-24 below and Counting...

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Well, it's been a while since I lived through this kind of a cold snap for so long of a period, certainly not since I moved to Boston with my wife in the mid-1990s. So far this winter, we've dealt this frozen pipes to the kitchen at least four times. Personally, I'd rather be battling snow.

The danger of this kind of bone-numbing cold came through this morning, when I woke up from a sound sleep at 4:30 am, trying to listen for something.  I wasn't sure what I couldn't hear for a minute, but then I figured it out -- the K1 Monitor heaters had stopped running.  Not good on possibly (hopefully?) the coldest night of the year.


My wife and I were up and moving, stoking the wood stove in the living room and lighting the old wood cook stove in the kitchen for the first time this winter.  The 60 degree room temperature stopped dropping as the stove warmed up, and lighting the library fireplace took the chill out of the front rooms of the house.  The cats were more concerned about their daily allotment of half&half.  So, the fires were lit, the rooms were warming nicely, and the cats were milked -- all before 5:30 am.  And all before either my wife or I had a drop of coffee.  I think that was the worst of all.


We figured we'd run out of K1, (we knew the guage read 1/4 of a tank, and we'd had a fuel delivery scheduled for early next week) so we called our delivery company, and I went to work in the library, telecommuting to the warmer climes of Massachusetts.  Let's just say a fireplace in an old, 1820's house tends to only keep the chill off on the best of days; -20 degrees just creeps in everywhere, and unless you're sitting in the fire, some part of you just stays cold.


And I learned something about my electronic weather station this morning -- anything below -20 degrees just makes it go wacky.  At one point this morning, the outside temperature registered "OF", which I interpret as "Off the scale!  Stay inside!"  Or "Take the first flight to Florida and don't come back until March!"  Obviously, I need to upgrade my weather station to be more compatible with Maine weather (or Antarctica.)


The delivery truck came.  Doug, the driver, and I had a nice talk about why we lost our heaters when there was still a little less than a quarter of a tank (think long feeds and not enough pressure when the tank gets low) and an even nicer talk about our cats, especially the "little" kitten we took in this fall. She decided to get in Doug's face and introduce herself. She's very curious, and very round; the word "butterball" was tossed around a bit.


So, the alternate heat source is back on, maintaining a constant minimum temp in the house of 64 degrees. For that extra warmth, the fireplaces and wood stoves keep it nice and toasty during the waking hours.  We'll cross our fingers the pipes to the kitchen thaw out again, but we'll keep washing the dishes in the utility sink, where the water still works.  Once again, this old house keeps proving a challenge and a boon -- it really is the best of both worlds.  You just have to accept what comes along, and be prepared to enter survival mode occasionally.  Not so bad, really.

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on July 8, 2009 5:59 PM.

Winter Visitors ... 2 was the previous entry in this blog.

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend is the next entry in this blog.

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