Friday, November 8, 2019

Things That Happen

Jax and I are getting in a hike or two every day but shorter than usual. Michelle has only averaged about a week a month here but that has helped some in the cleaning. She's packing up for a permanent move to Colorado so it's just me again and Jax's fate is unknown.
The Day Time Fox still visits every day. When I hear the predator warning of the white-tailed antelope squirrel Jax and I each walk outside to see if it's Sharp-shinned hawk or the Gray fox. Danny Boy came by doing the Hayduke Trail. I mentioned it was pretty late in the year to be caught in the Grand Canyon in winter when he gets toward the end and he said he was just doing a portion of it.
The time is coming to take Kobae back to San Diego for the winter so have to get everything winterized so whoever watches the place for me for the few days I'm delivering Kobae doesn't have any disasters related to cold weather. I have a lot of the Mr. Heater (Buddy) propane heaters which have been very dependable. This time of year I haul them all out and put them in the living room and while I'm watching dvd or tv, hook them all up to the same propane tank and hose and check them to see if they work. If they do and later don't in a room then I know it's the hose or tank to that room. Three or four years ago I had one that would go out if I turned it past the pilot light so I took that heater and a hose and tank to the pump house down the driveway and if I see cold weather coming I turn it on pilot and leave it. One small tank of propane on pilot light will heat that room up to keep the pump from freeing for almost a month without turning it off.

About a month ago I filled the pond at the main house and the pump that is by the boat house has a hose on top so while it's pumping water into the pond I can also pump water into a tank in the back of the truck to fill up the cisterns at the lodge. I expected the normal October monsoon rains that use to fill up the driveway a couple times each October to give me enough water to make it through the winter but they never came this year so I'm doing it again.

Hiking toward Land of the Skinny People I look over at Hole #13 on the original course and it's still weird not seeing the balanced rock that dominated the bowl area. I think one other balanced rock fell out back of Last Hurrah earlier this year or perhaps over the last winter. In the second picture there is one missing on the left side of the picture.

Since the day I posted what a good year it has been all kinds of equipment failure and the like began happening within hours. If I decide to get a different life someday I think I'd be a good announcer at baseball games talking about a no-hitter in the late innings.

During the three days temps dropped to 10 or so at night I broke a water hose going to the cooler on the garage, flooded the roof, drained all the water out of the tank, the roof froze with a six inch high ice rink, and then when the water ran out the pump kept pumping, got hot and shut down. So I couldn't do laundry in the big garage. A pipe broke under the lodge while I was sleeping and flooded the crawl space and the constant demand for water kept the well pump going which used up a lot of the solar batteries and since it was so cold guests were using the electric heaters and at 5am the batteries got low and the generator was suppose to kick on but since the generator hadn't had a reason to come on since summer the battery was dead and all power went out in the lodge.

I took the truck and jumped the generator battery but had to turn the power off at the well pump and close off the water so no water. Guests were mostly checked out so it wasn't a major inconvenience but during busier times it could have been. Calling all the plumbing companies in town everybody was deer hunting and for four days there was no water. I used the fresh water drinking containers to flush toilets for campers and the like.

A couple of disc golfers who said they dabbled in plumbing went into the crawl space, found the leak got it partially plugged but couldn't fix the copper to plastic T that had broken. Eventually a plumbing company came out, fixed the leak, I tried the sink which is where the leak broke and it worked. They left. It wasn't until the nest day cleaning rooms that I found out there was still no water to the back four rooms. It means that someone where underneath there's a shut off value to the back of the lodge. I crawled under there with a headlamp and plugged in some lights that have been there forever and crawled down toward the former leak. There is so much insulation hanging down from where skunks, ringtails, and maybe a raccoon or two are living that it was hard to see very far in any direction. I did see the mother skunk sleeping in the insulation and when she saw it was me she stood up, did a 360 and laid back down to sleep. I couldn't find the shut off valve.

This is Steven at Riverside Plumbing who usually comes out for property plumbing issues and winterization. He's going to find the shut off valve. And it went kind of like this.....
Steven: I might need you to come under with me.
Me: I don't want to. I nearly threw up last time.
Steven: Two sets of eyes are better.
Me: My eyes didn't find the shut off valve. That's why you're here.
Steven: You said there are skunks and other animals under there and you've been feeding them for years.
Me: So.
Steven: I don't want to get sprayed.
Me: You have a mask and stuff. You're prepared and you get paid to drop into crawl spaces.
Steven: If I see movement or some of your friends and they're by the shut off value you'll have to come talk to them and calm them down.
Me: Don't be a pussy.

Five minutes later Steven under the lodge.

Steven: I see movement. I see one skunk in the insulation above where the water break was and another one up against the south wall that looks scared.
Me: I'm not coming under.
Steven: I don't see the shut off valve. I need you to crawl down the other side to see if you can find it over there.
Me: Pussy.
Steven: It's your lodge.

Five minutes later both of us under the lodge. Assume everything I say was in a high pitched friendly as possible voice, because it was.

Steven (shining his light): There's the skunk up against the wall. He looks scared and he's turning away from us.
Me: Hi babies. Please don't spray. I've been feeding you for years and I need you to trust me for just a few more minutes.
Steven (shining his light): There's the one up in the insulation.
Me: Hi mama. Keep everybody under control. We've known each other a long time. Let them know everything is ok.
Steven: (shining his light): There's another skunk a little further to the east.
Me: Hi baby. I'll leave extra hot dogs tonight.
Steven (shining his light): There's the shut off value. The yellow handle hanging down over by the mother skunk. I'm not going over there. I don't know them.
Me: You're tall. You can reach it without getting very close. I have to crawl right under the mother.
Steven: I'm not going.
Me: Pussy.
Steven: (shining his light) What's that?
Me: (crawling toward the shut off value) That's another skunk's ass sticking out the end of the insulation. That's his butt, facing towards me, right next to the shut off value. It's twitching. The owner of the ass twitching is nervous.
Steven: Good luck.
Me: (crawling toward the shut off valve) Hi kids. Everybody calm down. We're all friends here. Let's keep it that way. Everybody be nice.

As I was speaking to the family I kept staring at the ass facing me and about a foot from the shut off valve. The butt hole seemed to be mimicking my every word. If I would say a word with O in it the butt hole would start to get wider. I stuck my arm out to reach for the shut off valve. If the butt sprayed I was going to be eye level about 30 inches away. I'd lose all sense of where I was and be blind trying to crawl out through the piles of insulation and scat.

Me: Don't abandon me if things go south.
Steven: I got you.
Me: (reaching up for the valve) Big moment in our relationship everyone. Stay calm, it's almost over. Set the example mama.

I got my fingers on it but couldn't force the lever up so it was one more belly crawl.

Me: Ok everybody. Here goes.
Steven: I hear water. Your water is back.

As I was belly crawling back. I could hear Steven going around from room to room above me checking for water. I got to the hole and fresh air barely able to keep from throwing up all the insulation I had breathed in. Above me I could hear Steven saying "I'll remember this one for a long time."

Steven spent the next couple hours going around winterizing the rest of the property and fixing the leak on the garage roof and getting the water going everywhere. He swung back by the lodge before heading to town and we talked for a couple minutes. Steven had a smile on his face the whole time like he had just escaped a close call with sensory death. It was true, he had.

No comments: