Monday, January 15, 2007

A Chilly start

1/15/07 Monday
We are off to a chilly start. It’s not so much that the house is cold because the bedroom was fine with the space heater and blankets, it’s not the forty degrees the kitchen was at, it's that there is no water. Somewhere the pipes froze, or I suspect so. There was water running at three this morning cause when I woke up I could hear it running in the bathroom. The wind chill is at zero degrees this morning so I am bundling up before I go out to investigate. I’ll first check the water spigot that is on the other side of the old grape arbor cause that should let me know if the problem is under the house or at the well. I’ll go from there.

It’s at the well. Right now I am having a hard time typing cause my fingers are pretty damn cold. Leroy, our well guy, had told me to wrap the well good because of the possibility of it freezing. I spent hours getting it done. Because we couldn’t afford to buy something as simple as insulation I wrapped it with layers of carpet thinking that would be enough. Evidently not. Thank God for the Home Depot gift certificates we got for Christmas. We are going to run into Midland where I will pick up some heat tape and a receptacle that I can wire it somehow into the pump’s electricity. Don’t have a clue what I’m doing there but I will carefully figure it out. To thaw this tank out I will take our burn barrel up there and get it cranking. That will provide some warmth for me as I work out in the twenty mile wind. We’ll also get some real insulation as it is only going to be colder for the next few days. Hope none of the pipes are broke. This could be a tough one.

So enough of the bad news. After laying in bed awake for an hour and a half this morning (since 3:00) I decided to go online. I had what’s called a “personal message” from the forum I participate in. It was from a lady in San Antonio. She said that they had just replaced their sink and had a stainless sink and nearly new faucet she would be happy to give us if we still needed it. She also said she has friends in Midland so would be happy to drive it up here when the weather breaks. There it is folks, the good and bad. The Chinese I believe are the ones who have the term “Ying/Yang to describe this balance between good and evil. I might have that wrong but that’s ok. The balance concept is one I try to use in my life anyway.

Well enough of that. We’ve got to run into the city. While there we will do our grocery shopping and take care of anything else we can while there. I’ll make use of a bathroom while there also cause flushing is a problem here now.

This will take a bit to record as I am a bit slow right now. It is 4:51. What a day. We pulled into Home Depot and I parked in the handicap spot as I always do using the handicap sticker I had from Ohio. Yeah, I knew it had expired but didn’t think nothing of it. We had picked up our mail and in it was a notice about a lump sum payment being issued from Minnie Lee’s civil service retirement to my brother and I. Pulling into the parking space I dialed the number on the notice to see how much and when it was sent. As I listened to the recording say they weren’t open due to the Martin Luther King holiday a yellow police car pulled up. I think it was one of those citizen patrol things but was marked Midland Police. An older gentleman got out, walked to the front of the truck, looked at my Ohio handicap sign, looked at my Texas license plates, and asked me to hand him the handicap sign. That was it. They took a picture and wrote me a ticket. Nuts. Looking at it I see a $250 fine listed for an expired handicap tag.

It’s working out to be a bad day. Going into Home Depot I am slowing down from stress as I usually do. We learn that they are sold out of the heat tape I was hoping to get to thaw the pipes. I pick out the cheapest roll of insulation I can find and try desperately to sort my thoughts, trying to figure out how to deal with the frozen pipes problem. I give up and Cherie led me to the checkout line where we paid for the insulation and a roll of duct tape.

From there we went to Walmart where Cherie did her grocery shopping. I was at the point where all I could do is push the cart for her. She would ask me about if we should get something or not and I couldn’t give her an answer. Fortunately she is familiar with this so didn’t ask for me to make any decisions after that. Getting out to the truck she did ask if I was in good enough shape to drive. That’s a legitimate question for when I get real bad driving can be hard. I don’t react fast and can get pretty confused. I’ve gotten lost in a parking lot before. I told her I was ok to drive, just would take it easy and slow.

We get home and unload the groceries. I emptied out the burn barrel and put it in the back of the truck. The only way I could think of to thaw out the well site was to set the barrel up close to it and keep a hot fire burning. I was going to use some scrap sheetmetal to attempt to focus the heat on the pipes. Just to check I went into the house and turned on the tap. Surprise! Surprise! We have water! What a relief. I had exposed the tank and pipes before we left so the sun could shine on them and that did the trick despite it still being in the high twenties.

This was a tremendous relief. We were looking at a big potential problem and Cherie was not doing well at all, especially after the ticket. By now I was clearing up some and seeing that Cherie let me know how she felt. She had told me several times not to use the expired handicap tag but I had ignored her. Now she let me have it and I deserved every bit of her tongue lashing. I know it sounds strange but I see her expressing herself as a good thing. For most of her life she has held things in and always tried to conform to what others wanted. Now she is standing up and saying what she thinks. That is a good, good thing. Perhaps I’ll learn to listen to her better. Actually it is easier to listen when she is talking instead of holding things in.

I spent three hours getting the well wrapped with insulation. Don’t buy the cheap duct tape at Home Depot cause it is worthless. Wouldn’t even come off the roll well and then didn’t stick to anything. Pure crap. If Midland wasn’t twenty miles away and our money so tight even gas is a problem I would have taken it back but it would cost more in gas than I spent on it.

Cherie fixed a fantastic chili despite the fact that I really didn’t deserve it. Now we are calling it a night though it is only 6:16 now. Cherie is worn out and already under the covers. I’m going to take Skittles some food and shut down the garage. Then I’ll join her though I’ll go online from the bed. Got another headache but that’s not unusual. I’ll be able to handle it unless it goes to migraine level.

It can be quite depressing when I get so slow it is hard to function. Makes me doubt I’ll be able to accomplish anything with this farm. The idea of living hand to mouth on this meager disability check is not an inviting one at all. I want to provide so much for Cherie, to give her the world. I’ll keep pushing on no matter what. Might have a few moments of doubt but they only last a short while before I make myself get off that defeatist attitude. Time to go online and see what’s going on in that world.

No comments: