Monday, January 24, 2005

Winter, finally

We got our first appreciable snowfall over the weekend. It started about 11:30 on Saturday, I just got back in time to get up my hill without trouble. Then it kept snowing heavily through the afternoon and night, totaling about 12 inches (30 cm). Luckily it was a Sunday morning; commuting would have been a mess.

I got up and out early to clear my sidewalks and driveway. All around the neighborhood was the whirr of snowthrowers, but my walks and driveway are small enough to do by hand with a shovel. I don't mind shoveling if I'm not in a hurry, it's pleasant work, although I'm feeling it in my back today. I was tempted to stay outside and play after I was done - I haven't made a snowman in years - but it was also very cold and windy, and I wasn't sure that my toes were still attached, so I went inside.

Later last night, the temperature dropped even lower; -1F, about -17C. My kitchen sink pipes froze, as expected, but the worst was yet to come. The soil pipe froze at the trap where it exits the house (the cold air goes down the vent pipe) and backed up my downstairs toilet. It didn't overflow into the bathroom, but instead geysered out of my utility sink in the basement. As I went to work on the trap with a propane torch, I heard more water splashing out of the sink; I had forgotten that I had a load of laundry going! So now the dirty water was joined by soap suds... argh.

I finally got the trap open again, and put a space heater there to keep it flowing until things warm up, and swept the dirty water down the French drain (THAT still worked, thankfully). Now I have a dehumidifier running in the basement, and a humidifier running in the bedroom. Ah, the manifold joys of home ownership.

I should have made the snowman. Plenty of snow left, maybe I'll pick up some carrots on the way home.