Our big news today: we have hot water again!! In the kitchen. In the bathroom. Even the laundry room! It feels like the best news ever.

Our area (and the entire continent of Europe) is just coming out of a record-breaking cold spell. We have been waking up to a new set of frozen pipes every day for the last week or so. Even the gas that’s connected to the stove froze! On Saturday, we were down to cold water in the kitchen, cold water in one bathroom sink, and two toilets. (Hooray for those toilets!)

Thankfully, a plumber was checking in all week, thawing what he could, and checking for potentially burst pipes. This morning, he worked on the pipes for a few more hours and told us we’d have hot water sometime today. And he was right!

The last few days, it’s felt a bit like camping in our own house. We’ve warmed water with the electric teakettle for hand washing, dishes and sponge baths, and adjusted recipes for the oven instead of the stove. Mostly, it’s felt like an adventure, but when it started to feel discouraging, we decided to treat ourselves to some pastries to make up for it. I chose the pretty apple tartlette above. There is very little that a French bakery won’t solve. : )

Tell me, Friends. Have you ever had a crazy frozen spell like that?

27 thoughts on “Thaw”

  1. When my twins were 2 and my son just a few months old our heating system broke in the middle of the winter. Here in Italy if you call the plumber they always very enthusiastically tell you they’re on their way. Then they don’t show up for days. I remember putting layers upon layers of fleece and wool on all of us. I was suffering from the cold but it seemed the kids didn’t even notice. Eventually the plumber walzed in and fixed it…and I took a 2 hour boiling hot bath!

  2. When I was a teenager we had a blizzard that wiped out our power for almost a week. I have (mostly) good memories of my family sitting around in our sleeping bags talking and playing games, my dad and brother putting golf balls around the house in their coats and hats, and cooking warm meals on my dad’s camping stove. But, oh-my-goodness, that first hot shower felt amazing!! Hope you get your water back soon! Enjoy those gorgeous pastries!

  3. We were stuck in the crazy snowstorm that hit the NY area in October. They actually CANCELLED Halloween in our town! Can you believe? It was very disappointing because we live on one of the prime trick-or-treating streets, and usually get a couple hundred kids come by. There were so many large trees falling down, and no electricity for 5 days. I had to pretend that the Great Pumpkin came, and hid candy all over our dark house. Turned out to be fun…(but the cold and lack of electricity were not!)

    1. Same here! I have some great pics of green trees full of snow as well as my son and his friends playing baseball out there…eerie though. HATE being cold and it’s been happening in NY too much lately – the NO power thing. Fun for an hour or two, but the 2-3 days lying around with one electric heater hooked up to a backup generator outside on my husband’s truck was horrible. It took him hours to find, wait and get gas for the thing and he bartered for coffe and a a toasted bagel for us from the only working deli. I was just thinking France has the freeze and here in February it’s 50! Crazy!

  4. You must be so relieved! I grew up in an 1820s farmhouse in Maine, and most mornings in January I’d wake up to the sound of my dad thawing pipes with the hair dryer :) If you heard that sound you knew it was going to be extra cold!

  5. Yes! Back in the ’90s, I was living in upstate New York when a massive ice storm hit the area. EVERYTHING outside was wrapped in an inch of ice. It was stunningly beautiful, and yet also devastating. Power was out for over 10 days, roads were closed due to downed trees and power lines. Schools and public services were closed. It took weeks for things to get back to normal. And yet in the middle of this freezing chaos, somehow our friend’s deep freezer didn’t get the memo that it was freezing cold outside. Food started thawing…

    Soon we were having a pot luck dinner of defrosted freezer goods — cooked on the camp stove and gas-powered BBQ grill. We sat around in our layers and layers of warm clothes, gloves, and hats… and feasted. Thanksgiving turkey anyone?

    1. Fridges and freezers will actually stop working if the temp around them drops too low. Sounds stupid but there’s some science behind it.

    2. I lived in Upstate NY during that too! Some people in my hometown made t-shirts that said “I survived Ice Storm ’98”

  6. my sister in laws pipes were frozen 2 weeks ago and when the plumber came some days later (dew to all the neighbours’ pipes) he told her there was a leak and he couldn’t fix it until spring… she’s living with layers, electric heaters and about 14 to 15°Celsius. I feel like I only know people right now who’s heating froze in the last few weeks. Our groundfloor-appartment just doesn’t seem to warm up anymore. But I’m so glad we’re able to take hot showers.
    I’m very glad to read you’re warming up again! In an old house it can become extremly cold..right?

