Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is it nice in your Snowstorm, Freezing your Brain, part 2

We've had such cold temperatures the last few days that it's been a real struggle! I stayed home from work on Tuesday because of the snowstorm. Yesterday, when I went out to my car to warm it up, it wouldn't start. I waited for a couple of hours and, although the temps didn't go up much, the sun was shining and it warmed the car up enough to start. Midmorning, I headed out. It's always scary driving along the highway running past my house after it snows because there are lots of hills and, without fail, a car or two get ditched along the side. This time, I saw one at a good slant in a snowbank. The highway department usually forgets to sand our highway, or it just doesn't do any good with the heavily blowing snow. The last hill always feels like a toboggan run as you come down towards the stop sign at the intersection of another major highway. As soon as I hit the roads I thought about turning around but I decided I could do it. All the way, I was using lower gears and praying that I wouldn't slide out.Whew, I didn't!  The freeway wasn't  much better. I shimmined on the snowpacked freeway and was thankful the traffic was light. For eighteen miles I drove along snow packed and icy roads all the way to the city limits. I don't really mind driving in bad weather but I am afraid to wreck my car. It's got minimum insurance coverage so any damage is my problem and I can't afford it.

I spent the day trying to catch up on my work and around four o'clock my son called. He was frantic. He said that he heard running water. Uh oh!! He went into the kitchen to a good inch of water on the floor and more coming. I hung up with him and called the water company. I packed my things and said a hurried good-bye to the skeleton crew of  fellow workers. One employee had called in with furnace trouble. One of them had called in with frozen pipes. It's been that kind of week around here. By the time I got home, the water had been turned off and he was finishing mopping up the floor. Now, EVERY towel in the house is in the bathtub sopping wet. No problem- I'll just wash them. CAN'T!  "Well, I told my son, just think of the pioneers. They didn't have running water. At least I stopped and bought a gallon of water on the way home. And look outside, we've got plenty of snow."

I think the outside faucet is the culprit. This morning, I noticed an icicle hanging from it.

Okay, so I began melting snow on my wood stove which is still going strong, thankfully! Do you know how much snow it takes to make water?? At least I can get water for the dogs and cats but the horses? Uh oh, how do I get the horses water? I think the high yesterday was 8 degrees! As soon as they have water it freezes. Yesterday, I took a jug out in the morning and my son took two in the afternoon so they're not dying yet.

The dogs don't hardly go outside. Buddha cries in pain because his feet are so cold and even Sandy keeps her romps short.

My mom told me this morning that since yesterday her pipes are frozen. I'm praying they don't break! I need to call a plumber now but I have a feeling it's too cold for them to work. Gosh, this has been my longest winter!!!

Update- so I went out to start my car for work and neither car will start! How do you do it, North-Easterners? How do you get your car to start in cold weather? I looked at my thermostat and I thought, "Gosh, it got up to 23 degrees during the night. How is that possible? And then I looked again and it's -23! Currently, it's 2 degrees. Hopefully, in an hour or two, with the sun shining, my car will start and I can go to work for at least a few hours.

Is it nice in your Snowstorm, Freezing your Brain - song: Sweet Thing, Reprise, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like you are up to you eyes in it! Hope the pipes aren't broken!Stay warm!

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

That makes for a tough day. We had one frozen pipe in a bathroom, but it's on the sunny side of the house and it has already thawed.

Best of luck.


CTG Ponies said...

I hope you get everything resolved! This weather, across the whole country, is insane.

lytha said...

what a nightmare! oh dear, i think you're supposed to cover those outside faucets up! ours is shabbily wrapped in an old towel, i sure hope that old towel protects us from water system failure!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What a night mare! The past two nights I've been keeping all the faucets dripping in the entire house and opened all the cabinet doors to keep warm air flowing over the pipes underneath.
I was really worried about the hot water heater and pipes going to it because they are in the garage and the garage faces east. With the storm winds blowing straight at the garage, the garage was frigid!

That's frustrating about your car. I hope it doesn't cause you anymore trouble. John had to take his truck into get worked on this morning because the diesel seems to have thickened up from the freezing cold and he can't get it to go faster than 30 mph. My old VW rabbit was diesel, too, but at least I could plug it in every night so the fuel wouldn't thicken.

I feel for you with the water for the horses, too. All our original water buckets are still frozen solid, so we have to haul that stupid blue, heavy water container up that steep snow covered hill to the barn twice a day. And like you said, a few hours later the water freezes up again. I really miss being able to use my electric heated water buckets.

It gets old quick, doesn't it?
Seriously how did the pioneers do it all winter long?

At least it's supposed to start warming up again by the weekend.

Hang in there,

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Block heaters. All of our vehicles, especially the diesels have block heaters installed so we can plug them in.

And that is some nasty weather you guys are experiencing. Hopefully there isn't too much damage to your pipes.

My kitchen sink was frozen the other morning, but thankfully no damage. There is a piece of siding missing there and even though I wrapped the pipes with insulation and packed old towels and blankets in around them, that biting wind was enough to freeze them up. I just plugged a hair dryer in and stuck it under the towels and they came unthawed in less than a minute. Whew!

I knew I needed to get that piece of siding replaced, but actually have to have the electrician out here to replace a strip of wire up under there before I can.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a mess. Over the weekend we had our well pump break and it flooded the basement. (Know what you mean about using all the towels in the house)! Luckily we had a guy come over in an hour or two and fix it. We've got heated automatic waterers in the barn and outside paddocks. Best investment I ever made. Nothing freezes and they always have well water. We've had lots of snow and an ice storm, lots of fun.

Hope you get it all fixed soon. If your car is outside I know they use block heaters, don't know how much they cost though, we have a garage and the cars stay warm enough to start.

achieve1dream said...

Good grief!! That's awful! This weather sucks. I hope it clears out soon. I hope everything gets fixed soon. I had to carry water out to the horses, but that would suck not having running water inside. :( I hope things are improving.

cdncowgirl said...

Block heaters for the vehicles! Here they're standard, not an option lol

That really sucks about your water being kaput... as for the horses, if you've still got snow on the ground they can get moisture from eating it. Not the greatest solution but as long as they're well fed and healthy its ok. If you want you could leave a piece of wood in a tank of water and use it to break the ice.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Yeah there's still snow on the ground so maybe they are eating snow. I offered a drink to them last night. Annie and Nadia drank well, Yalla! took a little and Scout wouldn't even drink. I guess they wanted dinner more. That worries me less about them not having access to water.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sorry to hear the weather is giving you fits. It's a good thing your son was there to find the water issue so you didn't have more damage. Hope you can find someone to fix it soon.

We haven't had the kind of freezing you are at the moment, but we do have to weatherize all our outside faucets so they don't freeze.

MY diesel truck has a block heater which I use all winter. My mechanic told me it causes less wear and tear on the glow plugs so they last longer and that saves me repair bills. This time of year I always think about the electrical outlets available at all parking spaces at the hotels in Red Deer. I sure would not want to be those folks this time of year.

Hope things warm up for you soon.

Shirley said...

Yup, block heaters; they are standard equipment in Canada.Our outside water taps are always frost-free hydrants,$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex641

which means the water drains back through them to a depth of about 6 ft. or more, depending on the length of pipe you buy. That way, there is no water standing in the pipes to freeze up. No electricity needed except for your water pump. Sometimes in the extreme cold the handles on the stand pipes are hard to lift, but a quick application of a blow dryer or even a match works to warm it up enough. But the very best is thermostatically controlled automatic waterers, with heat tape wrapped around the water line until line buried to about 6 feet.(8 ft. up here!)
Hope things improve soon!