Friday, January 9, 2009

Home Alone

When I realized that Jerry was taking Allison down to Long Island for her weekend, and that I would be staying here holding down the fort with the dogs, I began to feel a growing sense of unease and discomfort. All of a sudden, I was Laura Ingalls and Pa was taking the wagon into town for a few days. Of course, this is ridiculous. I am fully capable of staying home alone for approximately eight hours, but this may be the time limit to which I will allow myself. ever. This only applies to wintertime, as summer survival is a piece of cake. No heat, no indoor fires, no freezing in the elements, no problem. I can handle that easily. I've been camping with the kids for enough years to know how to get by in the elements in the summer. I was a girl scout. Better yet, a girl scout LEADER. I could lead a troop in the summertime. Winter, however, is a whole different ballgame. All of a sudden the possibilities for disaster are threatening at every turn. The pellet stove is humming along nicely and I am toasty warm, but what happens if the power goes out? The pellet stove shuts down will only run on the generator. The wood burning cook stove will suffice for overnight, but I always get a little nervous when there is a fire in the house anywhere, and I get incredibly nervous when there is a fire in the house and I am the only one home. Call it trauma flashback, but I once almost set my parents house on fire just overseeing oil heating on the stove for dinner. It was a simple fix and a quick solution, by my panic response elevated the whole thing to physical injury and property damage. But that is a story for another day. To say that I am fearful of fire is to say that bears like honey. duh. But here I sit, the sole caretaker of this little house on the prairie (mountain, farm, whatever. . . ) while Jerry, Allison and Dan (who just went for the fun of an eight hour round trip-God bless him!) drive up and down the northeast via the New York State thruway. I took Jake and Daphne for a walk a while ago (the second such venture outdoors since I have been alone here) and the possibilities for disaster were lurking at every turn. The coyotes, the ice. It is so beautiful outside at night, but only when you are holding your honey's hand and he will pick you up off the ice when you fall down. Standing out there alone, keeping one eye on Jake and one eye on my back is frightening. I will admit it now. I am a winter coward. Let's face it, it doesn't get dark in the summertime until after 9 PM. So being alone here means sitting out on the back deck and watching the sun go down. The bats don't want to come in in the summer. They are outside flitting around and eating millions of bugs. I am sitting here in a house that has had a few bat visits this winter, and I am all alone. This is not a good situation. I do know where the pizza peal is, but I'm not prepared to be carted off to jail simply for whacking an endangered species. I can get out of here faster than he can. Of that I am sure. But the only get-away vehicle I have available to me is the truck with the plow on it. And I don't know how to lift the plow up to move the vehicle, so my only recourse is to run around in circles screaming that "there' a bat in the house, there's a bat in the house"! And the beauty of living out here in no-man's land is that no man can hear you. Sometimes that's nice. This time, it's bad. I would want to be heard under these circumstances. Cell phone service is out of the question. It is another convenience that we have enjoyed in its absence so far. I like the fact that people have to call via the landline. It's not an afterthought while someone is driving to the grocery. But right about now, I would love to be someone's afterthought. So essentially I have spent most of the day knitting and watching the clock, mentally guaging where in the trip they are, and how soon they will be home. Jake and Daphne have been unusually attentive to me. I think they are wondering whether or not I am "It", their best hope in an emergency. They are also probably mentally assessing how the heck they will get out of here with me leading the way. I like to think they have more confidence in me, but I don't think they do. I don't seem to instill confidence in the dogs. Or why would Daphne be yelling at me all the time? Then again, when I think back to the things in my life that I have really met face on, I do begin to feel somewhat superior to this situation. If the bat(s) were to arrive, I would just throw a towel over it and carry the towel outside. That is what I have heard you should do. The doors are all locked so nothing can get in. Safe there. The dogs have been walked, so falling on the ice is out of the question, I don't have to go out again. So far, this whole day has gone pretty well. Clearly, I am in control of this situation and when Pa (I mean Jerry) gets back I will have met my first real challenge here in the northwoods. I have a flashlight by my side. I can handle anything.
Oh well, Good night. It will go faster if I just go to bed.

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