Spring Fever in Three Feet of Snow

Well, the author went from cabin fever to spring fever. She is miserable, wandering from cold window to cold window cursing ground hogs. We have little choice; we must do something to ensure our survival. So, Monday, April Fools Day, we’re sending her to camp. Yep, Camp NaNoWriMo. The chick needs to write, and maybe if we lock her in a virtual cabin with five other writers, she’ll get moving again. She’s not shooting for 50,000 this time. One complete sentence would be better than she has done lately.

She has a Laura book all ready to begin with its outlines and sketches and maps. She’s in Chapter 6 of LAC 17, and speaking of which… Here’s Chapter 1 of said book, just to prove it exists and to remind her that she needs to get a move on!


Chapter 1

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Rather calmly, I paced. Okay, calmly didn’t exactly go well with paced, but still.

I glanced to the floor, wondering if I had worn a path between the dining room window and the long pane of glass next to the front door. I hadn’t.

My eyes then sped to the clock on the kitchen wall: 5:47. Perhaps I hadn’t had enough time to wear a path, and perhaps I wouldn’t. See, time was quickly running out.

See, my favorite project manager had a big project deadline of five o’clock yesterday, and in a very rare occurrence, she and her team had missed it. Seriously, the anal-retentive one and her bullwhip had missed a deadline. She worked late, arriving home at nearly nine-thirty. Then, she headed back to the office at three-thirty this morning, with the solemn belief and half-promise that she’d be home by six, the exact time she and I were supposed to leave for the place where we’d be hosting the Lesbian Adventure Club weekend.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

On second thought, maybe I would have time to wear a path. A lot of varnish and rug fibers could be ground down in thirteen minutes. Especially with nothing left to do. The house was ready to be abandoned until tomorrow. I had a thermos of coffee and one of hot water sitting next to the door. The car was packed, including the shitload of groceries I bought last night. Hell, I had even peed three hundred times. No, there was nothing left to do but pace.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Truth be told, and probably to know one’s surprise, I did not want to head out that door and down the road without her. Suddenly, eight people I loved with all my heart seemed like intimidating strangers. To be solely in charge for even a short time scared the frickin’ bejeebers out of me. And worse yet, Claudia and I decided that we had had it with the emotional crap we endured last time with the damn storytelling, and so, our usual wussy nice ways as hostesses weren’t even considered. We had vowed to mess with and not be messed with this time. With her by my side, messing with them would have been difficult enough. Alone…

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba—

My cell phone released a familiar sound, and I cursed. My gut said she was not calling to impart good news—or calling from the driveway.

"Hi, Kate," she greeted, and her tone told me my gut was on the money. "We’re still not done. I think you’ll have to get started without me. I’ll get there when I can."

Shit! "Do you want me to call everybody and cancel? They’ll understand." That probably sounded more selfish than it actually was. I honestly wasn’t looking simply to get myself off the hook. This weekend was hers, too, and I would never have gone to anyone else’s weekend without her. Why the hell would I to our own? Plus, I trusted everyone else would bemoan her absence as well.

She replied, "I still have every reason to believe we’ll be done this morning and that I’ll be there by the time they arrive. Let’s just go with that. Sound like a plan?" Without giving me a chance to respond, she said, "Just hit Road Swill on the way out of town and enjoy the drive."

I couldn’t help asking, "And what if you’re not done in time?"

"I will be! The team knows I have important plans for the weekend," she assured. "They’re busting their butts so we can get out of here."

Regardless of my doubts—on this, the second passing of a deadline, I assumed her hopeful tone, "Okay, then I’ll get everything set up before you all get there."

She apologized for sticking me with the work, and I told her it was no big deal. It wasn’t. Her absence bothered me, certainly not the work.

Then she said, "Maybe you should call Laura. I’d bet she’d be happy to drive up with you and give you a hand. Plus, that place might be creepy all alone."

"I’m fine," I assured. Any of them ahead of the preordained time of ten o’clock would not make me feel any more confident. "I’ll take care of it. You just worry about getting out of work." 

We exchanged the partnerly be-carefuls and I-love-yous, and then she concluded, "Go, honey, and use the GPS, and remember this is our chance at payback. Give ‘em hell, Kate. Mess with them."

That made me laugh, and the next ba-dooms took me and the thermoses out the door and to my car.

As I started the engine, I switched on the little GPS unit. While I despised being told what to do while I was driving, I found myself glad to have it, although I’d probably never admit it to her. We had gotten lost last time even with the damn thing so I admittedly needed all the guidance I could get.

Following the project manager’s instructions, I aimed the car for Road Swill, and by the time I got there, I was ready to reach into the GPS and de-voicebox the moron chick in there telling me to frickin’ turn around because I had veered off course. Apparently, she was not a coffee lover, and that gave me one more reason to dislike her.

Many swearword-filled blocks later, she calmed the hell down, and I was on my way.

Where? you ask. Okay, that seems a reasonable question. I was on my way into the frickin’ boondocks.

See, someone Claudia works with owns a hunting cabin about an hour from Granton. Before we had known about the tiny cabins at Drixel’s that Ginny and Kris used last time, we had already made a deal. We traded a weekend’s use of the cabin for cleaning and wooding splitting. Having already done the cleaning and part of the wood splitting, we were not about to back out just because it seemed too similar to the last LAC weekend. Besides, this was different. It wasn’t quite as much as roughing it, but it certainly came nowhere near the comforts of Crappie Cabin. It was a hunting cabin: used for sleeping, having coffee before the sun came up, and having beer after the sun went down. Not much more. Unless, of course, you were the Lesbian Adventure Club who would not be spending the day sneaking through the forest like Elmer Fudd. We had needs, and I was on my way to make sure at least some of them would be met.

