Grit Blogs > Of Mice and Mountain Men

Simple Pleasures Often Overlooked

A photo of Allan DouglasIt is often the little things in life, the things we tend to take for granted, that will make you sit up and take notice when they are no longer there. We flip a switch and a room lights up, we turn a knob and water flows, we twist a key and transportation is available to go most anywhere we desire.

But when the engine doesn’t start, or no water flows, or the room remains dark, is when we realize how much we have come to depend on these little “conveniences.” Not all at once though … a brief power outage is a mere inconvenience, but extended power loss will teach you how much you rely on electricity.

When my wife and I got up on Thursday morning, we found we were without water: most likely the bitter cold had frozen a line somewhere. I found I had no water in the workshop either, and Mom was waterless as well. There is a point where the water line comes up out of the ground under the workshop to connect to the pressure tank that feeds well-water to all three buildings. I considered this to be the most likely freeze-point that would affect all three buildings. There is no heat tape on this because it is a strange, Rube Goldberg-like assemblage of assorted plumbing. I reasoned that if I were to inject heat into that area, the pipes may thaw out. A light bulb might do.

I went looking for some sort of portable lamp that had an incandescent bulb in it. It was a longer search than one would think because nearly all of my lights have been converted to CFL bulbs: those give off no heat and would be useless for this task. Finally, in the back of a closet in the workshop, I found a pair on small interior spotlights that Marie had bought at a garage sale some years ago. They were intended to provide illumination above the desk in my office but were never installed. One had a spotlight in it. Would it work? I plugged it into an outlet and pinched the roller switch: it lit up! I grabbed a 50-foot extension cord and headed outside.

150221 Shop Hatch

There is a hatch in the skirting under the mobile home that serves as my workshop that gives easy access to the plumbing in question. This is good, for “things” live down there: the dogs hear them scurrying about and are fascinated. I know the shop has a problem with mice, I keep D-Con packs in strategic places to deal with them. Once in a while I am in the yard and hear a “thump” as something bangs into the metal skirting from inside. I imagine a pair of young possum wrestling down there, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I have caught Copperheads crawling out from under there as well.  All manner of things *could* be down there and the last thing I want is to crawl in there and slither about in that tight, dark cavern.  Reaching in through a hatch is much more to my liking.

The story continues ...

Part 3 of Simple Pleasures