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Have an Affair with a Plumber: How to Prepare for Frozen Pipes

Have an Affair with a Plumber: How to Prepare for Frozen Pipes

The weather may be currently nice but during the last few months, the news has been full of helpful tips about how to keep your pipes from freezing:  Open cabinet doors, keep taps running, etc.  And I just have one thing to say about all of that advice.

Uh huh.  Yeah. Right.

After living in my house for over nine years without the slightest hint of frost on my plumbing, this year alone I’ve had to call a plumber twice to “shock” my pipes into action (okay, that sounded dirty, when I assure you it was just expensive.) 

When my kids ask why they can’t go to college, all I will have to say is, “The winter of 2013/14” and they’ll remember why.

Right now, the only thing I can figure is I owe a special thank you to the fox that made its home under my front porch during the summer, digging what is probably a large hole in the ground right next to the main pipe in my basement that comes in from the outside and feeds the rest of the house.  Even though the access point has been cemented over so that I no longer have this unwanted company…the hole has yet to be filled and is apparently trapping freezing cold air every time the temperature hits below zero.



Now I feel like somewhat of an expert on how to prepare yourself for the possibility of frozen pipes because I’ve learned that until I get this hole filled (probably come spring), no amount of cabinet opening or running water will keep my pipes from being uncooperative (and usually on a morning when every person in my family desperately needs a shower).  And since most of us in the US are experiencing a delightful little phenomenon called the “Polar Vortex” I’m sure I’m not the only one this is happening to.

So, here are 10 things you can do now to prepare yourself for frozen pipes tomorrow.  

1.  Be nice to your neighbors:  Sure, they may not be your favorite people.  Sure, they like to rev their Harley at 3:00 in the morning, let their dogs bark until you feel violent urges you’ve never experienced before, and borrow your crap and never give it back.  But keep in mind that someday you may be in desperate need of their plumbing.  So let the little things slide (that sounded gross with my previous sentence, but you know what I mean).

2.  Join a gym:  Not to work out, silly.  But that membership paid for itself a couple of months ago when I was two days into frozen pipes and no shower. I was just one more person who looked crappy on the way in and put-together on the way out.  So what if I skipped that pesky workout in-between?

3.  Have an affair with a plumber:  I don’t care what gender you are or if you’re single.  I want you to go to the nearest bar and flirt your way into the heart of any man there wearing a shirt with his name ironed on.  Believe me, there is a price on your dignity and it’s less than what it costs to unfreeze your pipes.

4.  Stop eating fiber.  NOW:  You have no idea how often you feel like you have to go to the bathroom until you don’t have immediate access to one.  Cheese, bananas, french fries – these are your friends.  You’ll thank me later.

5.  Potty train your kids:  Sure, I know that most kids know how to use a toilet, but they all need to be potty TRAINED when you have no flushing toilets.  All children need to know that potty times happen only between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM when they’re at school.

6.  Identify an interesting point on your wall:  You’ll need something to stare at while you wait for the plumber and wonder how this could have happened to you, how you got to this place in your life, and whether or not anyone will ever find true love on The Bachelor.  Finding that spot now will really take a load off your mind later.

7.  Make a Potty Map:  Take out a large piece of paper and draw a map of your neighborhood and the surrounding area, including gas stations, grocery stores, and the porta potty you know is outside your neighbor’s house while his kitchen is being remodeled. 

8.  Buy plastic dishware:  I have three kids, so I really don’t use anything else, but for you classier people out there, it’s worth a CostCo trip to stock up.

9.  Buy liquorSure, you’ll regret it in the middle of the night when you have to pee and you’re trying to read where Point A is on your Potty Map, but we all need to relax a little when something like this happens.

10.  Go back and buy more:  A couple more glasses and you can just pee in the backyard.


Catherine Tidd is the author of “CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIOCRE WIDOW” and the owner of She is a mother who always tries to find humor in distressing situations and continues to write so that she can keep her kids that she’s busy and they need to get their own snacks.

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Author: Catherine

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  2. Love it! Couple things – did you make sure the fox was gone for sure before you cemented in? And I would add to #5 – teach them how to go outside in a pinch. This way life will be easier with frozen pipes, but, you can also take them camping more easily.

  3. Oh, yes, Linda! We were very careful and made sure the fox had packed its little bag and vacated the premises. It wasn’t too happy about it, though! 🙂 I know I need to teach them to go outside, but with kids my age, I don’t want them to just take it upon themselves to do that at will – I need to teach them the appropriate times to pee al fresco. HA!

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