Wow, never thought we see temperatures like this in Tucson!! It got down to 13 degrees yesterday, according to my neighbor, Brian. Kim absolutely hated the cold. I never used to mind it, growing up in Pennsylvania...but, after years of hearing Kim describe her discomfort with the cold, how much she disliked driving in icy conditions and how dirty and drab the snow would get from cars, pollution (remember, we lived in the hulking shadow of the Bethlehem Steel...ahhh, I still remember Saturday mornings, playing soccer downwind from the mills and smelling the sweet smell of sulphur...smelled like victory!) and not being able to find a close spot, I slowly became weary of winter.
In the winter, back there, you had to go outside a little early, start your car to get the engine warming up, and the interior! You also had to scrape your windshields and side windows...not Kimmy. She did not want to get up early and go outside and freeze while getting her car ready...so, she'd often run out with a bucket of hot water and toss it directly on the windshield to melt the ice - then start it and put on the wipers before it would freeze! Yes, she did crack a number of windshields, but we had full glass replacement...and I think I may have mentioned before, that the last winter we spent in Pa., Kim grew weary of digging out her Mazda RX 7 every time it snowed or the plow went by, so she just left it and drove the Jeep I had bought for her...in just a few weeks, we literally lost that Mazda, as it became a large, lump of snow!!
We did have some fun times in the snow, though. Kim was an excellent 'snow angel' maker - not too hard to believe, eh? She was also amazingly accurate with her snow ball throwing - she did not 'throw like a girl'. We also did a great deal of sled riding, especially at Nitschmann Jr. High, that had a nice hill behind it and was just a couple of blocks from our house. We also loved to go to the Lehigh Parkway, where they had some large hills and it was very scenic. I already told you about skiing, we would go to the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania, and went to many places in the Rockies while in Colorado.
Kim and I did a lot of ice skating together, too. Sometimes we'd go to the outdoor rink in Bethlehem - I remember doing this as early as 7th grade and listening to the music they played as we skated hand in hand (Carry on my Wayward Son, by Kansas will always remind me of skating with Kimmy). Other times we'd go to the indoor rink in Allentown...and, when the ice was thick enough, we'd go down to the Lehigh Canal. This was always special, as, we were often the only two there. I'd build a big bon fire on the bank to keep us warm in between skating. We'd even bring marshmallows!
One time, in the dead of winter, we found ourselves at Valley Forge, walking the historic battlefields, through thigh deep snow. I remember how tired we were getting and that we talked about how hard it must have been for Washington and his soldiers in the winter there during the Revolutionary War...most of them didn't even have shoes!!
Here's a drawing of our family that Tonio did in school yesterday...'Mom' is the sunset...
Back to hell in Tucson...so, while it was dipping down to 13 yesterday morning...a lot of us found we had no water when we woke up! Luckily, the kids like to shower at night and they all take a glass of water to bed with them, so they had water to brush their teeth. I didn't know what to do (Kim was always the 'handy man' in our household), so I called my neighbors, Betsey and Brian. Betsey confirmed that they did not have water either...many people I ran into that morning did not have water. Our friend, Mario, told me he had tossed an extra blanket on their pipes and left a trickle in the bathroom and they enjoyed water...I pledged to do that this evening. I had a will signing appointment at 9:30 and left, unshowered, washing face and pits with my unfinished water from my bedside, to pick up Angie and Mark, who were coming as support and to sign as witnesses. We went to Brawley's afterward for breakfast and all ate huge meals for a total of about 5 bucks. Man, their coffee is good, too and I sure drank a lot!!
On my way home, Brian called and said he had bought an electric blanket type dealy at Ace Hardware and got his water back on and was wrapping my pipes. I was excited... Well, by 1:50, I still had no water and it was time to get Autumn and Tonio - as I was leaving, I heard a dripping sound from the yard...it was coming from our soft water machine...sure enough, there was a slow leak. I ran to get the kids and when I got back, there was a geyser blasting the side of the house! I turned the water off and called Brian. We set to work fixing the pipe, going to Ace, who looked like they were having a Black Friday sale with the amount of people buying pipe, tape, foam tubing, etc. Well, Brian's torch wouldn't quite melt the solder, so I called Vito, who ran out with a more powerful torch and he and Brian got the pipe fixed pretty quickly. We wrapped those bad boys up better than mummy's in the Sahara. Let me say, that Brian, who works as a graphic designer, out of his home and Vito, who owns Viro's Italian Bakery, literally dropped everything to help me! Brian called Chicago, to tell his clients that he needed the afternoon off. Vito was prepping for a busy dinner time rush at Viro's and left everything to come out. Oh, and I forgot to pick up Cody while all this madness was going on...he texted me that he was freezing in front of the school...!
After making dinner (put 4 boneless chicken breasts in crockpot on low with 2 cans of Rotel salsa for 4 hours on low - thanks for that recipe Janene!), Cody helped shred the chicken, Autumn got all of the toppings prepped and we had chicken burritos, that the kids loved. I finally went to shower. And as I enjoyed that warm, cleansing water, I remembered how much Kimmy appreciated a shower after having to go days without one, crying with joy...I had only had to go an extra 8 hours or so without one...she was something else...
The little ones had something of a down day, so, newly rejuvenated after my shower, I declared movie night! And we had just found out that there was no school today, due to no gas or water at the schools, in fact, much of Rita Ranch has had no gas and may not get it back until Monday!! We watched Natcho Libre - a Jack Black CLASSIC!! and Happy Feet (one of Tonio's favorite). I remember going to see Natcho Libre in the theaters...and Kimmy belly laughing out loud, she so enjoyed that movie! We all did. Cody played video games at Amy and Tom's house with Alex for a awhile before joining us. I finally carried Autumn to her bed around midnight and just sat watching her sleep...looking so much like her mama...around 1 I sat with Cody - what an amazing young man he is becoming, Kim would be so proud of how he has stepped up...and then, by 2, back to Antonio, such a sweetheart, so full of love...I am blessed.
We are looking forward to tomorrow, already, as the temperatures are supposed to go back up into the 60's! People tell me 'gee Dave you are used to this weather'...I tell them, I've been here 18 years and am not used to this weather - Kim broke me of liking cold weather...well, I'm not sure that I ever 'liked' it, but it never bothered me, but, over the years with Kim, I started to notice it more and more. In fact, I actually wanted to move back to Colorado and Kim said 'no way, we are not moving any where cold!'. And I'll take our summers - I can still wash my car, I can drive in the heat, I can swim, etc and besides, our heat? It's a...wait for it...a dry heat!
PS Look for Kimmy at the Safeway parking lot...last weekend for our truck - thanks again Sean and the Toros!
"I am the gatekeeper of my own destiny, and I will have my glory day in the hot sun."
- Natcho Libre