The Chocolate Lady

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Winter Wonderfland, Part 4

We were all in good spirits as we drove away from our cabin. We went down the path, over the damn and soon were out on larger streets, and on to the main highway.

The Lake Arrowhead Village was just 2 miles away. I was careful to drive without swerving, as Pooper was still feeling nauseated a bit. Actually, more than a bit, because within a mile, he needed to throw up again, and again, and again.

Thankfully, we found the world's greatest restaurant (I guess that's how most restaurants would seem in our situation, but this truly was delicious) and there was no waiting time (a miracle on this holiday weekend!) Our table had a lake view, and, with the exception of Pooper's frequent trips to the bathroom, we really enjoyed our time.

We were joking with the hostess and waitress, that we had really worked up an appetite chipping away at our packed snow for the past few hours. They looked puzzled, and asked a few questions. When they had figured out that we had rented this cabin for the weekend, and had spent the better part of the afternoon trying to remove enough snow to get inside, they looked disgusted.

"When people rent out their cabins, they are supposed to have all the clearing done before you arrive." Said the cute gal, rolling her eyes.

"Yeah, there are services that do that for the rentals, it's pretty standard." echoed the waitress assuredly.

Hmmm....I guess that would have been nice, but, oh well, maybe they dont rent it out much or something.

After dinner, we stopped at the supermarket and still feeling optimistic about the grand weekend we were about to have, I let every kid pick their own snack item....

"Whatever you want, this is vacation, and having whatever yummy snacks you want is what vacations are all about!" the kids looked surprised, that the mom that rarely even lets them have juice (high sugar content) would let them have open reign on snacks.

Pooper went off the deep end (sarcasm) and picked microwave popcorn (clearly a Grandma J influence)...I mean, can you imagine, being able to have ANYTHING and picking popcorn? I dont really care much for popcorn myself, not that I dont like it, and Ill certainly eat it out of boredom, but, at least to me, it's sort of like chewing on cardboard, or rice cakes, not my first choice.

Beauty was fickle, so I helped direct her to the Hostess aisle, and then went on and on about how scrumptious Ding Dongs are...and she took the bait! Ding Dongs in the house!

My Honey got some peanut butter crunch bar thingys....and myself, well, in an unconscious act of foreshadowing, I selected some ice cream bon-bons. That's right, my snack was FREEZING!

We got some basics for the weekend, cereal, fruit, milk, and firewood, because, it's mountain living, where we burn real wood in our fireplaces.

We journeyed back home, and everyone was excited to get inside the warm cabin.
I dont need to rehash the rigomoral it took to get us all into the cabin...but eventually we did it.

We got inside, took off our icey shoes and I noticed that, it was still pretty chilly, and as I marched on over to the thermostat, I was perplexed to see that it read 55 degrees. Fifty Five, as in 5-5, as in VERY DANG COLD.

Just as the frigid conditions were registering in my mind, My Honey hollered out,

"Hey, we dont have any hot water, something wrong with the water heater because the water is ice cold."

I pulled out the detailed email from the cabin owner, and went over (and over and over) his instructions re: the thermostat, the water, etc. We were to turn on the thermostat (check) and (I quote) "it should take about an hour to warm up" (NOT CHECK). Turn the water on, using the wrench a 90 degree turn (check), turn on the downstairs bathroom to make sure the water is on (check).

There was no mention of a water heater.

I decided to give the trusty landlord a call. It was 7:30pm, not too late, and perhaps he had some helpful hints re: getting the water to warm up, and oh , yeah, how to get the heater to work!

I left him an upbeat message, and waited for him to call back.

I helped the kids get into their PJ's, which ended up being layers upon layers of thermals, leggings, sweats, etc.

My Honey and I tried to keep the mood positive, for the kids.....we all wrapped up in blankets and comforters, hoping they would warm us up - in addition to our layered jammies, and ate our snacks, with a great big blazing fire in the fireplace (which, by the way, did nothing to ease the chill)....and within the hour, the kids were asleep.

We werent sure that Little One would even be safe sleeping in this cold. I had brought a pack N play for her to sleep in, and My Honey and I found some blankets on an extra bed, and wrapped them around the sides of the pack N play, hoping to cut down on the chill, insulate her a bit, without causing SIDS or something......

And then My Honey and I continued to shiver, our moods turning to frustration and annoyance....but still hopeful that things would work out, once the landlord called to tell us how to correct these issues, but perturbed that he hadnt bother to call us back.

As time passed, we tried to distract ourselves watching television, but it didnt work, we were still unbearably cold. So, we decided to go try ONE LAST TIME to see if we could warm the place up.

My Honey and I could hear the "blower" of the heater, but there was no air coming through the vents. With a flash light in hand, we hunted around for the water heater and air system. Both were located in a closet area, located off the bathroom.

