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Our 24 hour cabin adventure....

Four of our trips were cancelled due to COVID over the past two years, then our Tofino trip got cancelled due to an atmospheric river and with mom being real sick I didn’t go to the cabin for ten months so to be at the cabin from Dec 26th to Jan 3rd was going to be my first get away and I couldn’t wait.

Actually my littlest grandson Jameson had been counting down how many days to the cabin for weeks, and every time he saw me or spoke to me on the phone he would say “I go to the cabin with you now nonna?”. Of course I had to tell him how many more sleeps. On Christmas day he and Weston were so excited that one more sleep meant we would be at the cabin. Little did they know that I was way more excited than them!

On Christmas we had a beautiful dump of snow but what happened overnight was a cold spell. It was -11 when we left the house on Boxing Day and headed towards the cabin. A pit stop at the London Drugs in Mission gave me an awakening because as I walked from the car to the store the wind and cold was bone chilling. It was -14 there and with the wind it was -19. As we kept going east it was definitely getting colder.

By now we knew we had a power outage at the cabin, therefore we swung by Save-On Foods in Hope to pick up some buns and cold cuts. It would have to be our dinner if no power was available. It was even colder at -18 when I ran to the store and back to the car. What would we find when we got to the cabin?

SNOW Beautiful SNOW is what we found

Steven, Sarah, Weston and Jameson were already at the cabin when we got there. They had been there an hour and they were huddled by the fire. No power meant the cabin was super cold. It was -22 when we got there and it was bone chilling. Not only that, water was only available at the kitchen sink and the dark was starting to settle in.

Sarah had already pulled all the candles and had them glowing all over the cabin so we could at least see. We were all bundled in our coats, toques and gloves while we kept pumping the fire. We made sandwiches and a salad and that was dinner. Finally at about 7:30 pm we got power and life was grand. With the boys put to bed and the house heating up we slowly started to get water in the rest of the house but there was no hot water coming out. At least we could heat water if we needed it. We then settled in for the night and played a new game 5 Crowns and had a few drinks.

In the morning I was the first one up. First thing I did was stoke the fire and put the coffee machine on. But when I went to get water, it was gone. I sat down and contemplated using our two full water bottles for coffee but opted out as not sure how much water we would need for the boys. So I waited. When Sarah and the boys got up I heard the toilet flush upstairs. Knowing I had flushed earlier I didn’t expect it to flush. So I asked Sarah to check the tap upstairs….low and behold we had water in the bathroom sinks and toilets. Thankfully we were good. We could easily take water from bathroom and bring to the kitchen.

We filled up some containers, our bottles and made coffee. All was great. The boys and I started making ham and cheese biscuits and that is when Sarah said the water in the bathrooms was gone. Oh boy we had no water again…. When Gianni got up I got him to call the neighbour. We needed to know if this was our old cabin causing us problems or was it the -24 degrees causing havoc in the valley. The best news I heard was that Gary’s house had no water either. Therefore there was a problem in the valley. I quickly emailed our board members and they got on the horn to the water provider. Within an hour they were investigating what was going on. Meanwhile all the boys have to go to the bathroom and not pee….so what do we do, collect a lot of snow and melt it on the stove so we can flush the toilet. We will get through this too…

Melting snow for toilet water

The water team found a frozen/stuck valve in the infrastructure and had to get torch heaters to thaw it all out. Within an hour we had water….yeah!

Gianni put the hot water tank power on so we could get hot water, but no water was running in those pipes. Therefore he knew the tank pipes must be frozen. He pulled out the fridge and opened up the area and used a hair dryer to heat the pipes feeding the hot water tank. He did this for an hour and finally we got water flowing from the tank. Things were looking up, we had water, we had power and now we had hot water. Double YEAH!

The boys and I were snuggled watching “Outback” movie and enjoying it. At the same time Gianni and Steven were putting the fridge back in its place and the power went out….All we heard was Gianni yelling things I can’t write down. And he had every right too as so much effort was put in to get everything going and now we were in the dark again. The one positive thing was we had water.

I settled for a sandwich for dinner but Sarah made the boys noodles on the wood stove. Gianni, Steven and Sarah were holding out for the power so they could have a warm meal. We have a UPS and our internet was still on and we could see that BC Hydro showed the power trouble was reported. Two hours later the UPS is dead and we can’t see what is happening anymore, therefore I call into the BC Hydro call centre using our land line. They are still investigating. Gianni decides to walk over to our cousin’s place to see if they are OK and he sees they have power and that our power line from the house to the pole is sagging a lot. He notices that our end of the street is black, therefore he calls hydro to report what he sees.

When he speaks to hydro they say a crew is out to investigate and will come by the house.

It is now 8pm and the boys go to sleep in Steven and Sarah’s room as it is warm in there from the fireplace. Knowing this will be a while we decide to use the wood stove to make dinner. Macaroni and cheese and European sausages will have to do. I takes about an hour but dinner is ready and everyone eats a hot meal.

By now the first hydro guy is out with the spot light looking at what can be the problem. About half hour later the big bucket truck and the repair crew are out investigating. They see our line and ask Steven to move his truck so they can see if they can fix the line. They know though this isn’t the issue. They determine it is a transformer that has blown and will need to go into Hope to get the part. So we play cards and have a few drinks again....

Playing crib with candlelight

We play a few hands of crib and Sarah and I decide to go to bed as it may be a few hours before they get this done. When I get to our room, which is the furthest room from the fireplace, it was so cold that I could see my breath. I put on two layers of clothes and hunkered into the bedding. I kept hearing the door chime beep as the door was opened and closed. I know they were working on the power. And finally at 3am the power came back on and I could fall asleep.

They had tried to fix our sagging power line but the bucket truck couldn’t get close enough to the house. Therefore they said they would send a second crew in the morning. True to their word the second truck showed up and with daylight they were able to move the truck closer to the house and he quickly was able to fix the sagging line. On top of it he moved the bucket closer to our fire stack and moved the tree branches that were on top of it. These guys were great and each got a bottle of wine for their efforts in getting us fixed up in this weather.

As I write this, we only have one issue we are working on. The bathtub drain is frozen and we are not able to shower. Therefore I’m boiling water and keep bailing and adding water to see if I can un-freeze it. But when we look at the whole scheme of things this is a little thing and it is very easy to have a sponge bath if we have too.

What a 24 hours. It was amazing how we just adapted and appreciated what our grandparent’s generation must have gone through. Actually what Gianni went through when he was little in his hometown where he slept on a corn husk mattress and the only heat was a wood fire pit in the middle of the floor. It allows us to truly be thankful for what we have and the cherished memories that this 24 hours has provided us. It’s all about perspective, a little bit of swearing and a whole bunch of laughing. Remember to live life well ALWAYS. We only have one, even if it is challenging sometimes.

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