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Monday, November 12, 2012


It's 60-degrees in Charleston, South Carolina. In other words, IT'S FREEZING.

I'm a wuss when it comes to cold, but compared to Charleston natives I'm Jack-freaking-Frost. When the mercury drops below 70, folks break out coats, gloves, snowshoes, propane heaters.

But real cold hurts.

Champaign, Illinois, 1994. It's -22-degrees. That's minus. My wife are sitting in our basement apartment, watching Cheers. Someone turns on the shower. In the kitchen. It takes a second... shower?

Water, blowing out of the wall.

Call the super. No answer. Look for water meter while kitchen floods. Looking, looking, looking, looking, looking, looking, looking, looking, looking...

30 minutes later, anything I find that remotely looks like a meter is getting shut off. I mean anything. I throw the wrench on the meters outside, my buddy Dave says, "I don't think--"


They aren't water meters.

Winter in Charleston really sucks.
Eventually, we find the water meter on the other side of the building beneath a staircase. The apartment is flooded but the water is off. So is the gas. And it's still -22-degrees. That means everyone's furnace is out. They have no idea.

We go door to door. Hey, hi... cold night tonight, right? By the way, something crazy happened and all the pilot lights went out and we're just here to help you light it. You know, so you and your family don't freeze to death. 

We were thanked. Profusely. Even got cookies.

The next morning, my wife and I discovered she was pregnant.




  1. -22? That sucks. REALLY cold. I freak out if it goes anywhere below 0. But with no heat? Water bursting through the walls? Wow. Tough gig. AT least in warmer climes if the heat goes off it's no big deal ;)

    Great post!

  2. And here I am. A lone Canadian stubling across this blog. It's +4f out right now and people are jumping for joy because it's the warmest we have had for months. When I was a kid living out in the prairies the bus didn't stop running untill -55c (-67f). I remember waiting out at the bus stop in -53c (-63f) asking why on earth. My mother of all people still sent us out saying she would even if it was colder.

    Luckily it doesn't get nearly that cold anymore but -22f (-30c) is just another day in the life of a Canadian.