January 4th, 2016

st. jude

Thank You, Marilyn! Thank You, St. Jude!

Yes, the TIME is correct: It's currently just past 4:00 a.m. NO, Marilyn and I have NOT been to bed yet tonight.

Remember my last entry? I mentioned that I thought one of the outdoor spigots wasn't covered. It wasn't. So I went outside, using my walking stick (Marilyn suggested that!), walking carefully on the snow that's now covered with a thick coating of ice from the freezing rain. And sure enough, there's no cover! I've brought one from the garage, so I manage to get it on. But there's a coating of ICE on the faucet that I'm breaking free...

I go back in and Marilyn and I talk and I decide I should have tested the faucet by turning it on. So I head back out and repeat the walking with the walking stick and so on. It's VERY slippery out there. And I get back inside to relate the bad news: I turned it on, but nothing came out. We've got a frozen pipe!!!

Marilyn goes right into action. She remembers doing this many times when we lived at home with Mom and Dad. We were always having pipes freeze! And she takes a hair dryer and starts working on the pipes down in our laundry room. I'm in and out and I finally decide I should turn ON the faucet and leave it on. But I don't want to leave it entirely uncovered. So I take this hand warming thing and activate it. Then I put it on the faucet and I wrap it up with a towel. (I used to always wrap the outdoor spigots with rags and tape in the old days.) I need to leave the faucet part uncovered for when the water frees up and comes out -- but cover the rest.

Meanwhile Marilyn is working away. She has to stand on a step stool and lean across the downstairs fridge, with her arms way up in the air holding the hair dryer! I can only imagine how painful and exhausting that has to have been!!! Plus there's dust there from the damn ants coming in around the fridge (even with spraying I can't keep them away).

That spot -- which is close to the front porch -- is where we originally had an ant issue when we moved in. The previous owners had to have them drill down through the porch (which was only concrete then) and spray into the porch. Since then we had the porch covered in stone. But that area has always been a magnet for ants. Not sure WHY.

Anyway, she takes a couple of very short breaks, as it's tiring and she's so allergic to the dust!

I keep going in and out to check things outside. I've been walking from the garage (in and out the big door for the car) around the front of the house, because that's flat, at least. I'm nervous about going down the porch steps, as I took one hell of a fall in the last house down porch steps when there was ice from freezing rain. (I still have an injury from that fall today.)

But I suddenly decide I can go out the front door and lean over and LISTEN to see if the water is flowing.

Meanwhile, I go in the living room and PRAY VERY HARD to St. Jude for his help. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to asking him for help. But I prayed several times. Then I went back outside. It was hard to know what was up inside the house, as we've got water running in the kitchen and my bathroom, as well as the laundry room sink. Thankfully, considering! It's not uncommon for people to get more than one pipe frozen when it happens, after all.

I'm out on the porch and I swear I heard a drop in the bucket I have under the faucet. Then I swear I hear another! But that's it. So I go back in the house and downstairs to talk to Marilyn. I'm talking to her about the various pipes and what I've heard and I point toward the window that's right near the pipes and I suddenly see water POURING HARD from the faucet!!!

Now I'm trying to RUN upstairs, and tripping over my own feet in my haste to get outside and turn the spigot off!!!!!!!!

It's quite a mess, as I left it on more than I should have, and the water is really coming out hard. It's filled the bucket and poured on the ground and made the area near it sopping wet and slushy (snow and freezing rain). I get the towel and hand warmer off so I can turn the faucet and finally shut it down. Then I put the cover back on and move the bucket full of water. I'm pretty soaked! Boots, socks, feet, the bottom of my pants.

I'd already noticed a difference with the kitchen sink, by the way. As Marilyn heated the pipes, the faucet of the kitchen sink had been flowing more freely -- and no longer made that SOUND that tells you the pipes are starting to freeze (which I'd noticed all day long). The water also seems to be better in my bathroom, too...

Is this all because of the missing cover??? We've never had our pipes freeze in this house. We don't even run the cold water in Marilyn's bathroom (sink or tub), and it's fine. Those pipes appear to be well insulated.

But the pipes in the laundry room? They're right up against the outside wall of concrete, just under a window that's not insulated!

I'd mentioned to Marilyn how COLD the laundry room seemed the last few days. I know it's not a warm room, but I don't ever recall it being this cold before.

