A Bathtub Full of Snow

A Bathtub Full of Snow

This is my bathtub, and no, those aren’t bubbles. That’s a heaping pile of snow…

Last month, I told you how we beat the odds and had this amazing day of snow; remember, I live in central Texas—a dusting every few years is a big deal to us. Two days ago, we had a snowstorm that blew the one last month out of the park. And with it came some unexpected challenges.

Four inches. Count them, FOUR! I’ve never seen this much snow in my life. It was neat watching it come down late Sunday night. The kids, especially the nine-year-old, couldn’t wait to play outside. I still wasn’t feeling well, so Thomas let me sleep and got up with the kids in the morning. When I finally woke up, I was informed that we have no running water.

We tried calling a plumber we trusted but could only get voicemail. It said they couldn’t do any visits but were offering phone consultations. We left a message and went outside to see if any pipes were frozen. This wasn’t the easiest tasks since all our “exposed” pipes are wrapped in foam insulation and covered with insulation tape (to prevent freezing).

Since we live in the country, our water is supplied by a well. It gets pumped into a holding tank, then transferred to a smaller pressure tank next to the house. We’re checking the well pump, the pipes from the holding tank, the transfer pump, and the pressure tank. It was guesswork at best holding a space heater and hairdryer to various pipes, praying for something to happen.

In the meantime, the heater decided to stop working…no joke. We tried again to call the plumbers, who also deal with AC/heaters and replaced our units last spring. Voicemail again. Another message. One thing at a time. We went back to focusing on the pipes.

It took a couple of hours, but we somehow thawed the right pipe and began to get a small stream of water out of the faucets (YAY!). The celebration was short-lived, though, because when the transfer pumped kicked on, water poured out of the insulation on the pipe between the pump and the pressure tank—a sign it was busted.

Another call to the plumber. This time we were lucky to get ahold of someone and got put on the list for a tech callback for both the heater and the pipes. Obviously, we need someone to physically go out to get the pipes taken care of, but that won’t be until Thursday or Friday…if we’re lucky—more snow is predicted Wednesday.

Later on, we got our tech callbacks. They walked us through switching the heater to “emergency mode” (didn’t know about that option), and opening all our faucets to allow any possible water in the pipes to drain. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the only broken pipe is the one from the transfer pump to the pressure tank, but we won’t know for sure until someone comes out.

So, why the snow in the bathtub? Good question. Thomas went to the store before the storm and had the forethought to buy some bottled water (thank you, honey!). We have water to drink, but there’s one key necessity that we cannot do—flush the toilet.

There are six people in this house. There is no way we can go several days without flushing a toilet, but how do we do that without any water? Of course, we can’t use our precious drinking water. That’s where my hair-brained idea came into play: lets fill the bathtub with snow and let it melt. Then we can scoop water into a bucket and flush that way.

A Bathtub Full of Snow - girl looking up

Believe it or not, it works! The only problem is it doesn’t melt as fast as you’d think it would, but that is easily fixed by melting some snow on the stove. It’s not perfect, but it’s a doable solution given the circumstances. It’s amazing the things we can do with a little creativity and thinking outside the box. So, the next time you’re feeling stuck and maybe backed-up in a corner, take a breath and try to look at things from a different angle. Because you never how a bathtub full of snow could come in handy.

‘Til next time!

Amélie

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