Snow doesn't come to western Oregon often. It's more likely to appear as rain or flurries. But this year we've been struck with the first of what the forecasters are saying are a series of storms that will accompany the cold air that has dropped from up north. For some of you folks in northern climes in the US this may not seem much but for Oregonians it's an event and we aren't as prepared for it as we could be. Besides, the stuff has so much moisture it turns to ice almost immediately so it's treacherous around here.
The concerts Confluence put on went well and despite the weather were well attended. When word of the coming snowstorm was confirmed most of our group who lived in Portland planned on returning as soon as possible Sunday night from Corvallis, which is normally a drive of a little less than 2 hours. Because of accidents and tie ups on the freeway, most folks didn't get home until after midnight. Emails telling their tales of sitting in stranded cars went out from their phones. The snow had started falling in earnest around 6 pm while we were taking down the risers and cleaning up the place in preparation for our Christmas party. By the time I headed out with my friends Sam and Clark to stay the night with them, there were a few inches on the ground and blowing wind.
Sam rode with me on the way to the house, for their house was in the hills over Albany and they knew the back roads well enough to know which had the least elevation. I hadn't driven in a snow storm at night before but knew enough to just go slow and steady in low gear. The Bright Red Bug with her new shoes took the challenge gallantly. We got to the house without any problems and settled in for a long winter's snooze.
The next day I hoped that the roads were more clear and for the most part the main highways were. But all the side roads and lesser traveled streets were glazed with ice. After a bit of a struggle to get my chains on my tires, Sam and Clark sent me on my way with a belly full of blueberry pancakes and bacon. The chains worked well on the ice so I was able to get to the highway without any problem. About halfway into the journey, however, I noticed there was extra noise coming from the chains. At first I thought it was that they had somehow shifted and gotten loose, but I learned later on that my driving on the pavement too fast with them broke a few of the links on the crossbars so they were banging on my wheelwells. It reminded me of a story Mom told of coming back from the beach with a station wagon full of hungry tired kids and Dad and crossing over the coastal mountains in the snow. They had one chain set with a loose string and it would go BANG BANG BANG on the fender. So I crawled my way home, banging away.
Four and a half hours after I left I got home, exhausted and ready to call it a night. I walked in the door to be greeted by the cats letting me know how hungry they were and why the heck I didn't leave more food for them and just where the hell was I all these hours. Then I noticed that the house wasn't very warm. When I checked the thermostat, sure enough there wasn't any heat. My furnace was on the fritz.
On Saturday after I had run some errands I noticed that the heat wasn't on and found that something in the furnace had indeed tripped an error code. The thought of having no heat in the house while I was gone was not a good one, so I called the furnace repair with hopes that they would be able to fix it in time for me to be able to get to concert in Salem. They did and I left with the confidence that my children and pipes would be warm. So when I came home to the house being chilled I wasn't happy. Not so much that the furnace didn't get fixed but the prospect of having to figure out how to pay for the repairman. It would work out, I figured, and called them again this morning. Sure, they said, we'll be over. I explained to the bookkeeper my situation and she said she'd work things out with me. So they came over, tried again to figure out what was tripping the furnace's brain, then left with my house thawing out. It was nice to come home to find the house nice and warm.
So more snow is forecast for tomorrow and the weekend. As long as the power doesn't go out, I think I'll be fine. Otherwise, I'll be shoving the piano away from the fireplace and burning my recycling.