Status Umbilicus, or The Hose Knows…

The quote of the day on the news stations:

“There’s no place to PUT it!”

The snow, that is.


(As of about 3:45 p.m. today, there has been 80 (yes 8-0) inches of snow dumped on the Boston area. Eighty Inches!)

The mountains and mountains of snow that are piling up, up, up to the sky… They are everywhere.

Paul got a phone call early this a.m. from Peggy, across the street. She has NO WATER!

He checked and yes, we have water… so it must be a frozen pipe on her property somewhere, who knows where, maybe from the street to her house…

This is a nightmare that won’t end!

I sent Paul over there to help Peggy shovel off her front porch and steps, and then to shovel a path to her outside faucet. A city truck was dispatched up here, a big sucker, a front-end-loader, and the man went in and surveyed the situation… yup! Peggy is froze up!

She needs “THE HOSE!”

This is deja vu all over again!

That black city-owned hose, that we had to use on several different occasions, the first time when we bought the house and had no water from January til mid-March!

If you run a hose from one house to the next door one at the outside faucets, where the garden hose goes, apparently if the second house has running water, it will flow over into your (frozen up) house.

The only problem with this is that the hose tends to freeze up, too! Ours did. Many times.

Peggy’s house on the left, Bob’s house on the right – now attached like an umbilical cord by a big old black City hose:


Peggy’s house was owned by another family back in 1987 when ours froze up, and those people were also frozen up and had the hose going to this same neighbor’s house. But for some reason their hose didn’t seem to freeze up and it stayed attached right thru the winter til mid-March, when the pipes thawed out on their own…

I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was in the basement trying to do a quickie wash with our black hose hooked up to our next door neighbor when the telephone rang… it was Maureen across the street (in what is now Peggy’s house) yelling with joy over the phone saying “It’s thawed out! The water is back!!!” We were both jumping with joy at that moment, after about 6 weeks of no running water and dealing with the hoses.

So now, today, Peggy has the Hose running from her faucet over to Bob’s house… again!!!

Paul was just out there helping to dig out Bob’s bulkhead so the hose could go down thru there into the basement… because he couldn’t get any water to come thru his outside spigot! (That’s not good either!)

Paul digging up the yard to sink the water line deeper:


The city truck is still out there. Now, not only does Peggy need to keep shoveling her steps and walkway to get out but she needs to shovel the path over to the faucet and then maybe over to Bob’s house – in case the hose freezes up and it needs to be removed and taken into someone’s basement to thaw out.

Deja vu all over again!

Well, I haven’t eaten anything yet today, too much going on, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have my food. Just pray our water stays on! We have our faucets dripping….

Oh yes, and the city truck driver said this was his 6th call like this today, and it’s only 10:30 in the morning!

No Cheers for the Wintertime in New England!


The back yard:


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12 Responses to Status Umbilicus, or The Hose Knows…

  1. Susan Honthumb says:

    What you are getting in snow, we’re getting in rain. No complaints here. I hope your nightmare gets over soon.


  2. TopsyTurvy says:

    Here you go, Bex. Looks like you’re right on the 30 inch frost line. I think maybe that info your city worker gave you was very old and not based on the proper frost line info. Chances are new construction in your city has to have pipes set at least 30 inches below ground.


  3. sandy freel says:

    wow…what a mess you all have there…so glad you still have water


  4. Bex says:

    Well, (touch wood) we have not frozen up since Paul buried the line deeper and insulated it. I just can’t forget the fear that takes over when I hear those words uttered by Paul so many times in the past: “We’re froze up!” –


  5. Eric Mayer says:

    A nightmare that never seems to end. That’s about right. As I already complained our huge fear here is frozen lines thanks to our crappy heating system and all the plumbing going through the unheated crawlspace. This was intended as a summer cottage. It was never meant for sub zero temperatures. Since you said you had your own pipes buried deeper I am hoping that you don’t have to worry about freezing up.


  6. Bonnie says:

    I have been surprised that homes in your area have not had frozen pipes burst. The few freezes we get here that causes problems.


  7. Smartiplants says:

    I wish I could send you some of our nice, sunny weather! The snow is pretty but it apparently is a royal pain right now for you all. I hope it warms up there soon!


  8. Nina Camic says:

    Such an ordeal! I thought we had problems out here, in the country and there you are suffering water issues even as you are on city water!

    We are inching closer and closer to March — your breathe a sigh of relief month! (Until next year!)


  9. Bex says:

    Well, TT, that’s what the City workers had told us, 17 inches frost line under the surface, so we made our trench much deeper than that!


  10. TopsyTurvy says:

    You really made me wonder with your 17 inch requirement for depth. Our frost line here is 40 inches! Quite a difference.

    Deja vu, indeed! I’m just glad it’s not you two going through this again.


  11. Bex says:

    We don’t know where her water froze up. There is a lot of “bedrock” or ledge under our yards… when Paul dug up our water line it was less than the required 17-inches below the surface, so it was waiting to happen. Paul dug up our line and replaced it with newer, up-to-code, wider pipe and then he insulated the hell out of it including a foam insulation that you spray in all around the wrapped up pipe. But none of that was done across the street.


  12. I have my fingers crossed for you Bex!

    What an awful situation! I am surprised I guess, because it gets much colder where we are, and I’ve never heard of an urban water supply here freezing. Is the bedrock close to the surface where your house is built?

    Here people often put insulation on top the water line before backfilling the line. This works very well I think. Your water lines must be very close to the surface, to be affected. The snow also acts as an insulator, so again, I am surprised that the water lines are freezing, because they have a good topping of insulating snow on them. (think igloos)


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