  7. when I was an exchange student in France, I learned about the “original” hot water bottle. Take a clean glass bottle with a screw top, fill it with very hot water from the kettle (and make sure the top is on tight), put it in an old thick wool sock, and pop it in your bed a half hour before bedtime. Oh so nice!

  8. I remember when I was in high school being snowed in for two weeks. Our driveway was so long that there was no way we could get out of the house. After week one, we found a friend who could take my dad and I to the store. I picked out several games and was the family hero when I came home with them- it was better than Christmas to have something new to do!

  9. My family and I live in MA and 4 years ago we had a crazy ice storm rip through our part of the state. We were without power for 8 very long and very cold days. Because we have a private well and private septic tank… our water did not even work (people with town water/sewer still had service even though they didn’t have power in their homes). We had to melt buckets of ice next to the fireplace so we had water to flush the toilets with. The first two days felt like an adventure… all of us sleeping in the family room in front of the fireplace. Then it was just down right depressing. My youngest daughter was only 4 months old at the time and she would cry when we had to unbundle her to change her diaper. Because every town around us was in the same situation, finding a hotel room was impossible. It was awful. I cried when the power finally came back on!

  10. I live in Bonn, Germany and the temp even reached minus 15 degrees celcius last week. Lucky for us we still have hot water in the bathroom. It’s started snowing today so it’s not that cold anymore now:) i do hope the hot water problem will not come again anytime soon :)

  11. My husband and I were in France and Switzerland for our honeymoon and we just got back this past Thursday!

    So, were we lucky enough to experience your record breaking cold spell. Our hotel in Lucerne’s entire heating system broke and we had to be moved in the middle of the night. It reached -11 farenheit. I feel your pain.

    The weather back here in Boston is very comforting – a nice 40 degrees.

  12. Brrr … it was so cold. I live a few hours up North from where you are in Belgium and we were freezing. We took engagement pictures outside this past week and I thought my hands, feet, ears and nose were frozen over. This 5°C we have right now practically feels like Summer. Seriously I went outside today and thought to myself: I don’t think I need a coat today! :)

  13. We’ve had crazy snow in Rome, the biggest blizzard in 27 years. Our apartment building only turns on the heating after 2 pm, so we’ve had our fireplace burning nonstop. I adore your blog, by the way, wonderful and inspirational. Much love from Italy!

  14. Over a year ago we ran out of fuel oil when we thought we had plenty. We came home to a freezing house late one night and did not have any money to take immediate measures (like go get some diesel to tide us over), so we drove back to my in-laws house to sleep and borrowed money for fuel first thing in the morning. We turned on an electric heater, but our water pump had already been acting up so the water hadn’t been running for a while and it froze a lot easier than normal and our pipes burst. We still don’t have running water. We’re getting by fine, but it’s a bit annoying at times. That’s what we get for living in Alaska.

  15. Mary, I too thought that last line was wonderful!! It could be a great tagline for any bakery’s advertising… (“There is very little that a French bakery won’t solve.”)

  16. Wow! Gabby I’m so sorry! It’s crazy we were just there and missed all of that! Your poor little family…I’m glad you were able to get hot water again:) Our last day in Paris was SUPER cold. We still had a blast though :)Did you get your little package in the mail???

  17. We live in a National Forest here in the United States. We lost power for 8 days in January, but we have been warned, sometimes it will go out for an entire month. I can’t even imagine a month! I’m glad you all made it through. There is just nothing so good as hot water.

  18. After reading your adventure I’m feeling happy about our hot +++weather we have been having in Perth Australia. I think a French bakery would still help though.

  19. In Montana – several times a year power will go out in our little neck of the woods…usually because someone slid into a power pole or branches will fall on the wires. We have a wood burning fire that keeps us toasty. We purchase a logging truck full of lodgepole pine logs from beetle infested trees every year and we chop enough wood for a year in advance so we never run out ..

  20. Wow! The coldest place I have ever lived was in the Los Angeles area. It must be some sort of record we’ve had here with temperatures reaching 66 degrees in the wee hours of the morning. Seventy degrees is cold enough for our tropical island. So glad you got your hot water back! I can’t imagine it out there. Our hot water has been out for a few weeks, but in 80+ degree weather, it’s not a big deal.

  21. We are down in Montpellier and it has been the same. Everyone is saying how it’s the coldest it’s been in 15 years! Can’t say I have enjoyed it that much but thankfully today is warming up. I even hung some clothes out to dry. Allez Printemps!
    bisous from the sud,

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