snug inside.

  4. What a day! I am impressed, and yes, you need a break. Enjoy that rocker.

    1. Sue; Its seems I've been anticipating 'time out' in the rocking chair for quite a while--one of these days it will happen!

  5. We all have those days; the ones we would like to forget. ;-) Glad you made it home ok and eventually warmed up with a bit of help from the felines. Annie would have gladly offered assistance as you cannot sit for a second here without her plump and 'oh so warm' body upon you. She feels it's her calling. We are in the middle of yet another winter storm and the temps are going down to -25C tonight. I fear for our wildlife and of course our little birds. It's just too many nights like that now with no breaks. :( Feeders are being filled daily, cat food for the crows and I am still helping with ferals where we used to live by providing food weekly. It's hard to sleep knowing they might be hungry. I hope it warms up for you soon. Here in Ontario we brace ourselves for a long cold winter ahead.

  6. Deb; I think Ontario winters must be similar to what we experienced for years in Vermont. We don't have snow to go along with the cold here in Kentucky just now, so I hope the deer can find winter grass and such to browse.
    Stray and uncared for animals present a heart-wrenching dilemma. When I was working [in Wyoming before retirement] I often took sacks of kibble to the area Pet Connection or could give a donation. Now I just feed whatever wanders in--and hope they don't stay too long.
    Our cats are all rescues/drop offs--such good companions.