By the time you read this, February 2012 will be mere hours from going down in the annals of history. I cannot wait.
The month started hopefully enough with a visit on Feb. 1 to my brother’s family. By the evening of the Feb. 2, I developed a tickle in my nose and felt pin pricks of fever. The next morning I was hovering between a sinus infection and bronchitis and put myself to bed.
The Observer reported recently that the common cold could hang on for 18 days. As I write, it is day 23.
The following week I drove up and down Highway 82 playing catch-up. Between an event and a city council meeting I found myself, my X-Terra and my dogs, entangled in some barbed wire. The short story, the balance of the vehicle’s value and the cost to repair it were about the same. Three short weeks after sliding off the highway in a snowstorm, I am scheduled to get a new bumper, a windshield and a side-view mirror.
My difficulty with February began in high school when I was disallowed a trip with my ski team because I had turned in my racing bib late at the previous race. Crestfallen, it seemed to not only have a snowball effect for the rest of the month but for Februarys to come.
Two years ago, after spending most of the day at Salt Creek Summit covering a story in 6-degree weather, I awoke early on a Saturday to do the story’s coinciding interview. A mile south of Lostine my car died. It was now 18 below. I called a neighbor and AAA. Several very cold minutes later I was rescued. My mechanic was at work and loaned me a spare pickup to get back on the road and do the interview.
When I returned to Lostine, the engine was declared toast. I went to bed and pulled the covers over my head and whimpered. But nothing changed so I got up, wrote a story and ordered a new engine for which I am still paying.
Luckily, there are stories to write, meetings to attend, and sometimes, even in these days of reduced snowfall, there is skiing to cheer me up — and a shed full of wood to heat the house when the furnaces stop working. Last week, after writing most of the night until dawn, I went for a late afternoon ski up the Lostine Canyon. I always park just beyond Pole Bridge, but as soon as I got there I knew I was in trouble.
In two inches of snow, I got stuck and my shovel was in the carport, but I had cell service ... I called a friend who lived close by. She quickly dispatched a neighbor. Within minutes, my SUV was unstuck. Contritely, I accepted his help and made feeble excuses to why I had gotten myself in this predicament.
“We won’t pull your Wallowa County card this time,” he said as he hooked a chain to the front of my car.
Phew. That was a close one.