Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Freeze of 2010 - Part I

My sad tale of the freeze starts with my painter. Being financially challenged, I paint one side of my house at a time. For the front I hired an excellent painter, and he did a fantastic job. However, he was expensive. I was having trouble saving up for the second side, which is almost totally windows - my house is brick. I finally talked myself into hiring a cheap painter - figuring he can surely do windows.

There is a cheap painter who has been used by several of my neighbors. Anyone who has used him always recommends against him. What wrong with him? He is sloppy and careless. He is really stupid and can't understand what you tell him. He is stubborn and does what he wants to. He comes and goes as he pleases and leaves his equipment scattered all over your yard. So why did they hire him? He's honest and he works hard when he's there - but mostly because he's cheap. So I hired him.

One day, I come home from work, and all my storm windows have been removed, and all my crepe myrtles have been trimmed totally back - on the sidewalk side only - apparently they got in the way of his ladders. But no sign of the painter. Two months later, my storm windows are still down, my trees are still lopsided, and the painting still isn't finished.

More on the painter in another post. The important thing is I have no storm windows on one side of my house. This house was built over 100 years ago, and the windows allow major drafts to come in. I was doing okay by basically closing off the cold side and living on the warm side.

Then came the Freeze of 2010. I don't know the statistics, but we have had temperatures below freezing for days on end. This is Mississippi, and we don't do freezes. We (and our houses) are totally unprepared. There is only one warm room in my house - the bedroom - but I can only stay there so long. The worse part is my bathroom. It's on the cold side of the house. I have a little heater in there - but it can't begin to fight the freeze. I can run in for quick trips, but going in for a bath takes major courage. Bourbon helps - but not before work in the morning. Washing my hair is like impossible.

I am getting more and more miserable in my little cold piece of hell - but I keep thinking it will be better the next day. This is Mississippi, after all, and freezes don't happen here. But it goes on and on and on. I keep checking my location on Google Earth to see if we've been moved north.

Then the worse happens. It gets even colder. We all think we are prepared: we opened our faucets and covered up our plants. But pipes freeze and then break all over town. I'm quite sure that won't happen to me. After all, when we first moved into this house, my Yankee ex husband went under our house and wrapped all of our pipes and put insulation all over the place, while I laughed at him. (I'm not laughing now.) But it was not enough.

This is getting too long. I'll have to finish this tale in another post.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I love this post -- gives me a little peek into your life. I told my husband it was 16 in Natchez and he said that's much colder than we have in England, and we've had several snowstorms in the past few weeks.

I hate to think of you not able to take a bath! Can you put a pic up of your house so I can visualize?