Recommended wine for today’s entry: Covey Run Reserve Simillon Ice Wine. I choose an ice wine as much of the country is bracing for an ice storm today. While it looks like we’ll dodge the bad weather this time, we weren’t so lucky last year. This dessert wine sounds like a good one to grab on your “hunker down liquor store run.” It boasts “intense aromas of pineapple, citrus and vanilla, a luscious mouth feel, and rich, concentrated flavors whose sweetness is balanced by crisp acidity.” To make ice wine, apparently vintners leave the grapes on the vine until they freeze. This web site http://www.northwest-wine.com/Covey-Run-Semillon-Ice-Wine.html says that means temperatures of 19°F or below. Yikes. The 2005 got 92 points from Wine Spectator.
On this date last year, we moved into our winter vacation home — well, it was actually our friends’ basement, but it was as close as we get to a vacation home.
Luckily, the digs were quite nice, because we ended up staying there for almost a week.
Yes, it was the Great Ice Storm of 2009, and, in a nutshell, it sucked. Don’t get me wrong — we actually had a lot of fun during the family sleepover party — but not having power for an extended period in the winter is even worse than not having power for an extended period in the summer; we know, THAT memory was fresh in our minds. At least in September the days were longer so you didn’t have to go to bed at 6 p.m. when the sun set.
We tried to tough out the loss of power last January. Well, (here’s a shocker) our teenage daughter wasn’t home when the storm hit. So I trudged out to a main road to hand off her essentials to a friend’s dad. Her retainers, her perfume and cash.
On the way back, I actually RAN, which is a testament to the fear level I was experiencing, because trees were cracking loudly and slamming to the ground behind me. I imagined this looked similar to when military brides and grooms walk through the arch of swords, and they drop closed behind them.
It would be just like my daughter to get me flattened, face down in the snow, by a giant birch branch. At least her teeth would be straight and she’d smell good at my funeral. But I ran, swiftly and gracefully in my husband’s hiking boots, and made it home in one piece.
Once home, my husband and I began our preparations for survival. We knew not to open the fridge or freezer except for emergencies. Well, there was an emergency at about 5:30, so we got all the coolers and loaded them VERY QUICKLY with all the beer, wine and cheese.
After some brainstorming, which to a stranger might have sounded like a screaming fight, it was decided that the basement was the easiest place to seal in the heat from the fireplace. So we transported all of our necessities for the evening. Here is the photo I took of my evening necessities:
See, I had read a number of articles on small space decorating and so I was clever and used a roll of toilet paper for a bedside table. This was used to wipe my nose which inevitably begins to run if the temperature goes below 65 degrees, to take off my eye makeup before bed and to give the fire a jumpstart in the event it began to dwindle during the cold overnight hours.
The wine not only reflects the firelight, adding a nice ambience to the dungeon-like room, but it offers the added benefit of helping us go gently into that good night. Lest you think that I was only intending to drink one glass of wine while freezing my butt off, fear not — the bathroom sink was filled with snow, the rest of the bottle and two beers. Lest you think we wouldn’t be able to wash our faces before bed, don’t judge until you’ve walked in our shoes. We were hanging by a thread and we had to prioritize.
The book. Well, I don’t normally read thrillers, but this is the book that I was in the middle of when the ice storm hit. It offered the added bonus of having ITTY BITTY words that took like five minutes each to discern in the flickering candlelight.
The radio, which still sports a wad of gum or something that one of our little geniuses must have shoved through the holes during a tumultuous time in their young lives, provided us with up-to-the-minute news about how many other poor slobs were also hunkered down in their basements with snot rags and wine.
The candle. Again, adding some charm to the otherwise dismal situation. Except I awakened at least five times during the night to check, double-check and obsessively check that I had, in fact, extinguished the candle, because it was perched strategically under a wooden ping-pong table.
And last but not least, the little pink Benadryl. Again, dual purpose: Because the woodpile, teeming with all the molds it had accumulated in the 3 years since we’d last had a fire in the fireplace, was a mere eight inches from my head, I figured on allergies kicking in. Also, if a Benadryl doesn’t knock you out, nothing will. Breathing and sleeping aid all in that little pill. Smart.
What you can’t see: Two dogs and six cats, thrilled that Mama is sleeping on the floor with them. So thrilled that they intermittently chose to do happy dances on my sleeping bag, apparently oblivious to the fact that my torso was esconced therein. This display included an impressive moonwalking episode by the Labrador at about 2 a.m. that I really wish I had on tape.
The next morning, freezing, crabby, but alive — I called my friend Beth:
Me: Hey, how’d you do without power?
Her: I’m not dead yet. (She’s a fan of Monty Python’s Holy Grail)
Me: Yeah, me either.
Her: Hey! My power just came on! You should come over!
Me: Be there pronto.
After hanging up, I immediately packed up all my toiletries, my jammies, clothes for three days, my husband’s toiletries, his work clothes, his play clothes, his boots, my laptop, the entire contents of our freezers, well, you get the idea. I arrived in the early afternoon, my four-wheel drive SUV packed with essentials.
It wasn’t until later that I realized she’d never actually said I should come STAY there. I think she probably meant come over for a cup of hot coffee.
Anyway, it was a fun week. The guys went off to work every day and Beth and I did the chores around the homestead, like on Little House on the Prairie — went to my 33-degree house and fed and played with the nearly-frozen pets; took care of her horses; oh, and went to Kroger and the liquor store every day.
It was almost sad when the vacation was over.
But still, to commemorate the anniversary of the Ice Storm of 2009, we signed a contract yesterday for the Permanent Generator Installment of 2010.
I think Beth’s family would have chipped in on it if we’d asked.