I had just left the city limits when my cell phone rang. As soon as I spied Laura’s name on the little screen, I assumed Claudia had called her to plead my case.

"Hey, Sutter, where are you?"

"Driving," I cautiously replied, figuring the cop would yell at me for not having two hands on the wheel.

"I’m aware of that," she said. "But where are you? Where exactly?"

"I just passed the mall," I answered, "and, hey, I was wondering why the Granton Police Department can’t do something about the traffic out there. It’s an accident waiting to happen."

"We like it that way, Sutter."

"Like it? How the hell can you like it that way?"

"If everyone’s stuck in traffic by the mall, no one is out robbing banks." She made some sound to insinuate that I should have known that, and then she asked, "Why don’t you come and get me? I’ll ride over there with you."

"Did Claudia put you up to this?"

"No," she replied with a laugh. "Holly did, actually. She just called your better half and found out about her deal with work. Holly volunteered my services."

"Thanks for the offer—both of you," I said, "but I can handle it. I’m more worried that Claudia’s not going to get out of work before dark."

"Want me to stay home instead of going with Ginny and Kris? I’ll wait for Claudia and ride up with her."

I found that offer very tempting, but it seemed too iffy to be that selfish. "Would you or Holly just give Claudia a call before you leave and see what the deal is? If she hasn’t left by then. Or maybe drive back to Granton with me to get her if she’s stuck there until after dark?"

"Yes on both counts," she said. "In the meantime, drive like there’s a cop behind you and call me when you get there. Claudia will be pissed if something happens to you, and we’ll both help you make sure nothing happens to her."

I thanked her and felt more relaxed. I sipped my Road Swill, drove better than usual, and marveled at the brilliant colors mid-October had brought to the trees.

Eventually, the GPS chick got me to the point where I remembered her becoming spatially challenged last time. I shut her the hell off and hoped my hands on the wheel had a body memory of the winding I had done to get us to the cabin.

Remarkably, I pulled it off without again ending up in the strange little town that consisted solely of a convenience store and an antique shop. The reporter I was I wanted to know where the hell all the antiques came from when the population seemed to be two.

After threading my car through the overgrown driveway, I neared the cabin. This same reporter would have had a hell of a time describing the place. To me, it wasn’t really a cabin, not by Abe Lincoln’s standards anyway. It wasn’t really a shack, though, either, but I still probably would have figured it more a place to park the lawnmower than ten mostly civilized chicks. But, it’s gray weathered wood hid what was actually kind of cool.

I killed the engine and dug in my pocket for the key to the door’s padlock.

Moments later, I stood inside what seemed a room far too huge to fit inside the shack-like structure. Two sofas lined opposite walls near me. At the far end was a huge wooden table with benches on either side. It seemed made for a DWD feast. In the farthest corner on the right sat a wood stove, complete with cooktop and an odd blue stove pipe. All around it, old bricks were cemented to the floor and walls so it couldn’t incinerate the place. To the left of it, a door led to the tiniest bathroom I had ever seen and access to the only running water in the place.

What it didn’t have? A shower. A refrigerator. Lights that were not of the kerosene lamp variety. And bedrooms.

Its power came from a small solar setup out back that connected to solar panels on the roof. We were told it was for "occasional light use" and not appliances or televisions. We’d be doing French press coffee and Earl via water from Claudia’s two kettles on the wood stove. We weren’t roughing it. We were more like pioneers or something. Little Dykes on the Prairie. How quaint.

I quickly decided to open the two windows and get some fresh air in the fusty place while I gathered some wood to get the stove going. Not only would there be an eventual need for hot water, but the stove was the only source of heat.

Soon, the stove was working its magic, and I headed to the car to do some unloading. Seeing that stove pipe puffing on the roof, I admit, made me feel as though I had accomplished something of great importance. Maybe I had. I took the occasion to lean against the hood of my car to do some puffing of my own. As I did, I got a sense of being utterly alone in the world. I wondered whether anyone would hear me if I screamed. Exactly how big was forty-five acres? Big enough to make me feel very small and yet mighty in some weird way.

I hurried to unload things from the car, and then I turned the backseat into an easily accessible refrigerator. To me, that was the only nice thing about the Midwest’s cold: free makeshift refrigerators wherever the hell you needed them. This one seemed pretty damn efficient.

Once more proud of myself, I sat on the passenger seat and poured some of the thermos’ coffee into my Road Swill cup. I barely got a mouthful when my cell phone startled me, nearly causing me to spit.

Shit! I was supposed to call the cop! I suspected I was about to have my Miranda rights violated.

Sure enough, there was her name on my screen. "I was just about to call you," I blurted without so much as a greeting.

"For your sake, I’ll pretend that’s the truth," she said, but she did not sound pissy. "You’re there and safe then?" When I assured her I was, she informed, "Holly and I are going to go out for a quick breakfast before we head to Ginny and Kris’. We’ll call Claudia when we’re finished eating. Maybe she’ll be done, and we can just swing by and get her."

I crossed my fingers that would be the case and thanked her profusely before disconnecting.

Feeling nervous again, I organized things inside the cabin and then went back outside to work on that split wood we had promised to amass. Even with my wussy arms, I felt better, my brute strength forcing those pieces of wood into submission.

Split. Smoke. Sip. I went on like that until both the thermos and my arm muscles ran dry.

I glanced to my watch: 9:51.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.

Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Ba-doom. Fwip.



3 thoughts on “Spring Fever in Three Feet of Snow

  1. I’ll honestly say I check this website at least once a week to see if there’s any update on any new book you’ve got. I live for these books, your honestly my favorite author and I happen to recommend you to everyone I can because the way you write these characters and stories is just absolutely amazing it’s feels so real the emotions and humour and everything else.

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