It seems like it has been forever, but I finally feel that I can begin writing more “Tales from Hunter’s Landing,” albeit every other week this time around.
The crazy rainstorm happened on July 14, 2020 and the heavy cleanup commenced two days later, but will probably never be completely finished, as gravel and rocks had washed into and around myriad bushes and over many grassy areas. Ruts were everywhere and around a couple of spots were 2-3 feet deep.
My brother Pete, a kind and caring person, drove up from Massachusetts to lend a hand with the cleanup. He brought along a pickup truck full of replacement mulch. He is a one-of-a-kind individual.
We also had help from Jake, a high school athlete from Bristol. Together we moved quite a bit of stone and gravel, which we used to fill in a number of the deep ruts on one side of our yard.
We also worked the vernal streambed that had flooded over its banks and adjusted or removed a lot of rocks and debris that had dammed up the natural flow.
In the meantime, I began the search for an excavator to begin putting our driveway back together again. My neighbor and mentor, Chester, formerly a very successful excavator himself, recommended a local company owned by a talented and honest fellow named Jody.
We met at our place a couple of days later, with Jody sizing up the situation, including adding gravel, equipment needed, and a time frame for the job.
We had decided to extend the removal process to include the entire driveway and parking area, as there were a few issues not related to the rainstorm that I wanted fixed — a couple of large depressions where we park and a spot that looked like a hidden boulder was trying to poke up.
The driveway will always have problems because of the extensive ledge on the property. I believe water finds its way under the hard-top and then, with the frost and constant changes in temperature, things move up and down and inevitable damage begins to appear.
The fly in the ointment was that Jody would not be able to begin work for at least six weeks, which would bring us to the beginning of September, and we would still need to find a hard-topper.
Jody was very busy, as was the person he usually worked with on hard-topping. That fellow was putting Jody off, and it was becoming obvious that we had to look elsewhere.
Enter Chester again. A few weeks previous he had contracted to have an inch or so of new pavement applied to his own driveway. It had come out fine and he passed the phone number on to me. I contacted Dan and he showed up two days later. He was very informative and seemed to have all the answers.
A final application of more gravel and two coats of pavement meant that the long driveway and large parking area would be quite expensive to finish off, but with the leaves now starting to fall, we didn’t want to screw up the timeline by dealing with and looking for other applicators in order to save a few bucks. Dan said he could begin within a week and that was good enough for us.
They did a professional job and we were very pleased with the results.
We now, with the help of Jake, began procuring the 3/4-inch stone and gravel from a pile that Chester keeps on his property for fixing and smoothing out the access road to the shorefront. We banked the gravel up to the edge of the new driveway for about two-thirds of its length and then added more pine bark around the rest of it and continued around the parking area. It all looks pretty good, and we just beat the leaves falling in earnest.
As November arrived, the situation was looking quite normal. Then, in the second week of the month, I developed a very bad headache that continued for several days and wouldn’t quit. I presented at Miles emergency room. They tested me for the virus. I was positive and was immediately transferred to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where they have a lot of rooms set up for COVID-19 patients. I received heavy doses of oxygen and the headache soon dissipated.
I had no other symptoms. My wife tested positive also, but only developed a dry cough and did not need hospitalization.
I was given five doses of remdesivir (since discontinued for treatment) and one dose of plasma with antibodies. I felt better each day, and after five days and nights, the oxygen was stopped and I was sent home.
After a few days of recuperation, I overdid it working in the yard (stupid, I know).
The following night I woke from a sound sleep with a strange feeling in my chest.
I got dressed, woke Anita (she was horrified), and called the ambulance service. The ambulance crew and the emergency room treated me with the same drugs used last March when I developed a lung clot. No clot this time. But my heart was racing up to 176 beats (atrial fibrillation). Normal is around 85.
They kept me two nights at Miles and then, after admonishing me for my excesses, said to go back to the yard work, but keep it on the light side.
And so we have. We feel better and stronger each day, but we also are aware that this virus takes its sweet time in vacating the being of its chosen victims.
(Robert H. Oberlander lives at Hunter’s Landing in Walpole.)