I guess we need to think about those covers for pipes that you can slip over them. I read a lot about the outdoor spigot -- and several times saw that they didn't think those covers we use actually work. Yet we never have trouble when it's covered. I'm pretty convinced it wouldn't have frozen if I hadn't forgot to put the cover on.

That faucet comes out of the brick planter that's on the side of the porch. I'm guessing the pipes are simply buried in the soil that fills it, but it's hard to know for sure. I touched the bricks many times, and they were VERY COLD. But soil can actually be very insulating.

Should we winterize that window? We've never done it before and we've lived here for more than 20 years with no issues. But if it would avoid something like this, why not?

Well, I'm VERY TIRED now and ready to head to bed. I'm grateful to Marilyn and St. Jude for fixing this situation -- which shouldn't have happened in the first place. Again, it's not like me to forget to cover that spigot!!! I've been pretty damn good about both outdoor spigots (the other one was covered from last year), as a rule.

The miracle here was that BLOGGING somehow made me think about it! And check it. Because otherwise we could have had a nasty surprise, if that pipe had burst!

And THIS is why I'm adamant about running the water when it's freezing or colder! Because we had a pipe burst in our house back on Fessenden street -- in the part of the basement that had dirt floors. What an awful thing that was! It happened on Christmas Day one year -- when there was no way to get help from a plumber. It made a HUGE HOLE in that room in the basement! I remember it like it was yesterday (and it must have been three decades ago, at least).

We're very blessed. I'm so glad we're NOT dealing with flooding this year. All that rain, and now this -- and we're doing fine. I'm going to do a lot of praying about my gratitude, believe me!

Oh! It probably helps that we blessed our house today! I didn't think about that before. (smile)

Marilyn was so calm about all this. She remembers always feeling that it was no big thing to have frozen pipes -- because you could always thaw them (which she did many, many times). I must have helped, but I think it was HER THING, if you know what I mean. And my memories go back to that burst pipe, rather than the times we fixed things without serious issues...

Good night, my friends. May all your pipes stay perfectly warm and working!

(I hate freezing rain so much. More than I can ever, ever say.)
coffee please

Just Keep Yawning! Hahaha.

It's heading toward midnight. I had a short nap after dinner and just woke up around 20 minutes ago. And I can't seem to stop yawning! Oh my.

I did get up around 9:00 a.m. this morning and did my blood and so on. We didn't turn the heat down very far last night, considering all the woes of the frozen pipes. Hahaha. But it was cold enough to need to be turned back up. So I did that and went right back to bed! And didn't get up again for hours. But remember, we didn't go to bed until around 5:00 a.m.

For the record, I DID go outside at one point today and took off the cover so I could test the outdoor spigot and be sure it was still working just fine. I can't believe what a great sound it was to hear water hitting the inside of the plastic bucket! Hahaha.

I put out more seed for the critters and pulled the ice off the top of the water dishes and refilled them.

While outside I chatted with a young mother who had her big dog and two children out for a walk. She was nervous, because drivers seemed to be moving too fast -- and were losing control! They'd suddenly be going sideways, and she worried that they could jump the curb! I don't blame her for that. The sidewalk in front of our house wasn't shoveled -- no kidding! It wasn't like I was going to risk falling to clean it off. The tiny girl was in one of those snowsuits little kids wear and looked like a pink puffy cookie or something! Hahaha. The older girl was also bundled up -- they both looked darling. Poor Mom! She had to take that dog for a walk, and couldn't leave the kids home alone while doing it. I really felt for her, while chatting with her. (I did convince her to head back home, at least...)

I also chatted with Barbara and John while outside. They were out walking somewhere. It seemed like the choice people were making today, in order to avoid driving.

Trying to think WHAT else I actually did today, aside from watching TV and playing with my iPad...

I phoned sister Sue to check with her. Her son Larry fixed her front door, which has been messed up for some time now. That's a good deal! He came over with Mady, Levi and Abby (wife Tammy stayed home). Wayne (now deceased) had tried to fix the door a couple of times, but failed. It's really a pain when your door won't close properly!

