Monday, February 13, 2012

Frozen Pipes and Curse Words

I had originally intended on posting this yesterday....I got caught up doing housework and watching the Grammy's, so it didn't get done until this morning! 

We bought our house in July 2007 - right smack dab at the end of a brutally hot summer and what would shape up to be a mild Fall.  The house we picked was in a neighborhood we liked, the neighbors seemed nice, and it was right next door to an elementary school  The most important feature:  The price was right.

August, September, October, November and December were some glorious months in this old house.  We painted rooms, moved in our furniture, and settled in.  In August, we found out we were expecting baby #1, so the room that was to become our office ended up being turned into a Noah's Ark themed nursery.

And with the glorious tribulations of new home ownership, also came many trials.  Specifically, one trial - over and over and over again.  I can't tell you the temperatures or how much snow we got during the winter of 2008 but  I can tell you, that every time it got below a certain temperature (freezing) that one spot in our household would freeze up like a computer with a dial up Internet connection.  It was the damn bathtub. Not the sink in the bathroom - not the toilet.  Just the bathtub/shower.  If anything were to freeze in the house and become useless - I would want it to be the washing machine - but no such luck.

Because we were to busy preparing for a new baby - we chose to ride this specific winter out.  "We'll get someone down there to look at it as soon as it warms up," my husband promised.  In the meantime, we developed a work-around.  We had got this huge set of stock pots for our wedding that we hadn't used yet:  we got those puppies out and filled them with hot water from our two working sinks in the bathroom and in the kitchen, and filled the bathtub up.  I washed my hair and face in the sink and my body in what was most of the time, luke warm water to say the least by the time we finished filling it with enough water to cover this pregnant girl.   It sucked having to bathe this way, and that is the understatement of the century.

Lets skip to the winter of 2009:  We had a 7 month old, and because we were very busy learning what it's like to be parents, we missed the spring, summer, and fall opportunites to either fix the frozen bathtub problem ourselves or have someone fix else fix it.  We were now back to freezing cold temperatures and blankets of the white stuff on the ground.  And guess what?  The exact same thing happened as above, except this time, my husband had this to say: "I'll go down there to look at it as soon as it warms up."  Insert scenario from above.  It sucked even more this winter because it seemed like it was frozen every three days.  I was beyond frustrated by the second winter.  You can bathe a baby fairly easily in a sink - but a grown woman does not fit easily into one.

Winter 2010?  Same problem, different circumstances.  During this winter I was 7ish months pregnant with baby #2.  And because we were to busy prepping for the arrival of our second child, my husband missed the opportunity to go downstairs, and try to figure out how to keep our bathtub/shower from freezing.  Again.  We had the same conversation about getting it fixed, except this time there were a lot more threats and curse words being thrown around.  It was essentialy a Deja Vu situation, but I was hoping with the amount of verbal threats I was giving - one of us would come to our damn senses and fix the curious case of the frozen bath tub.  My husband assured me that he had watched a YouTube Video and was certain that he could fix the problem with a little insulation and a space heater.

Fall 2011:  My husband bought a space heater and also sprayed this liquid insulation crap in what he perceived to be some pretty serious air leaks in our foundation and around the doors.  All we could do at this point was wait for the temps to drop to see if our trickery worked.

Winter 2011: Despite our best efforts, it didn't work.   And because we were busy, busy being parents to two toddlers, busy having jobs, busy in basically every aspect of life, we decided to wait and hope for a mild winter.  What did we get instead?  Brutally cold temperatures with record snowfall and a freaking blizzard in February.  We did the stock pot bath tub filler upper thing again for several days.  The kids bathed in the sink.  I washed my hair in the sink - thinking the whole time that I was going to hire a damn plumber and get someone out here to look at that damn bathtub.  Winter turned to Spring, Spring turned to Summer, Summer turned to Fall....and Fall took us to where we are today:

Winter 2012:
I was seriously hoping that the biggest hurdle I was going to have today was to clear the tub of all the toys left from the night before.....but alas:

Baby It's Cold Outside

Yep - that one ice cold trickle of water!

Pay no attention to the ring around the tub or the areas that need a good re-caulking:  pay attention to the tiny stream of ice cold water running down into the bottom of the tub.  Oh, wait - is it hard to see?  That's because it's basically non existent.  And that was our bathtub turned on at full force.  And that's what caused me to say "Son of a Bitch" this morning at 7:05 a.m.  My only hope now is that it does indeed warm up above the freezing mark today so I can shower at some point during the day.

"After I finish writing this blog about my bathtub mishaps, I will definitely be calling a plumber." - Cathe Johnson

Update:  While it did take awhile, the bathtub finally "unfroze" at approximately 1:22 p.m. on Sunday.  

Do you have something that goes south like clockwork?  Perhaps a basement that floods every time it rains?  A toilet that quits working at the most inappropriate time?  A light that flickers every time you plug the vacuum in? Comment below for a chance to make me feel better about my own failings as a homeowner!


  1. Well... a few months ago our shower and toilet clogged. I plunged one just to have it back up into the other. Oddly enough, it did not affect the sink. So, I broke out the trusty rubber jar opener and put it over the shower drain and stood on it... while leaning over and plunging the toilet. Half a day of doing this and pouring gallons of drano down the shower... and hooray, it unclogs...
    Until a week later when it happens again... cutting my shower short. Luckily, the toilet made the now signature "glug glug" alerting me to the water that was collecting at my feet (in our very shallow depth shower). This time, while the water would eventually seep away, no amount of plunging/drano/walmart root killer would actually fix it enough to render either the shower or toilet usable.
    So, unless we wanted to do our business outside, we were forced to call a plumber. Turned out it was a root problem that was promptly fixed and our ace of a plumber told us what to use and what to do to cure the problem the next time.
    Moral of the story... sometimes it's worth calling a professional (like when it's your only toilet).
    Of course, I could give you a tour of all the things in our house that we are quite happily ignoring... Someday we'll fix them. Right before we put the house up for sale.

    1. We have every intention of putting our house up for sale right after winter is over with and hope for quick sell!! Haha!

  2. You don't even want to get me started on what is wrong/goes wrong. But here is a couple things. The lights flicker when the washing machine is running, when it rains the skylight leaks into the bathroom, our house shifts so much on our slab so we have big cracks half the year on 2 of our walls and the grout in my tile keeps coming out (it hurts bad when you step on a loose piece). That is just a few of many many more.

    1. I feel ya! Our lights flicker whenever we run the vaccum. That's the reason why I rarely fun the vaccum! J/K!

  3. I love this! We have minor repairs, things like unpainted doors and trim and a half painted outside of the house. All things we have been "meaning to get around to" for the last 4 summers! Your explanation of how the conversation goes each year had me cracking up!

    1. Ha! I'm glad its not just us! Our half painted door is on the inside of the house! I doubt it will ever get painted at this point as it's been half painted just as long as the bathtub has been freezing!

  4. We had a big storm a year (or 2 or 3??) ago and it caused us to get a leak in the ceiling/roof in our bedroom. We kept saying we would get it fixed, but didn't. Seasons went by and we would just put a bucket under it when it rained a lot. We only ever got it fixed b/c we had a handy man at the house fixing something unrelated and I made him run up and take a look at it. Yeah, for no more buckets!