It’s so trite. It’s so expected. But the last few weeks _ it seems years_ have been so dismal that one must exercise one’s fundamental right to whine and complain about the weather. I’ll grant feeling somewhat sheepish when comparing my woes to those in Grafton and Chesterfield, N.H., but this involves my grandchildren.
Four of them were here: a 7-year-old, an 8-year-old and two 10-year-olds. They were visiting from Cincinnati, Ohio, and Charlottesville, Va., to enjoy the quintessential Vermont vacation. There would be horseback riding, swimming at the Townshend dam and hikes in the woods. In the evening we would eat dinner out on the deck and tell stories while we slurped up Ben & Jerry’s. I thought they might be old enough to appreciate some tales of the Green Mountain Boys.
I had not counted on rain of biblical proportions.
One morning as the heavens opened and the children hunted in vain for some less-than-soggy sneakers, my daughter announced “There’s no water in the upstairs sink faucet!” And as we soon found out, there was no water coming out of any faucet on the premises. Strangely enough, around the same time, the phone started ringing these anemic little bleeps and when you picked up there was no one there. Someone commented that we had not had any phone calls in quite a few hours, maybe days.
I called our plumber and left a message on the answering machine, only to realize that, indeed we were not getting all our phone calls and he might not to be able to call us back. And we had no water. And the rain was coming down in torrents.
The boy grandchild was told, much to his delight, he could heed the call of nature in the woods in the back yard. The girls were told to do what they had to do, put the lid down, and tell an adult. That adult would fill jugs with brook water and perform a flush.
Danny called and said he would come out right away. And right away he told us the water pump had been fried by lightning and he would need to put in a new one the next day. True to his word, he arrived during a deluge with his two teen-age children and began the search for the well, something that had never been important during the last 18 years we had lived in this 130-year-old house. We can land a man on the moon but it’s really hard to find a well. The operation involved jabbing a crow bar into about 50 locations around the yard and listening for well sounds. Finally, big cheer, they found it and began to dig. The rain was coming down in sheets and there were ominous rumbling. We prevailed upon a generous neighbor to let our kids swim in her pool and at least rinse off but the lightning soon drove us back to the house. Danny and his kids kept digging in the downpour. Eventually the faucets coughed and sneezed and produced some murky, bleach-scented water and we were back in business.
Meanwhile I was navigating the electronic repair service of the phone company, a task not for the faint of heart. After calling the repair number for Verizon and getting the repair office of MCI, I worried that things might not run smoothly. After the gracious real-live lady at MCI looked up the correct number for me I got through to a human who said I would have a service call no later than 5 p.m. Saturday. After they schedule you like that you can not get through to a human again. So around noon on Sunday the Verizon guy showed up and exclaimed, “Ohhhhh! Lightning!” He pointed out, much to our financial dismay, that not only had several wires in the phone been nicely sautéed but boards in the computer and TV were also damaged and would need replacements. And would we like to sign up for service contract.
We’re heading back to normal thanks to Danny, Devin and Riley, and Pat and Alan. The children have gone; the water comes through the pipes as well as the skies; the phone has a healthy ring _my first incoming call was a telemarketer.