Sunday, January 05, 2014

oh dear...

...those two words are mine today. Understandably so.

Now, the whole country knows that a polar vortex is sweeping masses of frigid air onto us in the next day or two. They say it will be colder in Wisconsin than on Mars and 35 degrees colder than on the North Pole itself.

We're ready for it. I have a full agenda for myself today. An indoor agenda.

First, the disc with the new Photoshop Lightroom 5 (photo editing) program arrived in the mail. I had no illusions that it would be easy to work with. Enough reviewers complained about uploading and file management issues that I was prepared. And I had been reading a 550 page manual for it. From before dawn. Carefully, especially the early chapters on uploading and developing.

Ed was there to help me. For instance, without him, it would have taken me a long time to figure out how to upload a program from a disc onto my littlest computer that does not have a disc drive.

So yes, I know I have to take the time to work with it all. But I had not fully grasped that everything will change now. How my files look, how they're labeled, retrieved. How the photos upload to flickr - my photo storage place of choice.

And so I consider it a huge victory to be able to give you a photo today, one showing you that yes, on this incredibly cold day, we did eat breakfast. I'm typically quite subtle in photo editing -- nothing too far from how I see it in my mind's eye please! -- but for this photo, I pushed the edges a bit. Because truly, just knowing how cold it is outside now made the breakfast meal feel very different. As if we were mere pawns in nature's game, hanging on, but just barely.

farmette winter-12.jpg

It is Sunday and though I did not do a massive farmhouse cleaning, I did a mini one and that included doing a load of laundry. We had had a leak in the basement the last time I used the washer a few days back and Ed was curious if it would repeat itself.

It did.

And then some.

In fact, it wasn't the washer at all that was flooding, it was our good old septic sytstem, clogged again, backing up buckets of waste water! The second time in less than six months!

Clearly we have a rather difficult situation. Yes, our rooter friend (he's becoming a very good friend indeed!) came out and spent more than three hours pushing out willow roots from the pipe, but it merely allowed some water to work its way through. Slowly.

We will need a major inspection of the septic system.

Ed is thinking out loud: I wonder if they can even repair a system in the deep freeze of winter...

That's when the "oh dear" slipped out.

Since the noise of machines and men shouting over them was too big of a distraction for writing, I thought it would be productive to at least do my new workout routines. Maybe with a thirty minute at home yoga class thrown in! How about that!

I have to say that deep breathing was diminished in quality by the somewhat predictable smells wafting from the basement. It did not help that we absolutely cannot open windows when the temperatures are dropping to such terrible lows...

The farmhouse lets us know often enough that she is not an easy mistress, but today she really tested our patience with her old and sometimes bothersome habits. In looking for the bright side, I did note that I had showered before the flooding and I had done a load of laundry. Darks. You'll be seeing a lot of darks on me in the days to come.

In the evening, I reheated the chicken tagine and reflected how good it is that I do not have many dishes to wash. (Our water use is diminished, though not yet completely blocked.)

As the temperature keeps falling tonight, I go back to my Lightroom 5 editing program. I had worked through the publishing issues on my small laptop and now I am attacking them on the tiny laptop that I use for travel. So you do get another photo after all. Of Isis. Who heroically did not complain about the weather (from his perch on the quilty bed, does he even remember there is an outside world?), but did pester us an awful lot about food until I opened another can of pink salmon for him. A spoonful of Trader Joe's canned salmon will put a smile on his face always. I'm thinking -- a cat's take on life is really quite uncomplicated. Refreshingly so.

farmette winter-1.jpg