|Cramped in our kitchen, with boxes, old furniture and new furniture.
|Big room in basement became the temporary office.
Arrival of the moving trailer was, of course, a welcome improvement of our
lives. Just the fact, we suddenly had our dining table and chairs available,
then plates, silverware, towels, all that was wonderful. Yet most of our stuff
remained unloaded only to the garage or the barn. In the rest of the house,
floors were going to get remade, and it made no sense to move nothing besides
As I already disclosed in previous journal, our carpet had arrived, and the
carpet guys actually laid it down across the whole big basement room on
a Saturday. Other floor guys could not come to place vinyl on the rest of the
floors until Tuesday, and we had to live a couple more days in a makeshift
arrangement, and then for three days with open doors and windows, dust and
racket from cutting and fitting the floor panels. On the first day, when floors
in kids' bedrooms were being done, we could close the door leading upstairs.
On the second day, when bedrooms on the main floor were being done, we could
close the same door and stay in the basement. On the third day, when stairs
were being done, the door had to be taken out and we had to tolerate it.
And then on the fourth day, when it turned out that the stairs were poorly glued
and had to be redone.
I don't want to complain; the guys were fast, clean, skillful (except for the
stair), but after three weeks sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags, and with
other temporary measures, dust and racket quite got on my nerves. I was happy
when it was finished, we could move, and all rooms could gradually assume their
original purposes — like, our dining area stopped serving as a warehouse,
and could receive an actual dining table, which thus left space for the sofa,
which could be finally unpacked from its boxes, and so on.
|Curt Gowdy is full of tourists, campers, and fishermen.
|Yet a path around Middle Crow Creek was quiet.
While we still slept in sleeping bags, my stress got amplified by kids' school.
They attend virtual federal institution named K12. This affair is an umbrella
for individual local — state — schools. In Califarnia kids went
to CAVA (California Virtual Academies), Wyoming has, unsurprisingly, WYVA.
So we expected that we present a document about our new residence and kids would
transfer from CAVA to WYVA, as it would be the case of switching
brick-and-mortar schools. Hence I picked up a phone and called K12, explained
the situation — and was told that kids can only transfer with next
semester. Well, OK, this did not seem much of an issue, as we don't care as much
whether kids connect virtually to California or Wyoming, only one must pay
attention to times — Wyoming is in another time zone.
What followed, exceeded all my previous worse experience with K12. On average
three times a day, somebody from there called me that they would not want to
finish the enrollment with me. The the first roughly fifty callers, I patiently
explained that the enrollment cannot proceed, as I would have to first de-enroll
my children from CAVA, but since WYVA would not accept them until January, my
kids would be without school. You see, every single time, another agent would
call, who just got a prompt with my number on a computer list. The dialog often
followed the same pattern; first they queried me about things like size of my
bra, to make sure they talk with the correct legal guardian of a given child
(always a single child, as somebody else would call me about the other one,
at other time, which handily doubled the number of calls) — upon which the
agent announced that (s)he would put me on hold for a while, during which they'd
be verifying data in the system. They expected me to just stop and stand there
in the freezing wind (for I might have just weeded our little trees or cleaned
the stable), until they, sipping coffee in their cozy office, finally find in
the damn system why they are supposed to talk with me. I started hanging up on
these calls, or I just told them outright to not look for anything, that the
enrollment cannot be completed, because etc.
Not to mention the fact that if they left messages, it was always on the other,
old land-line number, now two thousand miles distant.
|Vedauwoo plateau contains lots of dirt roads.
|Rock climbing happens in this area.
I still kept upbeat spirits, resolving to survive it somehow till Christmas,
and then we figure it out. My bad. One morning the kids came with a problem:
they could not log into their school system. I tried to log in myself —
nothing. I shot an email to their teacher that the kids cannot get to school
— and received response that it was proper, since they had been
UN-ENROLLED. I almost got a stroke, so I began dialing K12. In that moment,
three guys drove up, whom we contracted to help us with unloading the trailer,
and asked me to direct them what goes where. For the following three hours I
alternatively yelled "no, the milking stand does not belong to the kitchen,
it goes to the barn" and "how can you throw kids out of a public
school without the knowledge and consent of parents?" K12 maintained that
they understood my frustration but nothing can be done, and I must stop yelling
and no, I would MOST LIKELY NOT go to prison on charges of child neglect, since
my children fail to attend school, but it's not in their competence to resolve
it, and if I could tell them the name of my first pet, to make sure that I am
who I say I am. Meanwhile I sent emails in all directions and phoned, I think,
even a WYVA janitor, for it became clear that WYVA was our only chance —
thanks to the governor of California, who did not allow opening schools for
normal people (his kids — naturally — attend their school, as it
is a private one, which we, taxpayers, finance), thus CAVA is overwhelmed
by thousands of applications, and every freed-up slot is immediately snatched.
