January 13, 2011: Day Three of the Drought

As expected, no water again today.  We knew that there was no possible way of having water today as it was only twenty four degrees outside last night so rather than potentially getting better, we are getting worse day by day as more and more of our pipes continue to freeze with nothing that we can do about it.  We have high hopes that with the extended period of above freezing temperatures today that are supposed to start around eleven this morning and last for about twelve hours that we might have just enough heat energy to get a trickle of water through the pipes.  Once we get a trickle, we should be okay.  But as we have been frozen solid for three full days now, it might take a lot more than that for the pipes to actually thaw.  This could be very bad.

Tomorrow we are predicted to be in the high forties, nearly fifty degrees, with lows only barely dipping below freezing.  In theory, everything should be thawed by tomorrow night but no guarantees, of course.  Today is probably pretty unlikely.  Our plan is to blast the garage with the forced air heater today and to heat the pipes in the atrium area with the smaller electric heater to see what we can do to spread some heat down the metal to the pipes underground.  I’m guessing that we have a fifty percent shot, at best, of getting water today.  This is no fun at all.

On top of that, the cockroach that we have had captured for well over a week that we thought was about to die when we first caught it is doing better than ever and wandering around attempting to figure out an escape from his confinement.  What a pain.

Dominica had an eight in the morning doctor’s appointment in Irving this morning so she was up and out of the house around seven while I stayed home to watch Liesl and Oreo and to look after our disaster of a house.  I was going to take Liesl down to the apartment in Las Colinas so that we could use the facilities there but when I went to get her ready I realized that Dominica had taken the Acadia rather than the Mazda and had left me without a means of transporting Liesl so we were stuck in the house.

Liesl and I hung out until Dominica got home around nine thirty or so.  She ran to the store and picked up some emergency water while she was out to make sure that we would have enough to get through the day.

I worked from home the rest of the day.  Around eleven thirty the temperature outside finally rose above freezing.  Time to kick on the heaters to see what we can do.  We are forecast to have a twelve hour stretch during which time it might be warm enough to get a real thaw and get the water moving from wherever it is stuck.

I worked for a while.  Then, in the early afternoon while making a pass through the house doing an inspection, I took a peek out the back door just to be safe.  A glitter caught my eye.  In a flash I realized that the glitter was flowing water in a large pond that had formed in our back yard.  About a third of the yard was under water!  Well, it would appear that we have water now.  Unfortunately it is all in the yard and none is in the house.

So Dominica and I ran out to inspect.  There is indeed water.  Lots of it.  Not just on the ground but there is a geyser spraying horizontally out from the copper tubing leading to the, as we were informed, defunct water softener that sits outside in the yard.  Apparently this piping is still in use contrary to what we were told before buying the house.  Some sort of cap or valve must have blown off of this portion of pipe causing the leak.  It isn’t really a leak, it is completely open tube.

Fortunately there was a shut off valve right there and I was able to turn off the water.  I found the “leak”, stuck my finger into it as well as I could and turned the water back on.  This produced enough pressure to get water to all of the faucets in the house proving that this was the problem and that our water was working.  Looking at this piping, it is no wonder that it froze.  This is completely exposed copper pipe just sticking a few feet out of the ground. Of course it froze.  We can see that the previous owners had had heating tape and insulation on this pipe at some point but not for a while.

We weren’t sure what to do with the broken pipe, though.  So we called the plumber that we had come out two days ago but they weren’t answering their phones.  So we called Dwayne the contractor who had been over two days ago as well.  He was over to the house in fifteen minutes.  Shortly after he arrived, Maggie arrived who had been planning to work with Brian for the afternoon.

It took less than an hour before there was water in the house again.  Hallelujah!  You really don’t realize what a problem it is not having water until you don’t have it.  The number of things that you do every day involving water is unbelievable.  Just watering the plants becomes an ordeal.  Now we can shower, do the dishes, do the laundry, water the plants, etc.  And now we can get back to cooking at home which we had been trying to do but had to stop once we lost water.  Something always seems to stop us from being able to cook for ourselves.

Now to get back to normal life.  Before it got dark, Brian and I ran over to Home Depot to pick up new insulation for the copper pipe which Brian put on.  The “new” pipes are much lower to the ground and will be easier to insulate and now that we know where the problem is we should be pretty good.

We spent some time with Dwayne as well going over plans for the garage conversion which he will be doing.  It’s not technically a conversion, since that was already done before we bought the house, it is just a repair of that conversion with every little thing being replaced.  When we are done it should be really nice in there.  But there is a lot of work to do.

Dominica cooked dinner and did dishes while I showered.  It is great to have our house back!

Leave a comment