And I spoke very briefly to friend and neighbor June -- she was leaving to go to the doctor. Husband Jim had already been out in the morning for an appointment, so I guess they weren't too worried about driving. But I was praying hard for them, even so! It was just a nasty day to be outside, that's for sure. (I didn't hear back from her, so I have no clue how that appointment went...)

I finally forced myself to color my hair. Gosh, it's a pain doing it.

I never realized in the past how LUCKY I was to be coloring my hair before it changed so much. I'm pretty sure the changes aren't just about aging. Actually, I think it's more about medical/health conditions -- plus the damn medications I have to take! I just remember how different my skin and hair were after I went on diabetes medication for the first time. My skin was crepe-y and awful and my hair was falling out by the handful. Thankfully those things have improved a TON. But there's something that goes on with the actual texture of my hair!

Anyway, it's odd how hard it is to wash the coloring out of my hair now. That never used to be true. Maybe it's partly due to how hair color has changed (it has) in recent years. But I just rinse and rinse and rinse -- and then I actually have to shampoo to get it all out! Weird. If you don't color your hair, trust me that you can't leave the extra color on the hair.

But when I got done today, it was nice how silky the texture felt! I just kept running my hands through my hair. (smile) I was trying hard to focus on a root application -- which is more difficult than it sounds. I wanted to avoid the length of the hair, because otherwise it gets too dark on top. It looks pretty decent, I guess. Hair color just doesn't absorb like it used to. And I keep blaming it on my white hair -- but now I think it's more about meds.

Medicines DO go into the hair shaft, after all! I'd forgotten that. Anyway, I'm not sure WHY, but it makes me feel better to think that my issues with coloring my hair are about the medicines and supplements I take. I know I've always been pretty decent at putting hair color on my hair, but it's been far more difficult in the past five to ten years...

One of my New Year's Resolutions for this year is to try and keep the kitchen more cleaned up and picked up. I just like the entire house much more when things are nicer (who doesn't?). It's harder to do than I would think, actually. We're often tired out, so it's an easy thing to be lazy about putting things away and picking up and cleaning up. We'll see how I do with this goal!

I want to get back to getting rid of things around here and organizing more. I've been pleased with how that's gone the last couple of years, so I want to continue in 2016. It's so easy to feel buried with stuff. Hahaha. Yeah, yeah, I'm not a real hoarder. But I still feel I'm a boarderline hoarder. My tendency is to KEEP things -- even if I haven't used them in years. Even if I don't know how I'm going to use them. Often for sentimental reasons!

For example: If I go somewhere and have a good time, I might want some souvenir of that event. And it could be something like the plastic sword or paper umbrella that's in a drink! That's just an example, but I seriously keep a ton of things like that...

And if something is tied to someone I love, it's much harder. Especially if that person has died. This is one of the reasons I love Christmas and all the decorations so much! Tons of them are very, very sentimental for me. They're old, but not valuable, per se. I just love them because they've been around since Mom and Dad got married, or belonged to Grandma Elsie, or we've had them since we were kids.

Speaking of, I have all these things Marilyn made as a little girl. Mom was great about keeping these things. I need to take photos and share, because they're GOOD! (smile) Mom would be delighted that I didn't just turn around and toss them out.

Well, we're back to WORK tomorrow. Vacation is over. And I have a new person to train. Heck, I have a new person starting who doesn't have a user Profile yet -- and once it's created, I need to set it up on her computer! Lots of work.

The weather is still a HUGE MESS here. It moderated some today, but it hasn't cleared away. And it's due to re-freeze tonight! Plus we're supposed to get more freezing rain tonight. But we already know Portland Public Schools are opening two hours late tomorrow (meaning we're due to work by 10:00). I'm pretty concerned about what it will be like getting there. (sigh)

Marilyn isn't worried. But I was outside many, many times last night -- and I know how crappy it was trying to walk on the ice. I hope driving isn't that bad. Plus we do have to walk on it once we get to the office...

I don't think I mentioned that Donn took a fall in China and broke his wrist! (He was riding a bike at the time.) Denise told me. She had to take in the equipment he got ready for me -- another task I have waiting for me at work! I need to set up those computers.

I hope Donn's doing okay. I should text him and see what's what. I mean, Jeff got pretty messed up when he broke his wrist...

Oh! And I did read out loud a little today. Love doing that. Not that much, but a little.

I guess it's bedtime soon, anyway. Good night all!