It was about 7 a.m. when I heard the feared sound of water gushing.
A quick look outside toward the kitchen window confirmed it – I had a broken water pipe. And, not just any pipe, a hot water one.
There was still ice everywhere from the latest arctic blast on the South that had sent us running to our homes and left us in a deep freeze. Temperatures plummeted in the teens and 20s, bringing something to us that we know very little about yet still had to contend with if we ever wanted to take a shower or flush our toilets again.
And we definitely wanted those creature comforts.
When I heard the deluge, I emerged from my house like Punxsutawney Phil, the grouchy groundhog dragged into the cold expected to suddenly be an expert in something of which we have very little understanding.
I get it, Phil. We just want to go back to sleep. You don’t really see your shadow and I don’t really know how to fix plumbing so we just hope it all goes away.
It’s obvious we live under a great deception.
TV teaches us to believe winter is a cozy time of hot cocoa, warm blankets and lovely soups, but when the sleet and snow come it’s really just about survival. There are dangerous roads, closed bridges, wrecks, broken faucets, fighting the flu and, yes, gushing water pipes.
It even seemed pretty at first.
When the arctic blast rolled in, it formed a fascinating wave of white clouds on stormy blue clouds topped by wisps of lighter blue clouds. Facebook photos from others who saw it proved it was an impressive sight as it moved in. Then it all got tough.
As I headed to Larose from work that night, I dodged closed bridges and fought images of a frozen Cajun stuck on the side of the road with her hands still clutching the steering wheel – and maybe a Whopper.
But I persevered and made it home. I left my water dripping to avoid frozen pipes because that’s always worked in the past. By the morning, only the cold water worked and only got some strange groaning sound from the hot water faucet.
Once the panic eased (I’m not really mechanically inclined or even knowledgeable about this stuff), I still tried to be hopeful about the situation. I boiled water for a bath (it took a long time and it was like bathing in a puddle). I jumped into my warmest clothes and went to work.
But soon came disaster to my humble house.
My brother helped buy time until I could go to Lowe’s for parts, but it was scary. When I got to the plumbing department, I saw the brutal reality of what this weather had done to us all. People were swarming everywhere grabbing whatever they could to fix their plumbing, too. My brother managed a fix and for a brief, wonderful time I had hot water again.
That’s was until I noticed water dripping nonstop from the tub faucet.
My brother’s diagnosis – it’s all boogered up (I changed the language but you can imagine what this ill-tempered Cajun really said) and requires replacing.
Hopefully, today, he will do just that and I will again have my hot water, and then I can try to clean the grit out of the washing machine.
Yes, Phil the groundhog and I have much in common.
Neither of us really wants to deal with the bitter cold of this winter or believe that more of it is coming.