OK. Enough with the snow.

It’s been a winter for the record books. We had significant snowfall in early December, recordable snow a few weeks later and then we got winter. We knew it was coming: the forecasters were predicting a hard freeze with sleet and freezing rain, but we didn’t really know how bad it would be. Southeast Texas was essentially closed for business yesterday when the roads became impassable. Overpasses and bridges were too hazardous for most drivers and there was ice on the roadways across the metro area. I worked from my home office.

The first precipitation was probably sleet, but there was enough of it to make a white coat over everything. Unlike our December snowfall, it was cold enough outside for the precip to stay…and it kept getting colder. We were in the teens most of the day, with wind chill temps in the single digits. More freezing rain and sleet in the afternoon, followed by some big fluffy snowflakes. A hard freeze overnight and for the first time since we moved into our house 22+ years ago, the water pipes froze.

It was a bad moment when I was getting ready for work this morning and turned on the shower faucet…and nothing happened. I discovered that some varmint had chewed away a chunk of insulation on the pipe going into the house and I speculated that the freeze happened there. My father would probably have gotten out the butane torch and hit the thing with a direct flame, but I opted instead for the hair drier method. But, boy, was it ever cold out, and after fifteen minutes with no obvious progress, I went in search of another option. My wife suggested the heating pad she uses when she has back pain. I wrapped the pipe with the heating pad and we wrapped that in turn with a big towel and let it run. An hour later, the water started flowing. No burst pipes, fortunately, and I plan to re-wrap the pipes tonight to keep that from happening again. We are barely above freezing now, and it’s going back down to the low 20s again tonight, with another hard freeze warning.

Schools remained closed today. This weekend it will be high 60s and low 70s. Can’t wait. But this must be the longest we’ve had snow on the ground in this region in a long time: over twenty-four hours.

When my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were home for the holidays, we had family photos taken. It was a chilly morning (not as chilly as this morning) but they turned out quite well. I don’t normally post pictures of my granddaughter to social media, but her back is to the camera in this one and I got special dispensation to use it! My daughter says it’s adorable, the elbow-patch pals. I think so, too!

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