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You are surely tired of listening to me moan, and I am just as surely tired of having so much to moan about. After all, nobody every said that “life was a bowl of cherries.” You can ponder the meaning of that trite phrase, while I proceed to well, errrr, moan.

Just when you think it can’t get a lot worse, you betcha, it does. I related at least on Facebook that on the way out on the lane, we got stuck on Ash Wednesday, and had to hump our way back to the house, along most of the entire one half mile that we lovingly call our lane.

You would think that that would be enough. You see, nobody really “gets” why we are always claiming that we are “snowed” in. I mean, to most anybody, an inch is hardly a big deal when it comes to snow. But when it is blown across a couple of miles of open field, and suddenly slams into a tree line courtesy of a 25 mph wind, well, it ends up being more like eight for us.

So we called a local fellow, whom the Contrarian has known all his life, and arranged for him to come  over in the morning, and blow the snow elsewhere than the car width we needed to get free of the winter grip. We then enjoyed the evening, watching the Olympics. Famous last word, ENJOY.

I was wakened the next morning to “It’s seven, babe, you better stay in here, the stove is smoking a lot.” I cursed, and brought to mind Dorothy Parker, and got up to investigate the “fresh hell” that awaited. Indeed, a cloud of smoke hung in the living room and into the kitchen. The Contrarian was ensconced in his office with door shut. He looked glum.

“I have no idea what is wrong now, but it won’t stop smoking.” And indeed, it was bursting through the seams of the stove pipe at an alarming rate. Before long, I realized that such could not continue, and I opened the front door, got a floor fan, and started sucking it out into the meadow. That of course, cooled the room significantly since it was all of about 4 degrees outside. Balmy huh?

We finally opened the wickedly mean device, and started hauling out partially embered wood into the ash tray and carting it out and throwing it into the snow, listening to it sizzle. Well, it’s one way to melt snow I guess. Finally, having lost all its combustibles, the smoking stopped.

We waited. I sat at the kitchen table, with a room heater going, and drank coffee, and watched the top of the hill, ready to give the alert when Joe’s blower would send cascades of snow flying through the air. That didn’t happen until nearly 11 am. Then the Contrarian squeezed in beside him, and they returned down to the Bronco and unstuck it. Soon, transportation returned to the house.

A trip to another buddy, and we had an extension ladder and a chimney brush. Steve climbed up and got the cap off the chimney. “Crank it up Parker, get that fire going as hot as you can.” A wide open bedroom window was our means of communication. I stood outside and yelled in “Crank it up Parker”. . . well you get the idea. Soon the smoke was billowing out the chimney, the Contrarian crowed, “she’s drawing like a champ!” Dark smoke poured forth, and the cap, sitting on its side, on top, began to melt creosote which Steven scraped off in chunks.

After a good bit of this, he sent the roto rooter chimney brush down into the belly of the beast. That caused smoking to start again indoors, since the flue was now jammed with lots of soot. Off with the top, and clearing of that, all the while the doors are flung wide once more.

The cats have retreated to an icy cold bedroom, and look utterly ticked off at the whole affair. The dogs find the house finally nice and pleasant for them. I’m wondering why the West was ever settled, since this crap is totally unacceptable to any woman surely. There is a reason the dude said, “Go west, young man.” He did not say, “Go west, young woman.” Women know better. He’d have been hit with a parasol for sure.

Well, eventually, the creosote stopped running, and the stove continued drawing, and the heat exchange between outside and inside started to favor staying indoors for warmth once more. Steve returned home, nobody fell off the roof, and I escaped down the luge track to drive to Center Point, a nearby village. Actually village is too kind, its a sprawly town, with no decent “main street.” But it does have a McDonalds.

After all this fun, I was good for nothing but (hanging head in shame) fast food. So things are normal for the moment. And, wonder of wonders, praise be to God, and kick the can, things are still normal today. It’s warm, its not smokey, and I went shopping.

You see, there is another “inch” predicted tonight, and they are being very coy about the next system coming in Sunday through Monday. I think this is the winter that will never end, but if it does, well, I’m going to shake my fist proudly at having survived the unholy winter of  09/10.  Bragging rights are mine–I may have a t-shirt made.

In the meantime, anyone interested in 80 acres of real estate in Iowa? Fifty prime growin’ land, and thirty in meadow. Just tell yourself that the beauty outweighs the minor inconveniences you might face. Yeah, tell yourself  THAT, please.

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