Friday, January 16, 2009

Frozen Pipes, Frozen Chickens, and Frozen Toes

Okay, I don't want to complain too much about the cold weather, because I know it's hitting a lot of the country, and at least we don't have huge piles of snow to contend with as well. But it has been a little harder on us for the last day or so.

Yesterday morning, Ben found that the pipes in the upstairs bathroom were frozen, and we spent about forty-five minutes looking for the frozen part and trying to thaw them with my hairdryer before he left for work. We never figured out where it was frozen, and he told me to call a plumber. I left the taps open while I called (no one was open at 7am) and they thawed before I found anyone. Our upstairs is not at all insulated well, and I think we'll be draining those pipes and closing off that part of the house for the winter.

After that, I realized that it was feeling really cold in the house even downstairs, and I figured that I should turn the heat up (it's usually set at 65) to help with that pipe situation. I found out that the thermostat battery was dead! I replaced them and reset everything. It was showing that it was fifty-three in the hall... one of the warmer parts of the house. No wonder the pipes in the attic froze!

Later on, I heard a bang at the back of the house. Thinking it was dogs bothering the chickens, I went out on the deck to chase them away. Instead, I saw a big chunk of ice on the deck. We don't have any snow or ice around at all right now, so I couldn't think where it came from. It was shaped like a drinking glass almost, as though you'd freeze a big cube in a glass and pop it out. I realized it could only have come from the furnace exhaust on the roof! It had frozen over while it was off, and then the heat melted it out once I had it started again.

The furnace is having a hard time against the 0 degree temps. It's running constantly, but only hitting about 62. Ben and I were talking this morning that we'll either have to have the furnace serviced, or do something about improving the insullation on the house. Probably both. We'll start with putting that shrink plastic on all the windows.

So, while I'm not exactly depressed, because there are families with a ton of worse things to be concerned about, I do have a strange feeling of winter pressing in, making my house cold and uninviting. Longtime readers will know though, I don't usually stand for feeling down, and try my best to do something about it. So here are my fool proof plans for today:

1. Bake something! The oven will heat the kitchen and the smell will cozify the house. I'm thinking this calls for sticky buns. Yes, I know they're death. But we're having company this weekend, so we won't be eating the whole batch on our own.

2. Exercise! Not only won't I feel the cold once I get moving, it's good for me too and will cheer up my outlook.

3. Lots of Tea and Hot Chocolate! That's pretty self-explanatory.

4. Clean the living room and kitchen! Not only will that keep me warm because I'll be moving, it's a needed thing with company coming. AND it'll cheer me up when I see things looking organized and cozy again.

5. Move my little comfy chair to a warm place, and curl up and read and knit. My sewing room is usually the warmest place in the house, especially if the sun will shine today. If the sun is shining, I can put my chair right in a sunbeam. There's nothing like a sunbeam on a cold day to cheer me up.

How is everyone else battling the cold and the winter blues?

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10 comments:

Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

Ahhh...the joys of winter. Thanks for sharing your fool proof plans...this is the first winter I haven't felt like totally hibernating. I just keep myself busy with this and that and do a lot of spring planning. Warm hugs!!

Liz said...

Morning Bethany,
The strangest thing we had the exact same problem this morning in Vermont with -17 weather. Our water isn't working in the upstairs bathroom only and our thermostat downstairs had a dead battery! I changed the battery and set it to 67, but had to come to work. You didn't mention if this fixed your water situation? I'm guessing it did, but I'm curious if I still need to call a plumber today. I'm thinking I'll go home and check on it in a little bit. This is our first winter in Vermont! Fun times. Counting down for Spring!

Bethany said...

Jennifer, I understand about hibernating! Which can be cozy and fun, but I tend to take it too far, and next thing I know, I'm depressed because my house is a mess and I haven't accomplished anything all week. I need to find a balance of keeping busy and just enjoying the good excuse to curl up and hibernate.

Liz, I think that if your thermostat is working now, your pipes should be okay. I hope they don't burst on you! I wouldn't think they would though, if you don't usually have a problem with those pipes. But this crazy cold can make it hard for the furnaces to actually heat the whole house! Our pipes go through an unfinished attic space and that bathroom is over an unheated garage, so we have trouble with it often. But after I got them thawed yesterday, we haven't had any trouble with them since. Hope everything is fine when you get home! Stop by sometime and let me know.

molly said...

sending you hugs and prayers for a comfy cozy warmer day!

Bonnie Story said...

Hi Bethany! Glad you made it through - of all the times for a battery to quit!! What has really helped me this year SO much is painting over in the new house. Painting walls, not pictures that is. It's such great exercise that after a while I'm nice and warm, and feeling good about gettin' stuff done. Radio blasting, singing out loud. The sooner I get the painting done, the sooner we can get the cabinets, etc. going. Anyway, next year I hope I have a big physical job like this again because all the painting workouts have really helped my mental health. It's like living next to a Pilates studio. Last year at this time we were trapped in the trailer with not much to do and that was really tough on both of us. Take care and best of luck with Ol' Man Winter!!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Wow! I hope that things go better today. I'm glad you're getting everything worked out. That sounds crazy.

It's cold here, but not that cold!

Blue Castle said...

Oh yes. I'm doing all of those things. Sorry your furnace is having a hard time. It was -30 yesterday and I was praying that our furnace would hold out. So far it's doing pretty well. I have no idea how old it is and the last thing we need is a furnace repair bill.

Hope it warms up soon! :)

I'm still giggling over your chicken post from wednesday.

Mama Kelly said...

I kept my downstairs all cozy today by cooking for the week ahead. Split pea soup and chili (w/ TVP), meatloaf and stuffed peppers.

Melonie said...

WOW! If you have some area rugs or towels or quilts, try putting them along the baseplate of the door. And definitely get the windows covered - if all else fails, tack quilts or blankets over them. Doors and windows are the big draft spots. Even here, I can watch the blinds move by the windows of our house and Chatty's room is more than a bit nippy.

Another inexpensive fix is to check the light sockets. They usually aren't insulated and you'd be amazed at how much cold air they'll let into the house, especially if you have a crawl space underneath. Your local hardware should have some pre-cut templates of foam insulation that are meant to just slip right into place. You just unscrew and remove the cover plate, pop in the foam, and replace the cover plate. Takes just a few minutes per room but it helps seal up all those little "holes" that will bleed a house of warmth.

Good luck!!!!!

Bethany said...

Thanks for all the tips and kind words! I hope you all are staying warm and safe as well!

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