Sunday, January 04, 2004

Water troubles

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. First to January 3rd. Things were going well yesterday morning. We had plans for crafts and expeditions and social events. We wanted to meet my mom to go XC skiing. We got up, dressed, fed, bundled up, and set off. When we go to the trailhead near the lake it was way too windy. Windchill factor pushed the temperature way below the minus 13 Celsius we were dressed for. Noah had his hood, but had forgotten his hat. We drove home, got his hat, and set off for a different trail. By the time we got everyone out (the van hadn't really warmed up) Sophie was too cold from all the sitting around. She wanted to go home. I knew she just needed to get moving to warm up, but it wasn't to be. We went to my mom's place for hot chocolate.

Then we went home and had lunch. The kids did some imaginative play in the loft. Erin started work on yet another notebook of names and characters and an imaginary language. Noah and I tidied a bit. The kids did lots of playdough play. Then we started a major tidying/cleaning because we'd invited a friend of the kids' for a sleepover the next night. We phoned and made the driving/visiting arrangements for today.

For the previous couple of days we'd been flooding our ice rink. Our downstream neighbours had been having water supply problems, so we'd despaired of being able to flood the rink this winter. Then we were told they'd got a secondary line functioning and weren't relying on our overflow for their homes, so we started flooding. After 2 days (very slow flooding because we don't have much water inflow into our reservoir this winter) we were about halfway there. But then Ken from down the road dropped by yesterday afternoon and said their secondary line had quit functioning. So I shut off the tap and brought the hose in. Chuck checked our water inflow after supper ... very slow but still coming. I washed some diapers. Erin worked on planning our as-yet-imaginary future European vacation using atlas and some travel books.

Noah and Sophie did some math and practiced. Erin started her piano practising. We had supper. Erin finished her piano, did her violin and some math. We lost power and internet for a while. It came back on. We did the bedtime reading. We talked about doing some marbling on paper today.

This morning Noah got up early with me. He did piano practising and math and helped me do a bit of tidying. We used coins for place-value work with regrouping and he really enjoyed this, as he's recently become a fan of money. Fiona awoke. I did a bit of work on Erin's birthday gift (a custom-printed hand-bound journal with lock). She woke up so I tucked that away. Then the sleepover friend phoned to say she was feeling sick and they had no water, so they needed to stay home. Then Chuck phoned to say he'd checked our water on the way to work and it had stopped and our reservoir was only 2/3 full thanks to the load of diapers.


So today has been entirely focused on figuring out how to deal with the water situation. We need to bypass 350 feet of frozen pipe. Chuck is on call so it's hard for him to find the time and even if he finds it he can be called away at any moment. We have signs on the toilet and the faucets ("Think Water!", "Don't Flush!"). We talked about why spaghetti is wasteful of water but soup is not. Called the friend who runs the hardware store and put our name on a 300-foot coil of 1 1/4" PVC which we might be able to put in tomorrow. We talked about what mess-free, water-free crafts we could do.

It's really cold here today. About 0 Fahrenheit (minus 17 C). For us that's really cold and it's led to lots of physics-related conversation. I've lived colder places but our house and water supply are not really built for this temperature. We have large frost-cicles growing on the hinges of our front door. So we talked about the water-carrying capacity of air at different temperatures. We talked about the new low-e double-glazed windows we put in and how well they're working... our kitchen/dining area is actually habitable right now if you don't get too close to the front door. We talked about the drying and warping of the door that's causing the air leaks. We talked about possible ways to solve this problem. Settled on shoving towels all around the jamb for now. We worked out how many gallons of snow we'd have to melt to do a load of laundry (just hypothetically!). We discussed rate of flow vs. surface area considerations in choosing a diameter for a bypass water line that hopefully won't freeze (it'll all be above ground).

At least we can bathe at my mom's. At least I have half a pack of disposable diapers on hand. Small mercies worth being grateful for.

Sophie drew a neat picture this morning using the math set (protractor, compass, etc.). The kids have been cutting official-looking graphics out of discarded medical magazines and gluing them onto cardstock to make "credit cards" and "club cards" for their wallets. Erin is really into the idea of a European vacation and the possibility of actually seeing Venice and Rome and London.

I wish to announce a New Year's resolution. I've never made one before. I'm going to try to do 20 minutes of housekeeping every morning before going on the internet.

Yeah, it's not much, but this won't be easy for me. I am not by nature a productive morning person. I love sitting down at the computer with my coffee for a relaxing me-centred time but I don't like getting busy during my magical hour before the kids are up. But if I'm going to get a handle on the housework enough to keep me happy I need to change something, and I think I have to sacrifice some of that time. If I'm consistent, it will be over 2 extra hours of week devoted to tidying and laundry. It should make a difference.

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