Friday, April 10, 2015

Mission Impossible

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm up and getting ready for the day when I hear a low-flying plane. It must be Dave. I rush downstairs and get my boots and coat. I'm outside in time to hear him swing around and then there he is. I wave up at him. He slows and I see an orange, fluttering flash as the package drops. Then he's gone over the mountains. Thanks, Dave.

Before he and Loring came out a week or so ago he asked if there was anything I needed and I requested a resupply of my favorite pen. Which foolishly and surprisingly I hadn’t packed enough of. He hadn't had the chance to shop for one before they came and had promised to airdrop it later. Mostly because air drops are fun for him. I didn't protest.

I go search for my pens. It's a small package, but it's bright orange. How hard can it be to find? I hope not too hard. I find it in Kinky Creek. Lucky for me, the Creek has a thin layer of ice and the package has landed right next to a bridge. I reach down and suddenly I have four new pens.

Then I get on to the usual morning things. Porgy emails and asks if I'll go look at the PVC pipe in the barn up at Industrial Park so he’ll know what size to get in order to repair the Tame Hydro’s line in the spring.

He says, "Anyway, your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be to obtain all of the printed information on the 8" pipe and electronically send it to me. As per standard guidelines and protocol, this message will self destruct in ten seconds."

So of course I'm humming the tune to Mission Impossible.

I post a blog. Eat a three egg omelet and then go up to the barn. The snow is hard enough that I can walk over it in just my boots. The cat comes along. I tell her it's a long way, but she doesn't care. She likes Impossible Missions. Her hackles are up the whole time and she's on high alert, but she goes the whole way with me.

At the barn, I take pictures of the specs on the pipe and then the cat and I go back to the lodge. Mission accomplished.

I work more of the puzzle.

Michaela calls.

I talk to my mom.

I talk to my grandmother.

It's snowing. I'm happy. It's a dusting, but it's something. I go out and catch some snowflakes on my tongue. Feel the snow falling on my face.

I finish the puzzle.

At seven o'clock, I go out and record the weather. 0.02 inches of precipitation.

I write.

I watch a show, drink a glass of wine, eat some potato chips, and have a few squares of chocolate. Tonight, the potato chips are too greasy and the chocolate too sweet.

When I’m all tucked into bed, I start the very last book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. After a chapter or two it's lights out.

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's overcast and chilly. I wouldn't mind more snow. But these clouds seem stingy. A few tiny flurries are falling when the cat and I go check that the bulk charge is running and then stand on the Wild Hydro pit’s roof to scan the willows and see what the world is doing. There are two geese foraging at the river bank. There's a duck in Kinky Creek.

I get my coffee and work my crossword. Then it begins to snow in earnest. I settle in and write. The morning is spent making things up and watching the snow.

After a couple hours, tired of sitting, I decide to go ski in the falling snow. As I head out, the storm passes and the sky though moody with clouds clears up enough to let the sun peek through.

I ski up to the main road gate. It's slower going in the sticky new snow. A red tailed hawk circles over me. Trying to decide what I am and if I'm a potential food source. After a few rounds he flies off. I hear his keening call from over the next stand of trees.

I make it all the way to the top and I make it all the way back down.

I sit with the cat for moment when I get back.

Then I take a bath. Wash my hair. The phone rings while I'm in the tub. Whoever it is will hopefully call again if it's important.

I talk to my grandmother.

I fix up some tuna for dinner and eat an apple for a snack.

Michaela calls.

I eat my dinner. Another snowstorm blows in. It leaves a fair dusting in just an hour. I clean up the dishes. It's nearly time to record the weather.

I think I see my first ground squirrel sighting. A small hunched over dark spot in the east field. For me, ground squirrels, even more than robins, signal the beginning of spring out here.

I record the weather. 0.1 of an inch accumulation on the snowboard. 0.06 inches of precipitation.

I write some more. My character gets injected with sodium thiopental—truth serum. Shit’s about to get real.

I drink a couple glasses of wine. I watch a show. Then I close things down and head upstairs.

