Winter has hit Saskatchewan hard, and even when we do everything right, sometimes winter can still get the best of us.
Anyone who has spent a couple of winter seasons in Saskatchewan knows that it is not uncommon for temperatures to dip into the extreme cold and stay for some time. This cold usually has all of us scrambling for a space heater or extra blankets. An area of the home that is typically forgotten about during these cold snaps is your plumbing system; at least, it’s forgotten about until it freezes, then it’s on everyone’s mind who needs to use the washroom.
If you turn on your tap and there is only a small stream or trickle of water, you have likely stumbled upon a partially frozen water line. When water freezes, it expands in the pipe, and the pressure it creates against the closed tap causes the piping to rupture. Once that area of pipe thaws out, you will have a potentially severe leak on your hands that can cause thousands of dollars in damages and, if unattended, become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
If you happen to have found a pipe that is frozen or partially frozen, please make sure you use caution when attempting to thaw it out. Leave the faucet open, turn off the water supply to that area of the home, and beginning from the faucet, use a hairdryer and slowly heat the pipe moving back and forth along the pipeline as you move away from the faucet. There may be some reading this wondering why you would use a hairdryer when you could use a torch and heat the pipe more quickly. Every year there are accidents, small and large house fires that are started by people using a torch to do the job.
The goal here is to relieve the pressure the ice is putting on the faucet, so make sure that faucet is open. As you thaw the pipe, if there has been a rupture, you will have a bunch of icy water coming out through the split. Make sure you have some buckets and towels near the area you suspect is damaged. If the pipe is only partially frozen, your water should begin to slowly flow more freely as you return water pressure to that area of the home. If, while you are thawing the pipe, you do notice that it has ruptured or has a split in it, keep the water pressure turned off to that area of the home and call a plumbing professional to repair the damaged pipe. Remember, if one pipe is frozen, there is a good chance it is not the only one. Open other faucets in your home and make sure that they are all flowing freely.
If this occurres more than once in your home it would be a good idea to keep an eye on this area of the home. There are lots of products that can be used to make sure your pipes stay thawed through the winter, but the best thing you can do is to make sure the susceptible area is open and heated.
A young lady posed a question to me at the 2019 IBAS Convention. “What advice would you give to young women in the Insurance Industry?” I felt it was important to share this conversation piece and provide a more precise, more succinct response then what was given at the convention.
I thought I was done the list, but then my husband reminded me that I had forgotten one. It’s a discipline that I have struggled with and continue to work hard to make it a regular practice. It’s self-care. Take time for yourself - massage, hobbies, exercise - whatever relaxes you and moves you toward a positive mindset. This is key to having a long and rewarding career.
Yes, I started as a typist in the insurance industry. I was able to reinvent myself at least seven times over my career to take advantage of opportunities in many different areas - admin, underwriting, IT, stats, and leadership. I have enjoyed the various aspects of my career and was able to accomplish the changes while living in small-town Saskatchewan. We purposely chose to live in a smaller community as it fit the values that we had for raising our family.
It doesn’t matter where you are located as there are opportunities everywhere. The important factor is you and what you give, using those skills and personality traits that are unique to you.
Valerie Fehr, CEO
Chief Empowerment Officer
My Mutual Insurance
There are some things that just never change. Halloween isn’t one of them. Through the years, the night of spooky terror has undergone a few changes and depending on how many of them you have witnessed, some of the things may seem oddly familiar, some of them downright terrifying. We have for your enjoyment this year Halloween stories and novelties that were popular by decade.
During the 40’s began the tradition all our sugar craved children have come to expect. Receiving candy for literally doing nothing but showing up. It used to be that treats, fruits and coins were exchanged during Halloween, but usually a song was required. Clowns and cowboys were all the rage and bobbing for apples was still a favorite at the parties.
By the 50’s most of the vandalism and tomfoolery was kept to a minimum and Halloween was becoming more of a family tradition. It was in the 50’s that candy companies began to produce what we have come to know as “Halloween Candy”. It was during this decade that “trick or treat” bag became available and could be purchased for a few pennies at the grocery store. Children would cart their loot carrying bags and pick up Bazooka Joe, Tootsie Pops and Baby Ruths.
What didn’t change during the 60’s? Halloween was no exception, the Adams Family took to the airwaves, masks adorned by children were made from plastic and Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Keepers released the Billboard hit “Monster Mash”. The candy didn’t change much, but the celebration was much more geared to children as Disney opened up its first ever Haunted Mansion inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
If Halloween was about anything in the 70’s, it was about the candy. Sugary delights like Laffy Taffy, Bubble Yum, Jelly Belly, Twix and the first Ring Pop were to be had. Reece’s Peanut Buttercups became so popular in the 70’s that the Hersey Food Corporation had to double its production! But it wasn’t just all for the kids. In the 70’s movies like The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out and terrified audiences both then and still today. And who could forget how difficult it was to get a Star Wars costume in the late 70’s. They sold out so quickly that it has been labeled “The Great Star Wars Halloween Costume Shortage.”
The 80’s saw us take Halloween to a whole new level. If candy was the game changer of the 70’s, the 80’s were all about the cinematic experience. Movies like The Shining, The Poltergeist, and Nightmare on Elm Street all came out in the 80’s. And who could forget the red leather clad Michael Jackson producing one of the most groundbreaking songs and music videos with Thriller. It was in the 80’s that Halloween parades became popular, and the popular Trick-or-Treat for Unicef raised over $2 million in one year. The most popular mask in the 80’s was the plastic Ronald Regan mask which soared to popularity after he was elected in 1981.
If you were a kid in the 90’s and went to McDonald’s, which was every kid in the 90’s, you witnessed the era of the plastic pumpkin pails from McDonalds. Everyone had to have one. These buckets were named McWitch and McGhost. The buckets went through changes through the 90’s including a glow-in-the-dark edition. There was a return to home-made costumes with people leaving their plastic masks on the shelf for the season. Unfortunately these efforts were used to create the most Brittney Spears look-a-likes to be seen in one place at any time. People also had a new source for decoration, party and costumes; the internet began to be widely used in the 90’s to share and post great ideas.
Halloween costume ideas got a big bump in 2001 with the release of the first Harry Potter film. This costume frenzy was only to be rivalled by yet another run on the Star Wars merchandise as Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was released. But even both of these costume juggernaughts were overtaken in the late 2000’s by politics. The Obama, McCain and Palin masks became the thing to wear to your party. Not all Halloween events were man made either. In 2003 there were fantastic solar storms all over the world known as “Halloween Storms of 2003” where skies were lit up in red and green colors.
Although the decade is not through yet, there has been a few additions to the tradition of Halloween during the last 9 years. The 2010’s saw the sharpest uptick in pets getting in on the Halloween fun with sales for pet costumes increasing 60% since the previous decade. Almost 70% of the candy consumed on Halloween is some form of chocolate, with the familiar Reece’s still leading the pack.
No matter how you choose to celebrate this year, please be safe and have fun. Every year is filled with great new stories, amazing new costumes and plenty of screams…of laughter I hope. This year when you answer your door, remember the costumes you used to adorn and the fun that was shared with friends and family. And if you need to brush up on Halloween safety, click the link below and see a safety video produced in the 80’s complete with an animated talking pumpkin.