Thursday, January 2, 2014

Frozen Pipes

This is Winterpeg, though the maps call the Canadian city "Winnipeg."  We've just finished the sixth coldest December on record with wind chills close to or below the -40 mark more days than not.  Yesterday we were colder than the North Pole and even Mars.  This is not weather for the faint-of-heart, such as the denizens of Hong Kong where a cold weather warning was issued the other day when the temperature fell to +17C (63F).

We live in a sturdy old house, built nearly 100 years ago and heated with a boiler.  That means we have water pipes through the entire house, circulating hot water through ancient and not-so-ancient radiators to keep us warm.  In the 30 years we've lived here, there has never been a problem but now there is.  Some of the pipes have frozen.  We've just had the entire house wrapped in insulation, upgrading from the woodchip insulation the house was built with and now we have problems?  Go figure.

You'd never know there was a problem with the heating if you were sleeping in our bedroom.  It's a sauna in there--so hot that when I took a nap yesterday, I had the window open about nine inches; yes, on the day it was colder than Mars. I'd gladly turn the temperature down but our son and his girlfriend are here for the holidays and she is one who, though living in this polar climate for several years, identifies more closely with those of Hong Kong who need cold weather warnings at absurdly warm temperatures.  With our heat cranked up, she is still bundled up in sweaters, jackets, blankets and hot water, even when sitting by the fire and because I love her, I tolerate the higher temperatures she needs in our house, including the sauna of our bedroom.

However, it is the room she is sleeping in whose pipes are frozen.  Poor girl!  There is at least one other room with frozen pipes but frozen heating pipes in the bedroom of a girl who needs a sweater at what most would consider room temperature is not good.

The plumber is here now, maneuvering his way through our much-too-cluttered basement to track where the pipes go and begin the thawing process.  He may need to cut holes in our newly-painted walls and ceilings.  Oh joy!

But God is good.  We do have heat.  Not all the pipes are frozen.  We're not suffering like the over 300,000 customers in Toronto who were without power after an ice storm hit two weeks ago, some of them for over a week (including one of our sons).  Nor are we suffering like others in Winnipeg, some of whom have no heat at all or whose water mains broke leaving them with cars frozen to the ground and needing to go to a central, outdoor tap (in this weather?) to get all their water supplies.

God is good.  While the cost of repair, and then repairing the damage created by the repair, will likely be frightful, we do have a financial cushion that can help absorb the extra dollars required.  We won't go bankrupt, lose our home or need to go without groceries.

God is good.  Even in the midst of crisis, he remains our faithful provider.  And while we wait for that provision, I sit and look outside at the picture-perfect winter scene of snow on peaked roofs, tall, bare, mature elms reaching into a clear, blue sky with those near chimneys covered in a delicate, white hoar frost, glad that I can do it from a still-warm home.


Crystal Thieringer said...

we're cold here too--almost that cold today. Our windchill is reporting in at -39 or something ridiculous that I don't want to look! We have some ice building on the bases of some windows, but that's all. My cat however, has burrowed into a tunnel of blanket. I'm beginning to think she has the right idea.

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

Where is "here," Crystal? I agree that you have one very smart cat. I was talking to a friend in Nepal where they have no central heating but it's also cold and hunkering under blankets is what they're doing to stay warm.

Crystal Thieringer said...

'here' is Ottawa, Debbie. I just read your note, and I am sorry for the losses you have endured. It has been a challenge for my family, but it spurred me on in my writing. Thank you for your kind words.

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

A fellow Canadian! How nice! And thank you for your condolences. You may (or may not) have noticed that I've done some writing on my son in my blog. Feel free to read!