Can I say that again?


It is Sunday, Covid-Sunday here at Hacienda Dominguez because once again, the pandemic has hit home.

As of Friday, the immediate family essentially all has Covid, after our youngest, Olivia Luz, tested positive on Friday evening.

She began having symptoms on Wednesday with a fever, body aches and a headache. It held steady as such until literally five minutes before we were supposed to leave to Urgent Care. That’s when she vomited a couple of bowls of chicken bone broth soup, and thus taking her to the doctor became even more urgent.

This unfortunate circumstance was merely the apex of a full week of them - five full days of mishaps and inconvenient incidents for our family, friends and neighbors.

In retrospect, I’ll recount.

Since early November now, our house has been mostly without heat. We have a radiant heat system, so we called our home warranty company, Choice, and ultimately discovered we had made - the wrong choice.

Although the company was good for small fixes, when it comes to a major breakdown that will require an outlay of some real cash, they balk. They had sent six different vendors, none of which could fix the problem. When they offered reimbursement for an out-of-network technician, they rejected the claim - claiming a bogus exemption.

After a quick google search, it was obvious the company is a sham. Not only are there several news reports of customers running into similar problems, but both of the state district attorneys for Arizona and New Jersey have sued the company and won substantial settlements against them.

Needless to say, we won’t be renewing that contract, even though we are harassed to do so daily, with emails and phone calls.

So, caveat emptor - buyer beware.

Moving on, we called up the local go-to plumbing and heating company, TLC, that although charges more than most, is also probably the most dependable. I guess, you get what you pay for.

So, the repairman was supposed to arrive Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock, a few hours after a 24-hour snow storm began to hit our area.

Understandably, he was delayed and periodically texted me to update me on his ETA.

However, at 11 AM, he called to tell me that after darting a seemingly out-of-control vehicle on our one-lane dirt road, he had to swerve to avoid a collision and ended up stuck in a ditch - literally just down the hill from our house. And so now, he would have to call a tow truck. He had travelled an hour to get here, so I felt quite bad about the situation.

Needless to say, he never made it up that day. He was supposed to come tomorrow, Monday, to replace the manifolds, but now with our quarantine our odyssey has been extended to officially three months without heat.

Oh, but it gets better.

On Thursday, Enzo and Maddy discovered a headless chicken out by The Shed. Although Barker and Zeus now have a record and convicts are the usual suspects, they hadn’t been outside during the storm, so we could only blame it on a coyote or some other hungry wildlife. So, four hens and two ducks down, merely 13 more to go.

That same morning we got news that the pipes had frozen at 48-B, where my mother-in-law and her husband have been staying since Christmas. That meant no water for them. Luckily, as far as we know, no pipes burst in the process and we had to simply wait until the all-powerful New Mexican sun thawed everything out, even though it never got rose above 20 degrees for the next three days.

Indeed, it got down to 0 here on Thursday overnight and it stayed in the single digit realm Friday morning as well, so that inevitably we experienced frozen pipes here atop the hill too, for most of Thursday.

The Arctic freeze seemingly affected many far and wide. Although I didn’t tune into the news much, on Thursday evening I took a walkie-talkie with me when I had to drive our truck to leave it for Chelsea to walk to in the morning, so that she could go to work. I descended so slow that a baby could crawl faster, which gave me time to listen in on local law enforcement talking about all the sidelined vehicles and accidents. It was not a pretty picture.

Prior to parking, I slowly slid down the road to my in-laws house to drop off some packages. Although they greeted me with smiles and concern for my walk back up the hill in the snow and 20 degrees at dusk, I was more concerned about them, as I found out that their van had a flat tire, while their other car was in the shop. They told me a tow truck was coming and they would be fine back inside.

And although I made it down the hill in the 4x4 and back up safely by foot, the same cannot be said for a neighbor who attempted to go up it the next night.

Right after dinner, but long after dark, I received an urgent call from our friend at 8:39. She asked if I could pick her up because her two-wheel drive rental vehicle had only made it half way up, before sliding back down and off onto the treacherous hillside.

My immediate reaction was “Of course, I’ll be right there.” But as I was putting my coat and boots on, I was rightly reminded not to, for we all likely had the most virile variant of Covid yet.

Hence, I called her back immediately with the bad news and put out an APB to our text-group on the Mesa and called her husband for help.

Now, you would think being Friday night and officially the end of the week, the worst had to be over. Wishful thinking, I was hoping we could trade in TGIF for TGIS, especially since they can sound the same over the phone and all…

Of course, life doesn’t work that way. So that on Saturday morning, we woke up to no hot water and what seemed like a leaky roof via the air vent in my bathroom.

That said, after climbing up the attic where the little monsters roam, my inspection found that the leak was merely melting snow coming through the exhaust pipe. Fast-forward a full 24 hours, I was able to restart our new Navien tankless water heater, so that Sunday morning things seemed to be getting back to normal…

Well, sort of, but not really.

Although both Chelsea and I had mild symptoms on Saturday and Milo was seemingly spared, Sunday was COVID-Sunday, with both Milo and I feeling fairly Ill starting at sunrise. By noon, he had vomited like his sister had, and once again I was mopping up the gooky-icky mess with a handful of towels.

Oy, vay. Ay, yay yay. Dios mío.

Hence, although the forecast outside this coming week will be far better than last week’s, inside we’ll have a full house to take care of and entertain, as the little ones will essentially be missing yet another full week of school.

If there’s a silver lining in this story, I’d have to say that - at least, we are getting this over with.

The pandemic is now just the new normal and although Omnicron is still taking its toll among the most vulnerable, it’s become more like a bad-ass flu for the rest of us.

Besides, when this whole ordeal began two years ago, Chelsea caught Covid-19 and was at death’s door, which essentially spurred our move to Dodge. And although I dodged a bullet then, and I was seemingly sparred for nearly 728 days until yesterday, I’m glad I got it now, several muted mutations later.

Granted, everyone is sick and uncomfortable, but we’ve got each other and a nice mountain vista to sooth and sail us through the next few days.

Besides, conflict, misery and a Job(as in the biblical Job)-ful of challenges make for a great story.

Thank you for reading, I am happy to be alive and (relatively) well enough that I can write for you. Despite the stress, life is good, and we are blessed.