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!

The Multiverse Holiday

Good evening faithful readers. It is Thursday, or as our pagan friends knew it… Thor’s Day.

We are just a couple of days away from the ultimate hodgepodge of a holiday, Christmas. Late December, the time when most cultures that grew up with seasons celebrate the Solstice, the Standing Still of the Sun. It is at this time, the winter solstice, that the Sun reaches its lowest point on the horizon, and for three days appears to not move lower or higher. Last night was the longest night of the year, and from here on the days will get longer and the nights shorter. The fact of this celestial event has spawned all sorts of traditional  celebrations over the eons.

As a secular guy, I have no hangups with participating in any winter celebration, religious or otherwise. Just last Sunday I attended our Church’s Christmas program with Denice. It was great! The kids put on a good show, and the choir was amazing. Denice had a solo and she killed it! Of course it was all about Jesus, because that’s what they believe in. Do I believe that “Jesus is the reason for the season?” Um, no. I don’t. But I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying some Jesus flavored Christmas.

It’s thoroughly understood by theologians that December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. Well, at least it’s not any more likely that it is his birthday than any other day. That’s because no one knows when he was born. Celebrating “Christmas” on December 25th was something that the Roman emperor Constantine tacked on to Christianity when he took it over. The whole thing was probably a move to try to consolidate Christianity with the more widely practiced pagan traditions of the Romans who had a big festival at this time called Saturnalia.

So, whether you’re a Pagan and you mark the Solstice with your coven, or you’re a Jew and you do Hanukkah , or perhaps a German who observes Yule, or a Christian who loves them some Baby Jesus… this season is your season to celebrate as you please, and don’t let any uptight individual tell you any different. Boy, that was a run-on sentence.

No one “owns” this season.  I prefer to use the greeting, “Happy Holidays,” because there are many legitimate winter holidays, and I do not discriminate against any of them.

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.