Almost flooded the laundry room

Every winter, when the temperatures drop into the teens (Fahrenheit), we run into the same problem. The drain pipe for our washing machine freezes. We found this out the hard way years ago. I remember it vividly. It was our first or second winter in the new house, and it was a cold one. I think the temperature was around sixteen degrees that night. I threw in a load of laundry like many times before. A few minutes later I was sitting on the couch and began to hear a strange noise. It was a loud hissing sound. I quickly ran to the laundry room to find water spraying out of the pipe that the washer drains into. I stopped the washer, but not before the floor was flooded. It was a horrendous mess that took most of the day to clean up.

We learned from this very unpleasant experience. Every time the temperature plummets below twenty F. we check the drain before using the washer. It’s a simple test. We use a funnel to pour two or three pictures of hot water down the drain. If it flows through without resistance then we are good to go. If not then we have to wait for the water to melt the ice.

This is all due to a lack of insulation on the pipe, something that we should have fixed a long time ago. This is yet another example of how you always pay more in the end for procrastination.

Anyway, yesterday it was cold, very cold. I believe the temperature got down into the single digits overnight. When I woke up I decided that I would do some laundry. I tested the drain, and to my surprise, it had not frozen over. So, I tossed in a load of laundry and hit the couch. I had an hour or so before Denice was going to wake up and I decided to use the time to watch an episode of Black Mirror. (Holy shit… the new season of Black Mirror is awesome!) A few minutes into the show I hear that same dreaded sound. I quickly tossed the laptop to the side, leaped off of the couch, and ran to the laundry room. Water was rushing across the floor. I slapped the stop button on the washer and stood there in amazement. That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten to put the drain hose back in the pipe! I felt like such a moron.

I’m really glad I didn’t decide to start a load and leave the house. We would have had a real disaster to deal with. I was able to stop the washer before the flooding went biblical. Even still, the mess was huge, and it took so long to clean up that it made us late for a funeral.

The moral of this story is don’t be a lazy turd. If something around the house needs fixing, fix it!

Cold as a witch’s bosom in a cast-iron bra

If you happen to be a witch, please take no offense. I love Witches, Pagans, Wiccans, and pretty much everybody. I know you don’t wear a cast-iron bra.

Now that we have that out of the way, it is freaking cold outside. It’s currently 11 F (-11.6 C), and it’s been below freezing all week. I had intended to run six miles this morning. The searing cold air that I had to suck down my lungs quickly changed my mind. I cut it off at one, and that was quite unpleasant.

Luckily we have just a couple of more days of sub-freezing temperatures to endure, and then things will get back to something a little more tolerable. The forecast says that it will even be in the 60’s for a couple of days next week. I plan on seizing the opportunity to kick the shoes off and get some much needed barefoot time in.

Denice and I were up kind of late last night. She’s sleeping in, so I am sitting here quietly blogging and watching The Punisher on Netflix. If you haven’t seen The Punisher, you should. It is exceptional. Netflix has been hitting some home runs with their original shows. I’ve heard really good things about the new season of Black Mirror too. I’m going to start on it when I get done with The Punisher.

natural-born-heroesLet’s see, what else… Oh, I’ve started a new book. I am reading Christopher McDougall’s book, Natural Born Heros. This book is about the resistance fighters on the island of Crete, during World War 2. These guys did seemingly superhuman feats of strength and endurance to stop the Nazi occupation of their island. McDougall draws on their stories and the stories of others to introduce the reader to what he calls, “The lost art of the Hero.” I’m just a few chapters in, but just like Born to Run, it has the makings of a great adventure story. BTR is the book that really helped me to believe that I am capable of so much more than I had previously thought, and this new book has the exact same vibe.

Another thing that I have started doing this week is attempting to impose some measure of self-control with my social media usage. I have begun to take notice of myself when using Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. I exhibit all the classic signs of a person with an addiction, compulsively checking and scrolling and looking for that next dopamine hit. And the amount of time that I waste on these platforms is obscene. I want to be able to use these ‘tools’ without them using me. So, I have decided to limit the amount of time that I spend on them. I have dedicated no more than fifteen minutes a day to check, respond, and post to all my social media feeds. No more mindless scrolling. I have a handful of people that I follow. I have set up my feeds to display only their content. I will still use Reddit to check in on the state of the world, but only the front page of my subs, and popular. I figure that anything worth knowing about will still be on the front page when I check it. So, with that said, if you need to contact me your best bet @erickeVolved on Twitter. I will see it inside of 24 hours. I suggest this course of action for everyone. This compulsive approval seeking weakness if universal in us primates, and it would be prudent to recognize this and take measures to guard ourselves against manipulation.

That’s all for now, my friends. Until next time.

Riding the storm out

I finally made it to Saturday. I has been a rough week. Here in Tennessee we are currently in the lower bowels of winder storm Pandora, nearing it’s slushy sphincter. The view out my window as I write this is that of a frozen wasteland. It was raining ice a few minutes ago, but now it has changed to a light snow. The temperature is rising, however. By the end of the day we should be in the forties,

20150216_164211The worst of the weather was on Monday. As you can see from my truck, we had one hell of an ice storm. The old girl was encased in a quarter-inch thick shell of solid ice. It took me a while to chisel my way into her. The photo was taken at my work. I was able to make it in thanks to the relentless efforts of the snowplow drivers who worked through the night and morning. Over all we haven’t missed much of a beat through this bad weather. We did lose electricity for a few hours on Monday night, but we were prepared for that; not well prepared, but prepared.

It’s times like this that make me think about what we would do if we lost services for a much longer span of time. Our preparedness level is very minimal. We have several flashlights, spare batteries, warm clothes, and a couple of cold-weather sleeping bags. We definitely need to upgrade/enhance our ‘prepper’ gear. Here are a few things that I am planning to do to make us more battle-ready for the next wintry sucker-punch from mother nature…

  • We need a backup heat source that is not dependent on electricity! The cold-weather bags are nice to have, but if the heat goes out for an extended period of time – we are screwed. The temperature was in the single digits here this week. Without heat our plumbing would have exploded for sure. Not to mention doing simple day to day tasks would be massively uncomfortable. I’m thinking about getting a couple of propane space heaters for this problem.
  • I’m going to upgrade our car ice scrapper from the little hand held one to the big version that is attached to a long pole. During an ice storm, your car will become completely encased in ice. Don’t even think about driving it until you knock every chunk of ice off, including the hard to reach ice on the very top.
  • I’m seriously going to look into getting snow chains for our vehicles, especially the truck. My truck is so light that one good gust of wind would send it sliding across the highway like a hokey puck.
  • Two words: thermal underwear.