Opinion: Off to a frozen new year


Commentary by Ward Degler

So, what’s been happening in my neck of the woods since the dawn of the new year? It’s not a rhetorical question.

First, we discovered what looked to be water damage while moving some furniture to paint the walls in one of our bedrooms. A closer inspection by an expert revealed we had an infestation of termites. The treatment was expensive.

Next, while preparing another room for painting, we discovered sawdust on the windowsill. Another call to the experts, who told us we had a problem with carpenter ants — more expense.

Then it got below zero outside. Every winter, I put an electric heater out in the garage next to the water pipes to keep them from freezing, which they did one year when I was away, and a neighbor kindly came over with his torch and thawed them out.

This year, I thought we were covered. It never dawned on me that after numerous winters of faithful work, the heating element in the heater might give up.

Which is what it did on the coldest night. And our pipes froze.

Actually, a collection of pipes runs to a filter, to the pressure tank and to the water softener. They all froze, and, failing to thaw them with our torch, we had to call a plumber.

After the plumber left and we had water running from every faucet in the house, we held our breath, waiting for the next disaster. Nothing happened.

It’s been a week, and still nothing. The house is warm, the water is running, we have two heaters warming the pipes now and we are starting to breathe easier.

It’s still January, and February has a reputation for unexpected severity. Still, considering that almost everything that can happen has already happened, I’m mildly optimistic.