Snow Reason to Worry

Before I begin this blog post, I’d like to sincerely apologize. We recently received a Christmas card from a long-time friend lamenting there hadn’t been any new posts. The cheeky note said that they were tired of the pee post and were looking for something fresh.

I, foolishly, felt the pee post (“I’m Going Down, Save the Pee!”) was exceptional, hysterical, and would stand the test of time. (It could, however, be that I was just traumatized by it all and my mind can only think of it as exceptional and hysterical. Much like our illustrious President thinking he has stopped any and all tragedy in the skies in 2017, the year of the no commercial aircraft fatality, simply by being him. Which, come to think of it, IS quite exceptional and hysterical.) At any rate, I was in error. On the blog post’s longevity. Not the President…know what? Just forget it.

At any rate, we’ve just returned from visiting family in Illinois over the Christmas holiday. Watching the dog leap through the snow, though deliciously humorous, was tempered by the cold there. Having spent the last ten years in the warmth of the Phoenix desert, our blood has thinned. The true saving grace was that the rental car had heated seats. So, although my hands were about to crack off when we’d go out to the car, my ass was quite toasty. Such is life.

Amid all this cold and snow, we were peppered with questions of whether our boat could handle the cold of winter in Virginia. We laughed and patiently explained that our heat was fantastic and that oftentimes we needed to shut it off in the master cabin in order to sleep because we got too hot. We headed home a few days after Christmas, content in the knowledge we would be snug as a bug once we reached home.

Then the “bomb cyclone” storm began ramping up. Incidentally, while walking the dog this afternoon, we spoke with a native who told us the last time they had snow here she spent her time making snow angels down the middle of the main road. She also assured us this weather was unusual. Lucky us! Our weather started with dropping temps. Each morning the dog allows me to wait to walk him so I don’t have that hit of cold right when I wake. I generally get up around 5:00. He gets up with me and we read the news and social media while I have a few cups of hot tea. (I say “we” read the news because, yes, I have lively conversations with my dog. That’s normal, right?) Rick gets up around 7:00 and reports on the temperature and wind. (He learned this obsession at his mother’s knee.) By 8:00 I bundle up to take Banjo for his morning jaunt. Anyone in the marina, wondering about the weather, has only to view my get-up each morning to determine how they should dress themselves.

I started the week by wearing my only warm coat. It has a zip out liner that I have had zipped in pretty much since we landed in Portsmouth. If I’m wearing the wool hat, its cold. If I add the hood on the coat, it must be colder and if I’ve added the scarf, best be dressing in layers. I have boots and gloves, of course, but I also have pre-opened a doggie poop bag so I have no need to take off the gloves. Planning is everything.

Knowing my routine, let me explain my dress the last few days. I went from jeans (Monday) to jeans with leggings (Tuesday) to long johns under my jeans now. I’ve stolen a pair of the wool socks I gave Rick for Christmas and put them over my regular socks, then the boots. I have a thermal underwear top under the hoodie sweatshirt. I put the hoodie on, then the wool cap, then the coat hood.

Starting the process of removing our outerwear.
Starting the process of removing our outerwear.

It looks ridiculous, but survival is unsightly. I wear my gloves with Rick’s ski gloves over them; they are way too big on me and I feel like Mickey Mouse while I try to pick up poop. The scarf is around my face, which is good, but if I breathe it fogs my glasses and I can’t see, which is bad.

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Banjo has an adorable Scottish tartan coat.

Doesn't he look handsome?
Doesn’t he look handsome?

We have booties for him as well. Although he will allow us to put them on, he cannot for the life of him figure out how to lift his leg to piddle with the dang things on. So, they remain in the bag they came in. Doesn’t matter. He is oblivious to the cold when in sweet pursuit of the scent of some other dog’s crap.

We (read: Rick, because honestly he does the lion’s share of the work) had to open the hatches to the engine room overnight to keep some heat down there and open cabinet doors under sinks. We also have blocked the companionway to the aft deck with blankets to keep that cool air out of the main cabin for my early morning wake up call.

We blocked the cold from the aft deck with our Christmas presents. Very warm and cozy lap blankets.
We blocked the cold from the aft deck with our Christmas presents. Very warm and cozy lap blankets.

Because Portsmouth is expecting high winds, we had to remove the fly bridge top today. Our boat wasn’t built for this, so drastic measures were required. In addition, we have separate heating units in each main area and they can each be used independently. Unfortunately, when our boat was built, the standard electrical system was 50 amps of power at 125 volts. The marina’s power is 250 volts, so we cannot simply plug into the marina electricity to run everything at once; we must split the current. This means that, while we have the equipment to heat the entire boat to the point of stripping, we cannot run all the units at once. (Upgrades are on the horizon.) This has never been an issue, but we’ve not been in this cold.

All this prep and dressing for the great outdoors is par for the course in the winter but the marina decided to turn off the water leading to the boats without any warning. They did run a single line for use to fill up water tanks. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since we’ve anchored and had to conserve water. This morning we found we were out of water. No way to wash dishes or shower. Oh joy. Rick waited until the warmth of the afternoon to fill the tanks and still no water. The lines were apparently frozen. There was a little sun peeking out, though, so he kept trying and even checked with the office to be sure the water was on.

We had pretty much resigned ourselves to using drinking water to wash dishes and having to shower at the marina bathroom tonight, when Rick checked one last time. Sweet! The water was flowing! (The lying liars in the office said the water was on but it wasn’t.) As of this writing, the tank is full. They are predicting 8-10 inches of snow overnight, the governor has placed us under a state of emergency, schools are closed tomorrow, and the ferry service to Norfolk is closing down. If you don’t hear from us by Monday, we may need thawing out. Or we may be on the main road making snow angels. Join us?

We did have snow overnight. Rick “shoveled” with our deck mop and we carried the mutt to a fairly clear area under a large tree. Here are some photos from this morning.

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