Monday, February 14, 2005

The cold...the's winter!

As I talked to my sister-in-law a few weeks ago, I lamented the vicious cold snap we'd been suffering up here in Stowe. Temps fell into the -20's for days on end, and the pipes in Room 1 were frozen solid. I told her this in astonishment. She politely waited for me to finish, then reminded me that every January the temps plunged into the sub-zero range, and every January the pipes in Room 1 froze.
She was on to something.
Our seasons in Stowe are so intense that we easily forget what happened just a few months ago. Could it have been August when I was fighting with the pool filter? Did I really spend the entire spring ripping out and installing two new bathrooms in 4 and 5? With there being no less than 12 distinct seasons here--winter, mud season, spring (May 29-June 7), summer, monsoon, fall, pre-winter, autumn, stick season, hunting season, First Day Skiing, and Arctic Interlude, there's a tendency to blend things together.
And so the end of January found my crawling under the house, dragging my plumbing supplies, soldering pipes back together. As I lay in the dark and dust, cursing, I fully understood what a terrible burden it is to know how to fix things. I mean fix things without using a checkbook, for if I had a checkbook, I would not fix things. I'd use the checkbook to hire the person who knew how to fix things...who lived in the house that Jack built.
It took a while, but I patched everything back together just in time for some weekend checkins. Everything held, the weather moderated, and the snow we'd been missing came in multiple-foot increments. Everything's white, everything's cold but not frozen, and I've been skiing myself into a trance.
I know it won't last. There'll be melting and flooding in the spring, hornet's nests in the summer, painting, carpentry, and more plumbing in the fall. And my sister-in-law will remind me again next year that it's all part of the cycle of innkeeping.