Ice CapadePosted: January 7, 2017
Mama is having a glass of wine… The adrenaline is wearing off, I’ve stopped trembling, but PTSD may be in my future.
It all started last night when Kate came to bed and said, “Gosh, it was freezing in the apartment; I could see my own breath!” She had been watching TV down there since we do not have tenants right now. I sat straight up from my deep sleep and ran downstairs. The thermostat in the apartment said thirty four degrees. It was seven outside. Awesome. Immediately, I set the faucets dripping to avoid burst pipes and went to check out the furnace. The pilot light was out and after following the directions, it became clear this handy girl was not going to get it lit. I turned on the fan to keep the air circulating from the upstairs and could do nothing but call the repairman in the morning.
Thus, in the am, the guy came and determined that a super expensive part (not under warranty) was needed and not available until next week. However, he fixed the furnace temporarily and fingers were crossed it would hang in there until the new part arrived. We also noticed hot water was not coming out of the taps. The pilot light was not working in the tankless water heater. The repairman fixed that, too, and he noticed the pipe leading to the water heater was frozen. I suggested placing a space heater near the pipe and he agreed it was a good idea.
Home repairs are no fun for anyone, but they stink, in particular, when they are exacerbated by weather and when you are alone. Alone, as in the only adult in the house. It seems that wonderful events like this only happen when Tom is away. Sure, I have neighbors, but in times of crisis, you want your spouse suffering right there with you! I mean, it was colder than a well digger’s butt in the apartment and I worried about the pipes. This is an emergency best shared!
Furthermore, I had no time for this nonsense, as if anyone does. The weekend was chock full of hockey practices and games and I had a friend coming in from out of town to visit for the day. There was no place in the weekend for dead furnaces and water heaters!
And then it seemed things were falling into place. The guy sort of fixed both appliances, although I would have to be available another day for the final furnace repair. My friend cancelled her trip due to poor weather, so although I was sad she was not coming, the weekend opened up. It actually looked like despite the frigid setback, I could get a few errands done, buy groceries, visit my mother.
Just to be sure, I went downstairs to check on the apartment….
It’s hard to describe the horror of hearing rushing water and then discovering the icy cold cannon of water exploding across the room. The laundry room in the apartment was a shower of frigid water. I was frozen in place, not knowing what to do. The shut off valve did no good since the break in the pipe was below the valve. There was a second burst in another section, sending a waterfall of bitter cold water down the wall. Luckily, a trap door in the floor sent most of the water into the basement, which is still dirt, keeping the water out of the rest of the apartment.
I screamed upstairs for Jack, who bounded down, three stairs at a time. We realized we had to turn off the water under the house, which is an unfinished dirt pit, now turned into a mud pit. Murphy’s Law made sure that wifi would be weak and communications would be severely compromised as we sought guidance from Tom, way up in Canada, as to the location of shut off valves. Needless to say, there was a fine sprinkling of French language and sailor speak as we glopped through the Arctic mud, flashlights in hand.
Finally, I could stand the cold no more. I was soaked to the skin from the initial barrage in the laundry room, my socks and sweater wet and icy. Kate took over in the basement while I shouted direction and indicated water flow as Jack turned off the water to the apartment and reinstated water to our unit. The whole ordeal lasted about an hour, but it seemed like three. When it was over, we all took smoking, hot showers.
Here is what I learned:
- Frozen pipes must thaw SLOWLY.
- Water cannons belong outdoors.
- Thank goodness the apartment has no tenants.
- Kids rise to the occasion when the shit hits the fan
- I might just need that second glass of wine…