By two o'clock in the afternoon, WYVA principal called me — they and CAVA
came to a conclusion to transfer the children between their schools outside
the process of the umbrella K12, which was the obstacle in switching in the
middle of the season. She said she left messages. But — messages ended
on the old California land-line. So. I am still a stroke candidate, for
sometimes K12 still chimes up, about the enrollment and if I could upload them
something, like the child's birth certificate. I offered during the last call
that they could look in their system and find the birth certificates there,
from four years earlier, when we ENROLLED for the first time, because now we
just shuffle kids between states. They replied that these are old data, and
perhaps something might have changed in those four years... By then I was
wheezing in rage, and asked if they think that over those four years the child
could have changed birth mother or the day of birth — and then I hung up.
Considering, I am an aging person and in the context of being responsible for
my own health and cardiovascular system, I try to avoid calls with K12 (they
fool me sometimes, when they use a different number). Kids attend school,
which works, they get grades, and local teachers communicate, so we may
actually survive without the K12 machine.
|Lisa performs vaulting at an outlook.
|Storm moves through the prairie.
In the meantime, we managed to settle down a bit in the house, and time had
come to check out the surroundings for interesting places. A short distance
outside the city, there is a State Park, so we entered, paid four dollars at
the register and let them explain, where it is possible to go for a walk.
We did not make it big, for our canary Lisa reported bad air quality (with
her asthma, she picks up everything), thanks to wildfires in Colorado, so
it was unreasonable to hike a lot.
Instead we took our Ford a bit farther, to a dirt road named Vedauwoo, leading
across a National Forest. Thus we tested our four wheel drive (Ford normally
drives just the back, but can be switched to four with or without low gear),
and discovered that with a pickup sporting high clearance it is possible to
drive through spots we would not dare with our Subaru. Trip was declared
Sid had to do another round of moving — of his work office. He had left
a greater number of computers and his airplane avionics simulator, on which
he works — we did not want to entrust such fragile and expensive
instruments to the moving trailer, but they would not fit with us in our cars.
Sid was leaving during one of our chilly periods. It was just stormy skies
around our house, and the few hail projectiles fell (or rather flew
horizontally at about fifty miles per hour) in the moment I was hastily
discontinuing our irrigation hoses, to prevent the pipes and hoses from
cracking. Sid encountered snow in the hills of Medicine Bow, but drove on.
On twentieth October, six weeks after ordering the washer and dryer, i.e.
after time three times longer than advertised, these two machines were finally
supposed to arrive. Sid demanded an admission from me that I was glad and
looking forward to it — but I would get sick every time I looked in the
direction of the Himalayas of dirty laundry (towels and bedding and blankets
that had actively participated in our move, acting as padding and covers),
and I also had little faith that such endeavor would proceed smoothly.
|Sid ventured to California again, this time on a business trip.
|Sunrise after snow-storm.
And I was right. We had purchased the washer and dryer with a surcharge for
". Given the fact that these
installers arrived from progressive Colorada, we expected trouble. But those
two Dumb & Dumber, who materialized alongside the appliances, could right
away act in a comedy show. Or in a family drama, for it was not all that funny.
After they berated us that they would charge us extra for every step up or down
they have to take in the house (there are three), and proceeded in a very
official manner, it began: "And Mizz, do you have hoses with that?"
We had spare hoses, from our old house, despite our idealistic conviction that
a professional installation should include material needing to install an
appliance; we have been sufficiently schooled by years of socialist, state-run
household management departments.
Hoses accomplished, dryer was being scrutinized. "But we don't have the
correct cord, it must have an L-shaped pin; do you have such cord?" —
sure, most of the time I wear three or four about my person. Hence, Sid was
dispatched to a local home improvement store — perhaps twenty minutes
drive each way. When he returned, we heard for a few minutes banging from our
laundry room — and then again "and Mizz, the dryer has no air
duct". Off Sid went to buy an air duct. Being away thirty-five minutes,
Mr. Dumb (or was it Mr. Dumber) peeked out and said, "well, tell him to
also buy clamps with the duct". I told him that my husband was almost back
— so Mr. Dumb told me, regretfully, that they cannot wait this long, to
let Sid go back again for those clamps, as they would have to move on to the
next client. And pushed a tablet in my hands for me to sign that they've
performed the installation, and proceeded to demonstrate how the washer had been
installed. He pushed a button — and nothing happened. I suggested that
a breaker may not be on. I was told that the cause cannot POSSIBLY be a breaker,
but the previous house owner must have installed a secret switch somewhere.
