Thursday, February 26:
A few days ago, February 22, in Mexico, the cat sitter emailed us that the pipes are frozen in the house, and that there is no water, so no bathrooms either. Car is also unlikely to start and is buried in a mountain of snow. They have had record-breaking cold temperatures between 20 and 40 below in the last few weeks. Colder than the Canadian Prairies! It seldom goes lower than –10 in Southern Ontario. Coldest winter in 30 years.
We got home about 11 pm last night, checked the pipes, no water anywhere in the house, and went to bed. T was out shovelling out the car first thing this morning so he could go get a big bottle of water, something to eat, find a bathroom, and buy some propane for the torch. That is – if the car would start. I planned to stay at the house for now, but if I went to a hotel at least T could come and shower, use bathroom, eat together, and so on. It all depends if he can find the source of where it is frozen. It froze 5 days ago so he thinks it may be frozen out into the street by now, which means calling the City.
We also have a mice problem. God this house is a pain in the ass. He was worried about this happening and I pretty much poo-pooed it (he is always worried about everything), but these big old houses are just a money-pit of endless problems. To make matters worse, I have no winter clothes or boots here. I had planned on staying in Mexico till June so I didn’t think I would need any winter clothes, and something bit me last night – a spider maybe – I have a big pus-filled sore on my leg that friggin’ hurts. Jeez.
That’s not all… oh no… of all times, I got stomach problems and diarrhea this morning. No flushing toilet!!!! So I am now at a hotel, where there is at least a flush toilet. Poor T is played out already from shoveling and has to shovel out the basement access, two steps down, with about 5 feet of snow over it. His back is already sore and he doesn’t feel good either. Said if he tries the torch in the basement to thaw the pipes and the whole place goes up in flames, he wouldn’t be sorry.
Oh yah, my tenant just emailed to say the fireplace is not working, and I have emailed that plumbing and heating company because they fixed the same exact problem of it starting and then going out just over a year ago.
AND my computer is overheating. It doesn’t seem like the fan is working… as if there are not enough issues.
Should have stayed in Mexico… but it could always be worse.
Friday, February 27:
I cannot believe Thomas’ luck.
Yesterday afternoon he started shoveling snow off the porch steps. He said it was packed really hard after 6 weeks of snow falls – heart attack snow. He finally got to about 2 feet above the porch steps when he hit solid ice. Two feet thick of ice on the steps. That ended the shoveling in that area.
He started looking around the outside of the house and noticed huge icicles hanging from the second floor roof at the back of the house and that were definitely going to bring down the eaves troughs up there; it was just a matter of time.
Inside the pipes are still frozen, the furnace is running non-stop set at 22 degrees (he had left it at 17 while we were away). He checked all the pipes in the basement and none are even cold, let alone frozen. A big portable heater has been running downstairs since the cat sitter first noticed that there was no water.
Next T went to get another big five gallon jug of water at the store, used mainly for flushing the toilet, drinking, and cat water. One jug only provides 4 flushes. He put the five gallon jug in the back seat and was driving home down a main street when a woman pulled right out in front of him without even looking. He slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid a collision. The heavy bottle of water came flying into the back of his seat almost knocking him out. When he arrived home, he went to lift the bottle of water from out of the back seat and the whole bottom of the bottle fell out, flooding the back of the car. He ran in to the house grabbing things to mop it up but at 25 below zero, it quickly froze. When he came to the hotel later, and as the car warmed, the water melted and leaked into the front seat! Now his boots were sopping wet, and as he stepped out his boots stuck frozen to the snow! My poor T. He is laughing and crying at the same time.
Just got a call back from the insurance people. Plumber is not covered unless the pipe’s burst, nor is hotel/food expenses. The agent agreed that a house is not livable without water, but they only cover damages from a burst pipe, not frozen pipes. Furthermore, if you don’t call a plumber and a pipe bursts than you haven’t done due diligence, and may not cover you anyway, so they get you one way or another.
The house/cat sitter had called the City before we came home and was clearly told that it was not a problem in the street pipes. T just called the City again because he has checked everywhere and cannot find any frozen pipes, but still no water. Emergency City Water guy is coming sometime today/tonight and agrees with Thomas that it is likely frozen from the street! However, they are so backed up with other similar calls that they won’t be able to dig up the street until Monday or Tuesday….
Guess we’ll just pretend we are still on vacation… after all, we are staying in a hotel and eating out, but we should have stayed in Mexico.
Monday, March 2:
Called the City Water Dept this morning, and we were told that they have 100 houses on their list and can only do 3 a day, but they may get to our house on Thursday. Great. Asked for a discount on the hotel room for longer term stay. Nada. Getting sick of restaurant food and way to expensive to eat out every day. Started buying pre-made food at the grocery store that we can heat up in the microwave in the hotel room. Went out and spent $200 on a few winter clothes, but guess what – no winter coats and no boots are in the stores now, so ended up buying lined hoodies and heavy shoes.
Ice storm yesterday. Slushy and icy streets. T got stuck in the driveway when the sidewalk snowplow pushed a pile of ice and snow onto the driveway entrance. T is still shovelling away ice in the driveway.
One positive outcome: I have more time to focus on working on my book.
Tuesday, March 3:
No clean clothes. Had to go to the laundromat and spend $30 in coins to wash and dry the clothes. I had so many washers and dryers going on at once that I was running around like a chicken with my head chopped off with bells and dingers going off constantly! And here I thought I would have a chance to read my book.
Wednesday, March 4:
Both starting to get a little anxious now… this is going on too long.
Yes, definitely… shoulda stayed in Mexico…
Update March 6:
We have water again. The city came and dug a four foot square hole in the driveway, then another department came and steamed through the frozen pipes. Then another department filled the hole with soil and put gravel on top. They actually did quite a neat job. Sometime in the spring, they will come and re-brick that part of the driveway.
After two weeks of frozen pipes, we have wonderful pure twenty-four carat water from the tap. Amazing how many things we use it for, and how we take it for granted. It’s not just that you cannot flush a toilet, or that you have no drinking water, or that you can’t have a shower, but you cannot wash your hands, you cannot clean up a spill, you cannot clean the floor, you cannot cook many things, and even if you could, you cannot wash the dishes or counter. Every time you turn around to do something – you need water!
Hauling in big jugs of water is no fun either. They are heavy, and one jug is only good for two flushes. It’s certainly not impossible to live by lugging in water, but having no running water for a while makes you appreciate it more. Same goes for electricity. So 3 cheers for power and water!
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