I went outside today for the first time in four days. In the meantime, it has been spitting icicles, sleet, freezing rain, and something the weather-people refer to cryptically as “ice pellets.”
Yesterday I went out as far as the front porch and threw some ice-melt salt around. Today when I opened the door, I saw with satisfaction that the stairs were all melted, so I went down them to see if I could go out to my car, and perhaps get out down the dirt road that serves me for a driveway and take these stinking bags of trash that have been building up since the storm to the “recycle center” (that means the dump) ten miles away. That is what we have for “garbage pickup” here. You pick up the garbage, put it in your car, drive ten miles, and throw it in the dumpster.
But I digress. When I stepped out onto the level gravel space that serves me for a parking lot, I very nearly fell on my arse, because the top layer of the ice had melted and refrozen. Too bad my ice skates are in my storage building somewhere. So I slid gingerly over to the old wooden shed, reached through the winder (pronounced WIN-der) because the glass is busted outen it, and hauled a fifty pound pag of ice-melt salt out, which had solidified from sitting around in the shed for 20 years more or less. So I reached through the winder again and got a shovel and bashed on the bag of salt for a while, which had the double salutary effect of giving me an outlet for my frustrations and busting up the salt into more or less usable form: smaller chunks, anyway. Then I slid around scattering salt like Mary Poppins throws bird seed, or maybe that was somebody else from some other movie.
What I’m getting around to here, is that with all that exercise I had to go to the bathroom. Everybody does, sometime or other, right? Well there it was, under the big hemlock tree
where I asked the outhouse man to put it after its last adventure, when it fell ass over teakettle down the cliff in the last big wind storm.
I told them last time not to put it so close to the gosh dern cliff. Lucky I was not in it at the time.
Somehow they managed to rescue it and clean it up, and put it right there under the tree, nice and handy. I had not had occasion to use it since its adventure, and now seemed a perfect time, the sun shining and all. So I opened the door and was pleased to see how very clean he had managed to make it. He had left the lid closed, so I opened it and looked down.
The bright blue disinfectant fluid was frozen solid. I was surprised. I though they made that stuff with antifreeze or something, for just this sort of occasion, when it’s been colder than a well-digger’s arse out there, and maybe the well-digger has to use the bathroom.
So I though, nah, impossible, and got the stir-stick out from under the stairs. That’s right, the stir-stick. That’s the stick I use to stir the, well, you know, when it gets too full in there, like if I’ve had workmen building something or, well never mind. Anyway, I stuck the stir-stick in there just to see if maybe it was just the top layer that was frozen, like a skin or something; but no. Frozen solid, looked like all the way down.
Big deal, right? Makes sense. Temperatures hovering around the zero Fahrenheit mark for a few days, why not?
Well, it’s a good thing I have the Amazing Electric Toilet, that I have written about in a previous post. But now I’m nervous, because the whole point of the Pesky Outhouse is that it’s supposed to be a backup form of toilet-ness in case of power outage. But now I see a couple of problems: one is the ice, which is the most likely cause for power outages around here, building up as it does on trees, which then fall on power lines (you should see it some time: the transformers go up with a POW and lots of fireworks). The ice would prevent me from getting to the damn thing in the first place, unless I wanted to get there sliding on my bum. And then once I got there, there’s this issue of, you know. The ice inside, as well as outside.