We made it through my birthday without the traditional freezing of the pipes, but 2010 is a new year with troubles of its own.
We woke up Friday to dry taps in the tub, and only cold water in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. We’re hardy, pioneering stock so we didn’t panic. We heated water on the stove for dishes, and to thaw the chicken waterer. No baths, but we got by. We figured if the pipes didn’t thaw by Saturday, we’d take baths at Grandma’s house nearby. It would work out fine since there’s a huge family gathering at their house anyway. We’re all going to be there – most of the 14 siblings plus offspring and spouses. We’ll just bring some clean clothes and towels. One of their bathrooms is under construction so they only have one right now, but we’re all family. We can make it work.
By Friday night, the hot water in the tub had begun a slow trickle – hurrah! But we had a new problem: the drain had frozen. Water was coming in, but none was going out. This was a problem. We couldn’t take baths like that. We couldn’t even leave the water dripping overnight to keep it from freezing again – the tub would fill and overflow.
There was no way around it. I had to go outside and do the hair dryer thing under the house. The temperature was 20 degrees and falling, so I bundled up. I headed out with a hair dryer and an extension cord, impressing upon the children that if they loved me someone would be out to take my place in 10 minutes.
When I got down there, I was greeted by a rushing geyser. The cold supply to the washer had burst. I found the cutoff valve (my very smart hubby built cutoff valves into every part of every pipe where we might need them!) and took care of that. No laundry until we fix it or until hubby is back in town. Good thing we were caught up on laundry.
I got back to my original purpose, thawing the bathtub drain. Two children joined me (they do love me!) and the process went surprisingly quickly. We had an open drain in less than 10 minutes. Hurrah! Baths!
Somehow, nobody took a bath last night. Not one. What were they thinking? I’m afraid to peer too deeply into those recesses.
Somebody who shall remain nameless swears that she left both the warm and cold water dripping, but this morning the hot was frozen again. Worse yet, when I went under the house, I found another burst pipe. This one was right at the first elbow coming from the water heater. I had to shut off the supply to the water heater. No hot water til we fix it or til hubby is back in town.
Now we were back to plan A, right? Baths at Grandma’s? No. I called Grandma, and all of their water is frozen. They have no hot or cold running anywhere in the house. They are using a 55 gallon drum of water they brought home last night. They have 7 children living at home, plus – remember this part? – a houseful of company today.
Now we’re up to Plan C: Heat water on the stove for baths and dishes. Small people can bathe in an 18 gallon rubbermaid tote to conserve hot water. Hair might get washed in cold water in the sink.
Country living at its best.