Thursday night it got cold here. Record cold. Minus-stupid, if you must know. Not as cold as it gets Way-The-Heck-Up-North, but c-c-c-c-c-c-o-l-d by Hamilton standards.
Friday morning I got up just after 5, shovelled snow, muttered about the cold, reminded myself that it was Outrage Free Friday, and went to start a load of laundry while the coffee brewed.
Except the washing machine wouldn't start. It hummed. But no water came in. I frowned. Blinked. Tried again. Nada. Turned the water temperature to warm - bingo. Hot - no problem. But cold - zilch.
The cold water pipe was frozen. That's a first.
Narrowed down the area of concern: checked all the other taps in the house, and they all worked. Unscrewed the cold water hose from the washing machine, and still no water from the pipe. Sooooo… only one pipe was frozen, thankfully. And it was mostly beneath the floor, less thankfully.
Texted Spike, who was in a blizzard in Ohio at the time. So he kind of had his hands full.
Texted my Dad (he's an early morning person like me, so he was up) - "Have one frozen water pipe. Is there something I should be doing?" He phoned me back immediately - "Put a heater in the laundry room." (I did) "Do you know where your main water line in is?" (I did) "Clear a path to it, in case your pipe splits and you need to turn the water off in a hurry." (I did)
Then he phoned back - "I'll be there in 40 minutes."
Here's what happened.
We warmed up the pipe. Dad started eyeing the floor and talking about wrapping the pipe for future freeze-prevention. Meanwhile, it started leaking.
Phoned a plumber friend, who happened to be in the area, and he verrrry-kindly stopped by on his way somewhere else. He and his son lectured that leak into submission, confirmed to Dad that he knew what he was doing, and moved on.
Dad had already thought ahead, stopped at Home Depot, and picked this up.
And THEN my Freaking Fantastic Saint of a Father - did this.
And then he did this.
And then he realized he needed to go the other way, so he turned around. Belt buckle got caught on a nail. Worked past it.
And then, wedged between the floor and the ground, he somehow spun his body to get his head around to the other end.
It's odd to interact with a disembodied hand coming through a hole in your ancient foundation.
There was a lot of muttering. I'm not sure if mild profanity was part of the muttering, but honestly, if it was, it was certainly excusable. Some further coughing and muffled instructions to go back upstairs and grab the other end of the tape from the little floor-hole the frozen pipe was coming from. Each of us stretched our fingers from our respective positions as far as we could to wrap it around the pipe.
Then he slowly spun, turned over and worked himself back out of the hole, an inch at a time. At one point he suggested that the hole was so tight to exit, he might have to leave his pants behind, but we're both happy to report that didn't happen.
Then he reassembled the floor.
Helped me move everything back.
Ate a bowl of beef stew, washed down with a cup of strong coffee.
Grinned and said, "Ok, that's done. … Whaddaya want me to do tomorrow?"
Standing to my feet with a long, slow, solemn clap, with an honouring nod in his direction.
My Dad. My Hero.