Sunday, January 10, 2010

To Freeze, or Not to Freeze.....?

Our neighbor's frozen Niagara Falls!
Saturday, January 9, I woke up with a start at 6:58 a.m. when Bob said from the bathroom "We have no water." For the first time in years both of us fifty-somethings slept through the night without one, or indeed several, trips to the bathroom. It was an ill-fated turn of events since is seems our pipes froze; well not ours, the RV's!

We both get up to find 19 degrees is the low outside and it is 51 degrees in the living room. We have got to get this furnace fixed. After our brains start working and we stare at each other helplessly for a bit we came up with a plan. Bob took the living room space heater outside and turned it on the pipes in our 'down under' storage compartment in the area of the freshwater tank priming pump--the suspected culprit.

The living room temp drops drastically without the small heater so we turn the oven on for 45minutes. (I know, I know--all those warnings regarding 'do not use as a heat source.' Hey, it was on for two hours yesterday while I bake my cake. We gained five degrees this morning with it on.

Then Bob propped open the whole-house vacuum input plug for the Dirt Devil under the steps because it vents to the pipes 'down under.' I was sitting on my fist, leaning back on my thumb as my Aunt B-B-Bice (Bernice) used to say, and shivering uselessly. So I decided to actually vacuum. I did the whole RV; top to bottom using all the brush attachments--not really a good idea before stretching this morning. But it did warm up the place and me too.

I found a jug of water in the refrigerator and made two cups of tea. My heart sank as Bob sat in my recliner in the back window with the sun streaming in (fortunately) and I could see his breath and his mug of tea steaming. He has his hooded sweatshirt on with the hood up!

The space heater down under stops working. Bob brings it in to work on it while I put breakfast on the table using paper plates since we have no water. I get Crispy Thingies out of the freezer; bad idea since I have to turn off the heater in the living room to use the toaster oven. Note, Bob brought the bedroom heater down to the living room. We'll let the bedroom get cold while he fixes the one that quit outside.

I sit in the sunshine spots in the living room after breakfast and we wait for the temp to go up. It took forever (later on the phone Glenda remarked how quickly it got above freezing--sure could tell who had heat and water.) It was almost noon before it hit 32. Austin set a record of 18 degrees at the airport, breaking the old 1962 record low.

Our streetside neighbor in a small 5th wheel has a frozen Niagara Falls about 4 foot high coming out of his faucet. Things could be worse. Bob goes out at noon to hook up our city water. We are ecstatic when it works! First thing we do is brush our teeth. Then I wash dishes, clean the bathroom and we both take showers. Life is good. Water is an amazing thing. Now our brains ponder the issue of why we're working on city water and not on our holding tank. The top theory at the moment is that our 49-gallon freshwater holding tank got low and the bottom bit froze so the pump couldn't pick it up and lost its prime.

With that thought we leave for lunch taking the trash out on the way. I see several folks circling their RVs working on hoses and pipes. Big Bertha starts right up-Yeah! We go down the hill to Chili's and have their Two for $20 special. Egg Roll Appetizers, Turkey and Pork sandwiches and Choc Chip Paradise dessert. We roll out with a go box and cross the parking lot to Home Depot where we find no space heaters. The guy says he heard a rumor that Wal-Mart just got a truckload of them.

He was right; that was just a rumor. We leave Wal-Mart and stop for gas at HEB but some lady in a van is jockeying for the diesel pump so we go to Shell for a few more cents and I can get a paper while Bob's pumping fuel. Then we stop at Lowe's but their heater aisle is blocked and looking empty. We make one last stop at Best Buy. They also have no heaters left. But we look at digital photo frames. Found a nice 8" model with the features we wanted on sale but they were out of them.

We go home to try an experiment on the water pump. We disconnect from city water and the pump can now prime with a half-full tank. I wash the dishes while we're on real water. And I finally call Glenda to tell he our woes and say we'll have to stay home and babysit our pipes instead of watching the Cowboys game with her tonight. She said she turned down an invite from Duane and Ellen for all of us last night to play Mexican Train. It's a good thing we didn't leave since we had enough trouble after staying home.

On a positive note, we have an email from Tom and Nan-Marie who we met in Ohio this summer. They hope to meet us near Corpus in February. How fun! We have leftover Cajun Chili and Date Cake. Then we watch the Cowboys slaughter the Eagles. It's 9:15 p.m. and 33 degrees. Bob unhooks the water and says he almost waited too long (seems like we just got it turned on.) The humidity is 16%. All of this time since May 2009 when we got our new indoor/outdoor thermometer, the inside and outside humidity readings have been switched. We just figured it out due to the extreme conditions yesterday and today. Go figure!

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