Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh No! Frozen Pipes! *Epic*

Been rather cold here in the South this winter. Freakishly cold in fact. So cold that one of the outdoor faucets froze solid the other day causing half of the house to be without cold water.

"A HARD FREEZE in Southwest LOUISIANA?? You are making that up S4J!"

I kid you not. Here is proof:

See that it was already insulated with foam? And see the pile of pinestraw? I guess it had fallen away from the pipe and that was all she wrote. I piled it back up and added more to it. (Cause it's free and plentiful at our house.) Mercifully, last night we discovered that the pipe had finally thawed and we could run the dishwasher.

While loading up for church this morning, we first heard; then saw THIS:

Yes. That is a really expensive ice creation broken pipe spewing its contents for about 10 feet. Not knowing what to do about this, (I grew up in Southern California and have lived in Southern LA for almost 8 years now people! Give me some slack!) but knowing that someone at church would know what to do, we loaded back up into the car and off to church we went.

During Sunday School and then second service, we got advice about how to handle the situation and several offers of help.

When we finished church, we came home and the efforts began in earnest. People said, there is probably a separate shutoff for that water source since it is back at the barn. So I set out to find said shutoff and, well, shut it off. I checked all of the pipes/faucets on the back of the house. Nope. Then I tried here:

And I successfully BROKE.THE.HANDLE turning it to the opposite of what it was set on.


Then I went to the stinking gushing lame excuse for a faucet leaking faucet to see if I could spy a valve there. However, if you check the second picture, you will see that these pipes are cleverly disguised inside a wooden box. (which, you would think, would have protected those bad boys from freezing. Not so my friends. Not so.) The box ~ well-built by my awesome, handy, and very thorough husband ~ had no intention of going quietly into the night or peacefully giving up its contents other than the water it freely allowed to pass out of it in extreme fashion. So, I pounded the top off. Then found that I had to pound the front to convince it to open. While I was doing that, the strangest thing happened. One of the 2 faucets attached to the pipe was no longer attached to the pipe, but instead, flying through the air at a high rate of speed until the garden hose which it was still attached to wrestled it to the ground. I am sorry dear faucet.

Oddly enough, this did not stop the water from spewing. Not only did it not STOP the water from spewing, it seemed to encourage a much heavier flow of spewing.

And P.S. - there was no valve hidden in the box. Sorry honey.

So, okay - only thing left to do, shut it off at the main. *slightly defeated exhale of breath*
I went in the barn and grabbed some tools that I thought could possibly help me to man-handle the water valve to the entire house into the off position.

Have I mentioned that I was still in my Sunday best? Except for Hubby's boots which I changed into from my church shoes. So now you can use your mind's eye to picture me in my Sunday finery crouched in the middle of the front yard for the entire world to see (except you because no one took a picture) trying to convince the main water valve to shut off. While talking nicely to it, eh hem, I heard a car stereo. Then I heard a car door. Well, truck to be exact. In my driveway; and out climbs a big guy, and his little guy. This is the husband of one of the people at church I told about the fun we had this morning.

"I heard you were having a little trouble."
Thank you nice man for not saying, "I saw you crouching like a lunatic into a hole in your front yard and decided to stop and laugh up-close."

So, I walked him back to the spewing barn. Showed him all the places I tried to stop the water and he agreed that the thing to do now was to shut off the main. So we trekked back up there and he man-handled the water valve to the off position.

Then we returned to the scene of the crime. He grabbed the remaining faucet, and it came off in his hand. *HEY - it wasn't me this time Honey!*

He said many man things; "This is an easy fix. Need some pvc pipe. Cut it. Cap it off. Grunt grunt." etc. From a search of the barn, we determined that we did not have the needed supplies on hand. I asked him if this was something I could do myself and he said I certainly could. He graciously cut the pipe down for me with the hacksaw and instructed me on exactly what supplies I needed and what to do with them once I brought them home.

"Call if you need any further help. Goodbye." Thankyouverymuch!!. You have now joined the distinguished, "Heroes among us" alumni. God bless you and have a nice day.

I went to the local DIY/Hardware store and picked up a 1/2" pvc cap and some pvc cement.

I dried the pipe. Slathered it and the cap with the cement and placed it, followed by heavy tapping, onto the severed pipe. Not the most attractive work, but done is beautiful. Then I made my way back up to the water valve to man-handle it back into the on position. While putting the cover back on, a fierce red ant crawled up my sleeve and bit my wrist. OUCH! During the long walk back to the barn, I prayed that should the work not have been successful on the first try that I would not lose heart, or any now frozen appendages.

It worked!!! All spewing is gone!! Thank You Jesus!!

I re-wrapped the remaining pipe with foam insulation

and later, piled it high with pinestraw.

Here is the graveyard:

Unfortunately for my husband, when he returns home from war he will have to rebuild the faucets for use. I am resigned to not having a hose at the barn until then and also not having a live ice sculpture exhibit at the barn either.

The irony is that the ice that was formed during this fiasco was really quite beautiful. Sadly I was only able to snap pictures of it after I had finished my work and it had long since started melting.

After all that drama, I rewarded my hard work with an oven-baked sandwich from Domino's. Well done S4J and great friend from church! Well done.



Vindiciti said...

Good grief!! You can't do anything simply or unamusingly, can you? Hehe. That's part of why I love ya. BTW, if you have any other Epic Pipe Battles, my hubby is an Ace Hardware(nerd) expert. Let me know if you have any further bizarre pipe issues, and he will try to help if he can. Well, for the next month, anyway.

P.S. Only you could make something like this look beautiful through photography. :D

Gretchen said...

Mercy! I'd say you earned that sandwich and more. Well done, you. Great pictures of the ice, too.

His Girl said...

OH MY GOLLY! I had absolutely no idea you had such an adventure today!

I laughed, I sighed... you moved me, girl.

well written post, amazing photos. great job at being patient while I got back to reading this.

also, great job at not swearing or being a snit about the whole situation.

i swear your sick sense of humor saves your sanity more often than not.

i am so proud of you, and impressed by you and thankful for helpful churchpeopleshusbands.

and for that,I give glory to Jesus!

Red Lipstick Princess said...

Do you see now why I loooove the winter? Adventures like these just cannot be had any other time of year. What really made me laugh was that I could picture you in the middle of all this fiasco saying, "Oh wait! I have to take a picture of this because this is GREAT blog material!" And it was. Your ice sculptures are beautiful. I told the Picerne people that running water does freeze. Now I've got my proof. Thank you.

lisasmith said...

i am thoroughly impressed! you'd think this nasty southern freeze would kill fire ants but they're alive and biting in Texas too!!

Can't wait for the Daniel roller coaster experience with you =)

Sing4joy said...

Tell me about Lisa! That thing left an actual wound on my arm!! Looking forward to the SAFARI too!