I'm brushing my teeth when I hear a scratching sound. I look to my left and see a mouse in the tub. I admit I make what might have been a shriek if I hadn't had a toothbrush in my mouth. The little guy is stuck. The rounded slopes of the tub walls give him nothing to grasp and climb. He's scared. "I'm sorry, little dude."

So I promptly go downstairs and get equipment. First my camera. I finally have a chance for some close-up shots. While I'm down there, I grab a wide mouthed container and a laminated sign.
I get my pictures and then I capture the mouse under the tall container. I slide the laminated sheet under his feet and lift it all up. I take him outside and tell him I'm sorry as I set him free. I hope he won't freeze to death, while I also hope he won't come back inside. Yeah right.

Good luck, mouse.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, April 9, 2015

I'm doing the morning things when I notice two coyotes in the field. One is digging for rodent snacks and the other is sitting and watching. I take my camera and the cat’s fresh water and go to the porch. I try to be as quiet as possible. But I'm not quiet enough. The sitting coyote is skittish and runs off. Soon the other follows.

There's a passel of ducks in the river.

The mouse tracks in the snow seemed to indicate that my mouse friend from last night took refuge under the porch. I'm sure it'll end up in the lodge again (it’s probably already back in its little home in the roof), but for a while I can pretend that I'm one mouse less.

I eat scrambled eggs and pan fried potatoes for breakfast. I wash up the dishes.

I go upstairs meaning to collect the trash and end up cleaning both bathrooms, dusting, sweeping the entire lodge, and mopping up all the mud I've managed to track around since the last time I mopped.

Then I take out the trash, burned the burnable trash, refill the diesel dust bucket, bring in wood. It's nice to have all that done.

I'm working at my computer when I hear a strange guttural bark. Like an animal needs to clear its throat or something. At first I think it's the cat having some sort of attack. Then it goes on, some yipping and some official barking. It's got to be a coyote. I stand up and look out the window, in the direction of the sound, but as of yet I see nothing. The sound continues, barking, yipping, a mournful call. And then I see her standing against the reeds in the west field. As if she's calling for her lost friend. I wonder if the two coyotes have been separated. Or if this one is just expressing herself. I watch her until she lopes out of sight.

The phone rings. I pick it up and a voice says, "Hi, this is Chris, a contractor that works with Greg. I need to ask you a question. Is your refrigerator running?"

I know that prank. But I don't recognize the voice. And I'm thrown off by the reference to Karen's husband Greg. So I laugh. "Are you asking because if it is running you'll tell me to go chase it then?" I ask.

He admits to that.

"So who is calling?" I ask.

"I'll just wait here and let you figure out who this is," he says.

At first I think it might be one of the owners’ sons. Or Dave, the electrician and pilot. It's not Porgy. It's not Loring. It might be my brother Phinehas. He's not one to miss out on a good prank.

"So how's it going out there?" the voice asks. And it’s then, with the intonation of his voice, that I first suspect it’s my brother Noah.

Hesitantly, and with a bit of laughter to mask a possible mistake in guessing, I say, "Is this Noah?"

Eventually, he admits to it and we chat for a little while. It took me way too long to recognize his voice. This is why you should talk to your brothers more often, I suppose. I'm glad he called. It's been a long time since we talked. I tell him about the coyotes and the mouse. He tells me about his late summer plans for getting an apartment.

I catch up on some things online. I take a walk around outside. The cat has been in the roof all day. Probably freaked out by the coyotes and the strong wind that has been blowing all day long. When I'm just about to go inside she comes down. I sit with her for a while. She purrs, but she’s still on alert. When I'm gone she disappears again.

I cut up a head of cauliflower and season it with olive oil and spices. I eat half of it.

I call my grandmother.

I sit down to write and the computer shuts off. When it comes back on, I run a disk defrag and clean out some space. Don't fail me now, computer.

I eat tuna and an apple for dinner.

At seven o'clock, I record the weather. At 7:30, it starts snowing. There have been intermittent storms all day long.

I finally get some actual writing in.

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