Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crisis Averted

There's just something better about any disaster or “challenge” when it's written about after the fact, rather than in the middle of the crisis. At least that's the way I feel about it. While I'm given the “opportunity” to stretch myself, discover how my character has a chance to further develop under adversity, I just don't feel much like sharing the news. I'm too taught, wound up and ultra focused on getting myself out of the particular mess that I'm in.

Messes come in all shapes and forms, some are minor but seem horrific at the time, others are life threatening and many are damaging on other levels. This time, I'm just talking about common crises that pop up in most lives, although they may be different colored for different people, depending on their circumstances.

Now that this crisis is over, I can talk about it. Living off the grid, east of the Cascades means that our winters are somewhat colder than those in the Sponge, ie Portland, Seattle and significantly colder than Florida, California etc. Don't like hot buildings, it's much healthier living in European style room temperatures. I like indoor temps around 62 degrees, maybe 65, but any warmer than that and it feels too hot. Besides viruses survive in warmer temperatures.

Living in a log cabin, with radiant floor heating sounds plenty cozy, and it normally is. Except when something goes wrong as it recently did. No noisy furnaces blasting uneven heat everywhere...just a gentle warmth that is everywhere.

The other night, why do emergencies always happen at night? We ran out of water. Nothing new there, we pump from a private well into a 1,000 gallon holding tank. While that system could be automated in a perfect world, there's just something about 40 dogs, horses, cats, chickens etc that keep us from enjoying any type of perfection. Back to the story. When we forget to pump into the holding tank and use all of the water we run out. Sometimes we forget when we pump, since summer brings more water usage than does winter.

I knew that we shouldn't be out of water yet, I remembered this time, because during winter I have the thrill of hauling 300 feet of water hoses around to water animals and then draining that same 300 feet so it will be ready for the next water. About every other day during the winter is what it takes to keep water troughs and buckets full. So running out before that was a clue that something was wrong.

Well trouble shooting what that something is can take awhile. We put on the thinking caps first, checking the most obvious, ruling them out one by one, until we're left scratching our heads. Maybe we better check the radiant floor heating since we noticed our indoor temps starting to drop. OH NO, there was a minor flood. Not a big deal, it's in an unfinished part of the house. Well, ALL of the house is unfinished, but this is in an unfinished AND uninsulated part. Not a bit deal after all, a hose clamp had come loose and pumped out all of our water and drained our holding tank dry. Refilled and watched and waited, but the temps wouldn't start to regain.

When we're already at 62 degrees inside, it doesn't take long before it starts to get a little chilly. The indoor pooches look at us and prefer laying on couches instead of the cooling floor. I put on another layer of clothes, then the hoodies. We just can keep the water temps up going into the heating system, and they're dropping on the out flowing line. Not good.

Bingo, after 2 days, we figured it out. Bleed the lines to get the air out. So we drained the lines, refilled and then slowly watched the temps start to raise. So once again we're smiling.

Yeah, it wasn't a death sentence, temps outside were in the teens and 20's, but what if the temps dropped before we could get things figured out, then we'd be looking at a real potential-pipe-breaking-mess. But then I remembered that old saying:

“bridges you cross before you get to them are over rivers that aren't there”