"I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in..."
by Joni Mitchell Copyright © 1966; Siquomb Publishing Company
This morning saw a dawn temperature of 31¤F. I had to leave water on at a drip in the Airstream to keep the line from freezing. Left a heater going in there last night, in anticipation of the frost. Scraped frost off the rear window of the car in passing as I walked the dogs.
That's the final 'warning shot across the bow' -- the next one will be in earnest. Do I winterize the trailer now (safest) or do I wait in anticipation of getting in a few weekends of leisure before hitting the road? Hmmm...
For hit the road I must. Kerosene is already at $4.499 and really has nowhere to go but up. The last time I heated for a full winter in Maine the same fuel started at $1.599 and finished at $1.999 and we spent nearly twenty-five hundred dollars to heat four rooms to 60¤ and the cellar to just above the freezing point (most of the time).
I know we aren't alone in confronting this issue. Approximately 48% of Mainers are contemplating heating costs in excess of $5000 with a median income of under $21,000 for a family of four, while staggering under the burden of the highest taxes in the nation (income, sales and use and property taxes combined). An awful lot of families will confront hard choices this winter.
Do I feed the kids or keep them from freezing to death, hungry and penniless?
Or, if you prefer, my choice... Do I heat my home or take insulin and the other $750 per month of drugs prescribed, all of which my doctor assures me I need to continue to live?
Well, in my case, I have an option that few in this country have. I can go South for the winter, work as a box boy at the local Wal-Mart to buy groceries, and return to Maine in Summer to avoid the $500 per month air conditioning bill in the South. Big expense is gasoline to haul my portable home behind me. It is still cheaper to spend $2000 on gas each way than it is to stay here this winter.
I hate to leave - but leave I must. The first snowflake isn't far away now. The leaves are turning, the Snow Geese have already flown through, as I saw them a week ago Sunday gleaning a neighbor's hay field. I guess they got the urge for going a little early this year. Bodes poorly for this winter, doesn't it?
So I have the urge for going today. Thinking about all that needs doing before I can leave. Hoping I can get out of here before serious cold commences to chilling the life right out of the region...