Luck of the peas won’t last forever


To say it was cold last week might be an understatement. It was frigid. The wind, the temperature, the dampness...the old house!

Yep, it was pretty cold at our place. So cold that we opted to skip out on any New Year’s Eve celebrations and hunkered down with dripping faucets and blaring heaters in an effort to preserve those old water pipes one more time. We won. That round anyway.

Every year I promise myself that I’m going to re-plumb the whole house and every year I patch and plug and make do with an awful lot of already patched and plugged and made-to-do-with pipes. Time is running out, I fear.

My problem is that I really want to do everything all at one time. New kitchen sink, whole new bathroom from top to bottom, an outdoor shower off the kitchen porch and some septic work to boot. My other problem is that I get tired of crawling around under that old house quicker than I used to and when it comes to plumbing matters, my attitude gets even worse. Muddy, cold, wet, and down right nasty, are just a few of the printable adjectives that come to mind.

Add insult to injury and the thermometer read 10 degrees last Monday or Tuesday morning, one or the other. I wrote it on the kitchen calendar for historical purposes. Jeez, that’s certainly not the time to be fiddling with the pipes. Of course, if they burst there isn’t much choice.

As I said, we were lucky and got though the cold snap without any leaks, or blow-outs, or the like. It was a bit on the expensive side as I swear I could hear the $560 worth of liquid propane gas I had just had delivered being sucked out gallon by gallon. Oh well, the costs of old house living are out-weighed by the benefits...or so I hear!

At least the shower sprayed hot water, the bathroom sink allowed us to wash our hands and brush our teeth, the toilet flushed — praise the Lord — and when the dinner dishes were off the table and in the sink on New Year’s Day, the remains of the black eye peas, collard greens, mashed potatoes and fried chicken washed off with ease. Perhaps the luck of the peas kicked in.

Over in the capital city things are a bit different. Water pipes are bursting everywhere, streets have flooded and  frozen over and, believe it or not, toilets are still shut down this week in some places.

My daughter’s office is on the 11th floor of the Woolfolk Building in downtown Jackson. She sent me a text during one of the more frigid days last week, as if one day were indeed more frigid than the other. It read something along the lines of “ahh, the joy of working on the 11th floor with no water in the city and having to use the porta-potties outside in the cold.”

“At least the elevators still work,” I joked, “go have another cup of coffee!!!”

But Jackson’s water woes are no joking matter. There really are portable toilets in the streets of the capital city. There really are traffic lanes closed because water from bursted pipes froze over them causing hazards. Jackson Public Schools were closed Monday because of water issues. Restaurants have had to shutter their doors, because they have no water for prep, for serving and for clean up.

On Monday, the first day of classes for Hinds Community College, their Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center on Chadwick Drive was closed because the campus had no water.

Local news outlets in the city were reporting this week that over 100 water mains were broken and boil water notices had been issued for the entire city. The boil water notice is expected to last for at least another week.

Jackson State University and Millsaps College also cancelled classes and J-State officials said they would not start the spring semester until January 16, the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

On Sunday Jackson workers were handing out free water at various locations around the city but reports are that they quickly depleted the supply.

All that said, plus I expect there is plenty more we don’t know about all the way down to the residential level, missing out on a New Year’s Eve celebration was not a burden on me and my wife at all. We are pretty darn lucky to have had no problems, and I was a asleep on the comfy couch, in front of the fire, an hour and a half before midnight on the eve of the new year.

There is a first time for everything I suppose, but, perhaps I should move that plumbing work up on my to-do list right away. Wake-up call, one might say, and the luck of the peas won’t last forever.