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From the Farm

Thanks, Arnie, we found your note

January 28, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman

Blasted arctic winter!

When will it end? June can't come soon enough.

Every winter I find myself doing tasks that, in my opinion, are just a waste of my very precious time. Snow shoveling, pushing snow with the skid loader and thawing frozen pipes should not be my concern.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Shouldn't a refined woman, such as me, be worrying about her dry skin, cracked fingernails and cold feet during the winter?

Before we received 187 feet of snow, Joey used to help me with the shoveling, but he thought one little sidewalk path was just fine. My explanation of a smaller sidewalk after each snowfall was lost on him.

Several times this winter I have had to sit in the skid loader to move snow so tractors, trucks and cars could move around our yard. If I still had my Jeep Commander, I wouldn't push any snow; I would plow through it, and wouldn't even chip a nail or get cold feet.

I have also had to deal with frozen water pipes.

This was the second time this winter that I found myself unable to take a refreshing Japanese Flower Blossom-smelling shower in our main-floor bathroom.

When the pipes froze the first time this very winter, Steve and I had a heated discussion about properly fixing frozen pipes.

During that "dialogue," I was the one that wanted to go to town to purchase some heat tape for installation before the next Arctic blast.

Steve very nicely asked me to wait, because he had this brilliant idea on how to fix the issue without spending any money. What were his tools of trade? Quite simply: a small desk fan, a piece of tag board and one rather large, orange beach towel.

What was he thinking? Who would use a beach towel to fix frozen pipes?

I let him toil away to construct his solution while I went to Runnings to purchase heat tape.

By the time I returned home, the pipes were thawed and water was freely pouring out of the shower head.


What could I do?

I saved my heat tape for the day when Steve's invention met its demise.

I had to wait but a few weeks.

Sunday morning was a glorious day. Joey turned on the faucet in the shower and was hit in the eye with one tiny drop. We were again waterless.

That very day, my hubby was feeling a bit under the weather and was thus rendered entirely useless. It was up to me to slither into the crawl space and install the heat tape. I had to prove my point. Heat tape really does work better than a fan, tag board and one over-sized beach towel.

I don't like that entering the crawl space. In fact, I find it rather repulsive. If I could wear a beekeeper's suit when I cross the threshold into the dark, creepy space, I would still get the willies. That hole reminds me of a cobweb-infested tunnel in an Indiana Jones movie.

I was so frazzled by the time I actually entered the crawl space, I could have cursed anyone that ventured past the two-by-three foot hole.

In fact, I shout curses at Lilly, the Great Dane, for looking at me through that hole like I was a dunce and blocking all the daylight.

I started the tape-wrapping process. Of course, I wanted it finished before I even started, but wrapping heat tape takes a lot of my precious time.

My attitude was sour. So sour even a Lemon Head would have been sweet.

I didn't value the fact that I would now know how to install heat tape. I didn't welcome the thought of being able to use the first-floor bathroom. (I have three other toilets and another shower and one bathtub in my house, and they were working.) And of course, I didn't need cobwebs to give my hair that healthy shine.

Who knew you could find inspiration on a drain pipe leading away from the toilet?

There, like a long-lost PVC petroglyph, was a penciled-in, personalized note.

"Hi Folks," it said, "from Arnie." It also included a comical drawing of a person.

That made the Lemon Head sweet.



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