Our running water died before the power went out. The two weren’t entirely unrelated. The snowstorm took out the lines, and then our pipes (which hadn’t been winterized properly) froze and then burst.
Prior to moving to Queenstown, we lived in a tiny strawbale solar-powered cottage in Knowlesville, NB. There, we collected drinking water from the hand-pump several yards away from the house, outside, and we often sat and read by candlelight when it was too cloudy for our solar-panels to charge…I will freely admit to loving the incredible luxury that is having a refrigerator.
In Knowlesville, we did have a washing machine, and we hung our clothes to dry. Here in Queenstown, there are no laundry facilities. I wash what I can by hand, and I do a weekly trip to a laundromat, and then I bring all the wet clothes back home in garbage bags and hang them up by the fire. Unfortunately, our plumbing system is so rudimentary, and our house is so small, that it would cost quite a bit of money to renovate to accommodate a washing machine. Some day. Some days (the past few days) I wonder if we have made a lateral move…
After the running water quit and the power went out on account of the storm, I packed the three kids in my breakdown car, and headed off to Fredericton, through the snow. I had yet another appointment to get the car fixed, and so off we went. On the highway right before the city, the car started to smell, and then I lost power, and then there was an explosion, and the car died. I steered over to the side of the highway, and into a huge snowbank, as the hood spewed black smoke, and then I scrambled to get Felix out of the car while yelling for Horus to unbuckle himself and drag Treva out as well.
We sat, stunned, in the snowbank for just a minute or two before an SUV pulled up, and a woman got out and insisted that we get into her car. I protested, saying, No no! Thank you anyway! So kind of you! We’re just fine! and then immediately realized how ridiculous this was, and we all piled in. I called the garage and asked them to please organize for our car to get towed, and then the woman told me I would take her wherever we needed to go. I said, Well…The mall? I wasn’t really sure where else to go in the freezing cold, with the three kids who hadn’t eaten lunch. We started driving, and making small talk, and I joked about our tough day: no water! no power! no wheels! and then one thing led to another, and we were being ushered into the woman’s beautiful home where the kids and I had a luxurious bath, and then a meal, and then after a few hours visiting, we were driven back into Fredericton.
What a poignant experience of the kind of generosity and love that Christmas is about. Somehow, our day did end up working out. Lee drove the truck out to Fredericton to pick us up, and we just made it to the Buddhist centre in Fredericton for their beautiful Solstice Children’s ceremony, which we attend every year.
Today, we’re driving to Carleton County to celebrate Treva’s 90-something birthday. Yes–that’s big Treva (who is tiny, by the way), and our little girl’s namesake.
So many blessings.