So I looked for a switch — but since I am domesticated ignorant, who has
no clue about these things, but who does trust PROFESSIONALS, I personally went
to check the breaker panel — and enabled the one labeled LAUNDRY. Guess
what? Yes, the washer worked.
|Our neighbors are barely visible, we might as well live on a deserted island.
|Our house rabbit turned into a polar rabbit.
Mat congratulated himself for having it connected it so cleverly, and again
pushed a tablet toward me, to sign. So I asked how should I sign for an
installation, when the dryer was standing in the middle of the laundry,
obviously not installed at all. I agreed to confirm they carried it up three
steps, and they more or less installed the washer, but no dryer. He looked very
hurt, perhaps he expected that I would beg and bribe them, to wait until Sid
comes back for the third time (they could not say all at once what they did
not bring along?), or that I express my sympathies, now that there is shortage
of parts, because covid (Sid bought everything with no problem), but I was most
of all looking forward to them getting the hell out.
Local handyman Kevin had subsequently installed the dryer withing five minutes,
and I could attack the Himalayas.
|Some places winter knocks on the door; here it reaches for the doorknob.
|Snow blower Lisa.
Local weather exhibits menopausal bursts — most of the time it is nice,
pleasant, sunshine, breezy. And then suddenly, for a few days, not only hail
and gardening supplies and dumpsters fly through the air — but even semi
truck trailers. And then it goes back to nice and nothing's happening. During
one such winter weather seizure, Tom celebrated his seventeenth birthday. He
got some little things and we baked our lemon cake again, but his main present
— cross country skis — were postponed to a moment we would be able
to drive down to REI in Colorado, and try both boots and skis.
Rick, our court builder (of goat stables), had told us a few days before that
a storm was coming and that we should count on possibly not being able to get
out of the house, and buy some supplies. I went to fetch those a day before
the storm, when it got cold and windy so much I word a hat and a down jacket.
It disquieted me a little that locals would walk around in t-shirts, and
jackets I spotted only on weak individuals — very little children and
extremely ancient grand-mothers. Apparently, things shall get worse.
Purchases accomplished, we could stay warm at home all day on the worst day,
while wind outside angrily threw snow in all directions. Whenever a snowplough
passed by on the county road, snow had covered it all again in ten minutes.
I ventured to the city on the following day after all. Our previous purchases
somehow lacked a snow-shovel. We own a spade, a manure shovel, but try to
work with those on a re-frozen fluffy powder. So I pulled the Ford out of our
barn, turned on the four wheel drive, and set out across the white plain,
into which our driveway and surrounding prairie had turned. The driveway may
be some hundred yards long, and curves in an elegant bow. It sports a dumpster
on the near side, and a gap in the fence on the far side — these two
references are easy to spot — but I only noticed missing the curve of
the road when the car under me began to list to the left. On the following day,
coming back with the kids (Lisa to vaulting, Tom for his skis), I found the
other ditch — but at least now the driveway was clearly marked —
with my trenches; all you had to do is stay between them. We realized why all
stores exhibit, in prominent places, besides all those snow shovels and blowers,
also long sticks with reflective pads. Now our driveway is properly marked.
|Marking the driveway — the trench to the left must be a ditch.
|Busy traffic in the city.
What surprised me was complete cool of the locals. In California, even in the
mountains, havoc breaks out with every fallen inch of snow, accidents, and
general miasma. Here I drove out on a partially cleared county road — and
just drove. At ten degrees it made no sense to salt it, so we all waded in
packed, driven over powder, and tried not use brakes much, or do many turns.
Similar situation continued in the city — main roads were more or less
cleared, byways and parking lots contained mostly packed snow. I was glad for
our Ford, with high clearance and four wheel drive, but I noticed regular sedans
driving around. With the exception of one with South Carolina plates, which
crawled ten mph, others moved quickly and without hesitation. Intersections
exhibited more careful starts, for everybody apparently counted on cars going
in the cross direction possibly not stopping in time for red light, and so
people wait till everybody passes through, who may have decided that trying
to brake would not improve the situation.
Yet few days later, the snow was gone; we did not even manage to try out Tom's
new skis, having bought them toward the end of the latest snow. Pretty autumn
continued on, with sunny days reaching sixties. Sometimes I think that the
Wyomese make fun of other people, claiming very harsh winters —
so that nobody would come here.