Now, My Honey has a lot of strengths, but, to be perfectly honest, being a Handy Man isnt at the top of his "strengths list"....Im not sure if it's even on that list at all, but if it is, it's at the bottom, right next to "great disco dancer" and "creative scrapbooker"'s just not his thing. In his defense, it probably COULD be his thing, I mean, he is smart enough, but he apparently has never been interested enough to make being Mr. Fix-It a part of his portfolio.

We are both staring at the water heater, looking for the pilot light, which we cant see, because it isnt lit. The system has an "electric ignition" so, it couldnt be lit with a match. We each read and reread and read to each other and read to ourselves, the directions on lighting the water heater. We tried to ignite it, and it just wouldnt work. HMPH!

The other heating system, as in the system that is SUPPOSED TO blow hot air into the house, sounded like it was blowing, but we couldnt feel any air coming out of the vents. We poked around the heater, and really had no clue...nothing was obvious to us, so we had to wait for the landlord to call and give us some direction on how to get it working.

As we retired to our room, I thought it best to close the bedroom door, because;

1. maybe our breath (and My Honey's gas) would get trapped in and help keep us warm.
2. every door and window seemed to have a 1/2 inch gap, and I didnt want to let any more cold air draft into the room.

My Honey, on the other hand, was not comfortable with the door closed, as he wanted to be able to hear the kids. They were all in the room right across the hall, and we kept their door closed (for the reasons I mentioned above) but he wasnt certain we could hear them in the middle of the night if both doors were closed.

As we slid into the sheets, we both gasped, as it was like sliding across a frosty, frozen, pond. As we huddled under the covers, moving our legs to try to create some warmth against the sheets, My Honey began to worry aloud;

"If the heating system is blowing, but there is no air coming in, THAT WE KNOW OF, I wonder what is blowing and if it's carbon monoxide, because you cant smell Carbon Monoxide and Im wondering if that is blowing into the rooms."

Great...that's all I need, is paranoia!

I tried to counter his fears;

"We've been here for a few hours now, wouldnt we be dead, or at least a bit woozy by now? And, what creates carbon monoxide? Does it come from regular heaters? Doesnt it have to be some old fashioned heater?"

He was serious, worried, "I dont know."

Well, there was just no way either one of us was going to sleep. If the freezing air didnt keep us awake all night, the thoughts of our kids suffocating from the noxious gases that might be leaking from the heater would keep our minds from getting any rest.

So, I decided we should call the Fire Dept. to allay our fears. But, I had no phone number for the Fire Dept, and was too cold to search the house for a phone book, I could barely move!!

I called 911, and quickly let them no this was NOT AN EMERGENCY, but I needed the NON-Emergency number to the Fire Dept.

They switched me to the EMERGENCY number of the Fire Dept....which made me nervous, because I feel as if I need to talk real fast, or I might be tying up the line when someone else had a real emergency (I know, they probably have more than one line, but anyways...)

I explained our plight, and the Fireman gave me told me I would have to call a different number, which he gave me. I began repeating it in my head, as I hung up the phone, and began to dial the number...AND THEN THE PHONE RANG.....AND THEN THE PERSON THAT CALLED HUNG UP.

I was certain it was the landlord, finally calling (near midnight now) because he felt awful that we were freezing and feared the liability of frozen people in his, I dialed *69 to see who had called. And it was nobody, and in the meantime, I forgot the NON EMERGENCY number to the fire dept.

GREAT! Now what?

My only option was to call 911 again, and risk being in big trouble for abusing the emergency service, and also feel like a dork for not writing down the number (no pen handy, and I wasnt about to leave the bed to go find one.) So, I called again.

Embarassed, I got the number a second time, and called. And, guess what, the same guy that answered the emergency number, is the guy that answers the non-emergency number.

I pretended I didnt notice, and gave him the whole story again; renting a cabin, we can hear the heater blowing, but no hot air, is there a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?

his answer: I dont know.

my response: Well, does a heater emit carbon monoxide? would that be possible?

his answer: I dont know.

my response: what types of appliances pose a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning?

his answer: it depends. We would need to look at the unit.

My response: ok, thanks.

I would almost rather freeze to death than have fire engines come roaring down this narrow road, lights a'flashing, up the icey stairs to check out the heater (not really, but...)... I mean, this had all gone too far.

So, I convinced myself that if there were a danger, we would have already died, and if not, and we were all dead in the morning, at least it would be peaceful and we would all be together, and the stupid landlord would be in big trouble and have to live with the guilt of freezing us to death for the rest of his life!


Leeann said...

Good Gosh, this is QUITE the vacation! I have no idea how this is going to end but I do hope that you have gotten some sort of credit on the fee you paid for the cabin!
I can hardly wait to read the next installation!


Anonymous said...

lololololollool your life needs to be a weekly sitcom.