Apparently the tarot cards are right. This year is starting off with failure and defeat. Actually, that’s not anywhere near the truth. Failure and defeat are sometimes simply in the mind of cursed — a mishap that is a defeat for one person can be one of life’s negligible challenges to take in stride for another, and that is the case here.
I hope you know that my talk of the tarot and its prognostications is more or less me being facetious and playful. Whatever the cards say is not something I take personally. If anything, they seem to reflect my state of mind, and I think that’s because I interpret the cards through whatever my mood is at that particular time.
That being said, I started off the day with a frozen hot water pipe in my kitchen. I had cold water in the kitchen and both hot and cold in the bathroom. To be honest, I didn’t know a hot-water pipe could freeze, at least not more so than a cold-water pipe.
I texted my contractor for help, and he suggested putting a space heater under the sink, and if that didn’t work, he’d come out and unfreeze the pipe for me. So I opened the hot water spigot (to relieve the pressure), put my little electric space heater under the sink, and in the hopes that the hot water in nearby pipes would help, I also took a shower. Not the smartest thing, perhaps, to leave a heater alone in a semi-enclosed space, but this heater is so small and uses so little electricity, that I wasn’t worried.
Whether it was the shower or the heater, I don’t know, but the hot water soon came gushing out of the faucet.
So, not exactly a disaster.
Even if my efforts hadn’t helped, the contractor would have come out or sent one of his workers as he did last year when the entire pipe (both hot and cold) to the kitchen froze. He’ll be replacing the water lines someday, and when he does, I’m going to ask him what all the pipe are, how they connect up, and where they go. I can see some of the water lines, but I’m not sure which are hot and which are cold and where they meet up. (Last year, I guessed wrong about which was the frozen pipe and heated one that wasn’t a problem.)
As long as we’re even and I’m not too far ahead of the contractor with my payments, I’m fine with however long it takes him to do my work because he always responds to my texts, so it’s like having a contractor on retainer. (I must admit I do get worried when the payments get too far ahead for too long because if something happens to him, I’m out the money. I am certainly not going to dun a widow and her fatherless children, and I can’t afford to just write it off.)
It’s not supposed to get down below zero (Fahrenheit) again for a while (apparently eight below is too much for my pipes), so I should be okay. If I remember, the next time I’ll open the cabinet doors under the sink so maybe it won’t get as cold under there as it did last night. That’s assuming, of course, that those are the pipes with a problem.
This is certainly no omen for an unpleasant new year. It’s just typical of the myriad things that need to be taken care of when one owns a house.
It’s funny, now that I think about it. One reason I preferred renting was that when things went wrong, all I had to do was call the landlord, and have him do the work or arrange to have it done. Too many crappy landlords and landladies taught me that this was a naïve view, so I didn’t take the matter into consideration when I had the opportunity to buy. Now, though, I have the best of both worlds. A house of my own, and someone to call.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.