A Short Daily: 4 February 2023

So as an addendum to yesterday, I discovered that when the temperature drops to double digits below 0°F the electric vehicle side of my car doesn’t want to run at all. On the way home last night, it kept turning over to the gas engine even when it was going downhill or cruising at constant speed on the few level stretches. I thought this might be due to running the heater, which really drains the battery, but that didn’t really make sense. Because with all the gas engine battery recharge, the battery level was fairly high on the homeward leg of my commute, compared to most days. And most days the car runs EV except on the upward slopes, even with heat on. (I like my heater when I’m sitting on my butt…)

So I looked that up too. And yes, it is an established, if not particularly touted, fact that EV cars will not work well in very cold temperatures. This makes perfect sense. We all know regular car batteries will freeze up and die in nominally cold weather if you don’t run the alternator somewhat regularly. So if you are using that battery without recharge from the alternator in extremely cold conditions, seems logical that it’s just going to shut down.

I have not gone out there this morning to see if it will start. I left it plugged in and am hoping for the best. I also will not be going anywhere today. Or tomorrow if the promised warmth doesn’t materialize. I’m not opening doors on this house unless absolutely necessary. The emergency folks in Vermont are advising as much anyway… along with a bold print admonishment in yesterday’s paper against driving anywhere except the emergency room… and one gets the feeling they’d prefer you just try to muscle that out too…

Last night before bedtime (very early because I went and hid in the relatively warm second level under ALL the blankets), I recorded “feels like -40°F” for the first time ever in my weather diary. Last night’s low in the sort of enclosed back porch was -22°F according to my min-max thermometer. Now, a couple hours after sunrise, it’s still -18°F outside. So it’s definitely cold.

I put extra wool blankets on all the windows and piled up the kitchen rugs around the drafty cabinets (on a north exterior wall…). But the heater ran much of the night, and this morning it has been going non-stop since 6:30am when it switches to “day” temperatures… Two and a half hours later, it still hasn’t reached 60°F in the thermostat room.

Also, even though I left the sink cabinet open and the water dripping, the cold water line in that north exterior wall is frozen solid. I have hot water in the kitchen and all the other plumbing is fine — praise be to the former folks and their insulation! — but there is little protection for the lines in that kitchen wall. I’m thinking this might be a problem. The problem that finally tips me from “I sorta would like to make this kitchen more useful” to “I need to fix this kitchen”.

The main problem is it has too many windows. Three, two of which are sealed shut. In a room that is not quite 140 square feet. Plus the door to the not-at-all sealed back porch and the door to the unheated basement. And a large chunk taken out of the one interior wall for the former kitchen chimney (now unused except by rodents). So the space is not used well. And it is drafty with all those openings. Yet, it is not that easy to vent, especially in the winter.

Also, it has countertops of black tile with black grout. And I like to bake bread. So there’s that constant annoyance.

But freezing pipes is not something I can cope with. I’m no plumber. If the pipe bursts, then I have to pay someone more money than I can spare to come fix it for me. Which means opening doors to the cold at a bare minimum… Probably more like tearing holes in the exterior wall…

And the heater is still running even without holes to the outside…

Hope you all are faring better today…

©Elizabeth Anker 2023

5 thoughts on “A Short Daily: 4 February 2023”

  1. I am a newish reader so perhaps you discussed your decision to leave the SW for the NE. I am curious why you moved in the opposite direction? I live in the snowy/cold east side of the Cascades Mountains in WA but am planning a move back to the milder maritime climate on the west side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I lived in New Mexico… which is running out of water. I figure, as a very late entrant into the fragile desert ecosystem, it was on me and mine to leave first so that those who have deeper roots can make the most of what living is left out there.

      There really is no reason for there to be so many houses in Albuquerque. In the not too far future, it will contract, along with all prospects for everything (jobs, schools, food supplies, etc). Our neighborhood well was already showing increasing arsenic content, indicating that it would be dry within our lifetime (and poisoned before that). The idea of being old in a place where water does not flow out of the tap was just exhausting… Better to sell the house when it still could be sold and move someplace where that is not a concern.

      The move out of NM to Massachusetts was purely a function of my ex-husband’s job. Then my move to Vermont happened solely because I found a good house that I could afford and that would not head underwater — financially or literally — within a few years. Possibly the only one in the country in this extremely over-inflated housing market. And believe me, I looked… Even back at Albuquerque.


      1. I figured it was about water. I own a home in Mesa, AZ that folks lived in. I plan to sell it later this year – hopefully, it will hold its value until then. It is amazing the continued migration of people to the SW. They are now building subdivisions with no guarantee of water. And one exclusive subdivision in the foothills was just dropped from the Scottsdale water system. The trend apparently will be to have water delivered to household storage tanks. The irony is that people in expensive custom homes with views of the valley are forced into conservation strategies like using laundromats and gyms for showers.

        I am in the PNW and ready to downsize and move back to a small urban area for retirement but the real estate markets are inaccessible. Small fixer-uppers are listed at 350K and the average cost of homes is 500kish I keep looking but don’t have much hope for the PNW market – thousands of people continue to move here each week.

        I live in a tourist region and many of the houses are now purchased as second homes. The wealthy owners show up on the weekends and complain about the local restaurants’ limited access and service or unannounced closures due to a lack of staff. Long-term rentals became Air BNBs and service workers left in droves during the pandemic looking for communities that actually had places to live. But if you stand in line behind these folks, they will explain that “people don’t want to work anymore.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I hear variants of all those themes here in Vermont. In fact, a coworker and I were just talking about the Scottsdale mayor turning off the taps to communities other than his own. (For very good reasons.) And my son and I regularly grouse about the “they don’t want to work anymore” theme… Yes, “they” want to work. But “they” would also like that work to support some form of life. And it just doesn’t anymore. So “they” are turning to other options wherever “they” can. 😀

        Because yes, the housing market is quite out of reasonable bounds. And yes, I would sell that house in Arizona soonish. Maybe it will help buy another in a more practical place. But if you can stay where you are for a bit, it’s very likely that prices will plummet. Everywhere.

        I couldn’t wait for that market correction, being kicked out of my home by a sudden and unforeseen divorce… because life happens.


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