The temperature last night was twenty-three degrees below zero (Farenheit). Is that even a real temperature? Adding in the wind chill factor brought the temperature down to thirty-five below.

I’ve been warm. Although part of the county lost power last night, this area didn’t. What I did lose was the cold water in my kitchen. It was amazing how quickly the pipe froze. I made myself a cup of tea, using the cold water from the faucet, and then, an hour later, I decided to leave the spigot open slightly to keep the pipe from freezing, and there was no cold water. Almost an instant freeze!

I knew from the previous owner that the cold-water pipe in the kitchen had a tendency to freeze, but an insulation cap on the outside faucet was supposed to take care of the problem. And I thought the had solved the problem because the pipe hadn’t been an issue until last night. I just figured it was the immensely cold temperatures (more than forty degrees below average for this area). I put a space heater down in the basement near that particular pipe, but it didn’t help.

So I called my contractor. That’s not the sort of job they normally do, but he’d invited me to call him whenever there is a problem with the house. A little later he showed up with a couple of his workers. One shoveled the sidewalk from the house to the garage (a lovely surprise!) while the other located the frozen water pipe. No wonder the space heater didn’t solve the problem — it was a different pipe than I thought it was, so the insulation cap was doing its job. The frozen pipe ran along the inside wall by one of the cracks in the foundation (cracks that were being fixed before all the storms hit). So, the men unfroze the pipe and insulated it.

No damage was done, which sort of surprised me because the pipes, although not more than a decade old, are brittle and need to be replaced. That job is on the contractor’s to-do list, but it hasn’t been a priority, and I didn’t want to make it a priority until some of the started jobs are finished. So, whew! I don’t have to worry about replacing the pipes for now.

The town has been talking about trying to get more retirees to the area, thinking it’s an ideal location for older people since houses are relatively cheap (though the prices are going up a bit), and it’s touted as a mild four-season climate. I wonder how these temperatures will affect those plans? Not that I care except as a matter of curiosity.

What I do care about is staying warm and keeping my pipes from freezing. Luckily, we’re in a heat wave — it’s up to zero degrees right now, and the low tonight will be only minus four.

I know one thing — until it warms up to a decent temperature and all danger of pipes freezing is past, I’m just going to let the kitchen faucet drip.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

There’s Always Something

I’ve been a house owner for only a little over seven months, and I’ve already learned an important lesson: there’s always something going wrong, and whatever that something is, it’s never simple to fix.

Actually, I already knew that about houses, which is why I never wanted one, but after a lifetime of dealing with landlords and ladies, I’ve discovered that it’s so much better dealing directly with repair people than through a middle party who doesn’t care about the comfort and convenience of renters.

Still, no matter what needs to done, it always entails so much more than originally expected. For example, when the enclosed porch foundation needed to be fixed, it turned out there was barely any foundation at all, so that an entirely new concrete footer had to be built. Then we discovered that the iron sewer line under the porch was rusting out.

And so it’s been going with all the repairs.

My latest “fix” is a pipe. A neighbor told me a few months ago that the kitchen pipes had a tendency to freeze, so the contractor said he’d insulate the pipes before winter. The previous owner said he’d fixed the problem with an insulated cover for the outside faucet, but I wanted to be doubly sure that the pipes wouldn’t freeze in this time of frigid temperatures. So yesterday, the contractor showed up with pipe “noodles” and discovered a leak in the pipe. Not having the time, tools, or parts to fix the pipe, he left with the pipes uninsulated and with instructions to leave the water dripping in the kitchen to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze.

Which I did, but oh, my, it sure was hard it was for my waste-less soul to leave water dripping!

Whether due to the drip, the insulation for the outside cover, or simple good luck, the pipes made it through the snowy night.

And so did I.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.