Chapter 58: Party Time, Excellent!

March 1, 2011 • Written by Christina Berry

It’d been four years since we’d had a party at the ranch and we decided that this would be the perfect time to have another. The house was an empty, blank slate, perfect for partying.

We cleaned, leveled and painted the floors. Hey Errek, give us a grin. Heh. Nice.


Then Errek went crazy with the party decorations. To commemorate the fact that our house was a freakin’ icebox, we went with a Dr. Zhivago themed party. We called it the “White Russian Housewarming Party”. And what exactly would a White Russian Housewarming party have? Red stars!

And also, a hammer and sickle. You’ve just GOT to have a hammer and sickle.

Errek’s very precise when it comes to party decorations. This would be a perfect circle. PERFECT, I tell you!

Tada, a disco ball! Little known fact, Stalin LOVED disco balls. It’s the truth because I just wrote it on the internet!

And my decoration contribution, was the Dr. Zhivago “Ice Palace” in the bedroom. My inspiration…

My reality…

Nikki contributed the silver strands and pearls to give us a whole variety of icicles.

Add pillows and down comforters and you get a Texan version of Russian snow drifts. Clever, right?

In addition to the pretty stuff, we safetied up the house by building a temporary porch railing.

Almost ready.

Then something completely insane happened. Remember when we were putting our roof on during the wettest September in Austin since 1921? Well, in February we had yet another weather anomaly. For about four days it got down to 18 degrees fahrenheit and stayed there.

In Austin, that is nearly unheard of. Sure, it gets cold, but it doesn’t stay cold. Well, this time it did. So, here’s the problem. Inside of our living room is technically still “outside,” temperature-wise, so it was really, really cold. To be precise: it was 18 degrees in our freakin’ living room, kitchen, and bathroom for three¬†full days.

Here’s what happened. In case it’s unclear, that’s ice frozen out of the tap in the bathroom.

And under the taps, exploding pipes! I came home to check on the plumbing and noticed something crunch under my feet. I looked down, wondering to myself, “Why is there ice on the kitchen floor…oh and look it’s little bits of PVC plastic…wait…oh crap!” Yep. Our pipes froze, and then burst.

Under the taps, under the house…second verse, same as the first.

The copper and brass did not burst, but they too froze, just like everything else. Look at those icicles.

And in the bathroom, we’d decided to replace the toilet tank with an ice luge.

So here we were just three days before our party with no running water or functioning toilet. This would be an uncomfortably authentic Dr. Zhivago party unless we got with the plumbing, stat!

Fortunately, it finally went ahead and snowed, then immediately thawed. Now that’s more like it, Austin.

Along with the weather thaw, Errek got¬†himself a new toy. It’s like a jet engine of heat blasting out of it. The photo doesn’t do it justice — this thing is actually blowing fire. And look at that smile! The man loves his tool toys.

Using his fire-breathing friend, Errek set to thawing out and replacing all the pipes to the bathroom so we’d have some party plumbing.

It wasn’t his favorite day ever.

In less than a day, he had us back up and running. Just in time to make the pudding shots.

These were mint and chocolate shots, served in chocolate cups.

Photo by Steven Brown

And these were the coffee and chocolate shots, in chocolate cups.

Photo by Steven Brown

And of course the usual jelloshots.

The party was super fun, and Errek’s decorations looked amazing.

Photo by Steven Brown

Photo by Steven Brown

Photo by Steven Brown

The costumes (read: warm coats and fuzzy hats) rocked, too.

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Louisa Spaventa

Photo by Steven Brown

Photo by Steven Brown

Photo by Steven Brown

It was so much fun to focus all of our construction and creative energy on fun instead of work, but all good things must come to an end. Time to get back to work.