Monday, February 7, 2011

The Las Cruces Report: Early February and a Deep Freeze, Part 2

In our recent sub-zero weather here in New Mexico, our pipes froze last Wednesday and thawed on Friday. That was when we knew we had a broken pipe and got the water shut off at the main. Here it is Monday now, and we are still without running water.

Oh, we've seen our wonderful plumber, Paul, who is still his handsome, cheerful self, in spite of being absolutely exhausted from dashing from house to house on his list, deciding who has the worst water/pipe issues and which ones can be easily and quickly repaired. While he was here, he disconnected and pulled out our hot water heater and located the problem pipe. Sadly, it is inside of a wall behind our refrigerator. Because our job will take longer than most, Paul asked for our patience and will get back when he can to start ripping out the interior wall.

This really has a Third World look to it, don't you think? Who has a hot water heater located outside? The heater is now in the backyard (yes, even more charming) and the outdoor shed walls and pipes have been ripped about in the search for the leaking pipe

In the meantime, we've learned a few things about our modern dependence on running water. Although, as desert dwellers, we are always careful not to waste a drop, we find that we take for granted flushing toilets, washing hands, shampooing hair, taking showers, and doing laundry. On the other hand, we've discovered just how little water we can get by with from day to day, especially after the local grocery store started running out of drinking water. 

We also found just how hard it is to clean up a kitchen full of the pots and pans used to prepare Beez's signature white lasagna, which he considers a "must-have" for any Super Bowl party. Yes--we decided to go ahead with our party plans, and hosted a wonderful group of friends who kindly carried in their own water for flushing, and brought us drinking water, too!

They were from the parts of the city that still had running water. Even though water was not a problem at their houses, they had all experienced rolling blackouts with no electricity for several hours at a time, as well as the fear of no heat in freezing temperatures, due to the state-wide shortage of natural gas brought on by the increased demands. That was a very scary part of our recent brush with an arctic storm--our utility companies just weren't prepared to handle unprecedented energy demands and their own instrumentation apparently froze up. 

There is a lot of anger at the electric company--after all, people had tvs and heat pumps blow with the electricity surging off and on. While I don't think the company is to blame for the results of the kind of weather that hasn't been seen in our area for 60 or 70 years, I am very worried that with global warming adding more moisture to the atmosphere (as I understand it) that these kinds of winter "aberrations" will become more common. 


JC said...

I am so so sorry that you have no water and no idea when you will get it again.

I know .. what is with the weather this Winter !!!

Nan said...

I wish I could run over with some water, a woodstove, and some wood for it, Clair. I liked your humor in spite of the problems.:<)

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Sorry, that you have your plumbing problems.

I was flabbergasted to hear that New Mexico had run out of natural gas. I'm in the natural gas business and most of the country is swimming in it. Our sister company is the leading gas utility in Oklahoma and Kansas. I know they spend a fortune in planning and infrastructure to prevent cutoffs of service.

I was talking to my Father about it and he reminded me that Albuquerque ran out of natural gas when we moved there in the winter of 1971 so this isn't a new problem

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I saw pipes and knew there was a problem. I'm so sorry... I hope that things are back to normal for you soon.

Linda said...

Looks like global warming is turning out to be global unexpected. All topsy-turvey weather conditions. People here live in dread of burst pipes - some of the older generation won't go away from home overnight in the winter for fear of coming back to a disaster.
It's such an upheaval - so sorry that you've had this.