Daily Archives: January 11, 2010

Baby, It’s Been Cold Outside!

Icicles form on the side of our pool’s waterfall.

Something came to visit last Wednesday that was not welcome in the Houston area: The great freeze of 2010.

Here in south Texas, we start shivering when the temperatures dip into the 40s. We may have immigrated here from up north (as I did from Chicago), but the second we stepped foot in the land of warmth, we got rid of heavy coats, boots, and scarves. We replaced them with shorts, short-sleeve t-shirts, and sandals, and that’s what we like wearing year ’round.

Freezing temps: Go back north where you belong!

Sidebar: I read somewhere that to Houston’s list of the official seasons of Summer and Not Summer that we added another this past weekend: Emphatically Not Summer!

The #2 son watches the Mister expertly tape a spigot.

Oh, we’ve had our temperature dips from time to time, but not on an extended basis like from early last week until today (it was 25 degrees this morning). I remember one December day years ago when we ran the car’s heater in the morning when we left to visit relatives and used the air conditioning in the afternoon on the way home.

This freeze, which saw us experience a low temp of a frigid 19 degrees Saturday morning, had everyone scrambling for supplies and protective measures. The Mister used his well-honed wrapping skills to insulate and tape up the three outside spigots.

Sidebar: I wish we had remembered to turn off the sprinkler system at the outside valve. That pipe popped, but it was easy to turn off, and it didn’t affect our inside water. Thankfully!

The #2 son smiles even though he's very cold.

The #2 son was enlisted into helping Dad duty. The #1 son was lucky . . . he was at work until 9 p.m., long after the preparations had been done.

It’s hard to get good help these days!

Our two biggest concerns were our outside pipes (hence the wrapping of the spigots) and our front landscaping, which still is fairly new. We know that conventional wisdom says to cover plants that might perish, so out came our collection of sheets. By looking at the photo above, you can reach two conclusions.

First, the Mister and #2 did a shoddy job covering up all the plants.

Second, we have a hard time letting go of kids’ sheets. Guilty as charged!

Sidebar: On my pillow, I use the pillowcase from the Power Rangers sheets, which were from the Time Force era. What can I say, I love sleeping with the Power Rangers! I just feel so safe. I also sleep with a Pokemon blanket, but maybe we should just leave that one for the therapist’s couch.

Sidebar II: If I said that having Pikachu as one of the characters on the Pokemon covering made it an electric blanket, would any of my readers get it?

More sheets, more gaps

Our landscaping sure has looked colorful! Fortunately, the freeze is history, and the sheets will be in the laundry room before long. I’m sure our neighbors will be thankful!

Watch your step!

Despite previous frozen mornings over the past 24 years that I’ve lived in the Houston area, I’ve rarely seen ice. Yet there it was on the sidewalk as I jogged yesterday morning; of course, I just had to gingerly check it out to see if it was slippery. It was. Glad the ice was few and far between, though.

A drop forms from an icicle on our waterfall.

As much as I hated the cold (and, believe me, I do really hate when it gets so frigid), I did enjoy photographically (of course!) what it caused. Like this icicle. Water had overflowed from our pool’s waterfall, which runs constantly when the air temperature is below 32 degrees. Which means it was on most of the weekend.

The freeze had left some cool (pun intended!), dripping icicles for me to photograph with my Nikon 105mm lens. The challenge? Could I freeze a drop in mid-air?

The drop drops!

I could! And it only took, oh, 157 now-deleted shots with my Nikon dSLR.

And then I ran back inside to warm up!