Looking around social media, it's easy to find the stories of people who are still trying to deal with or fix their plumbing problems from that winter storm a few weeks ago. I honestly feel nothing but empathy for those poor souls, but an expected fix can't even be determined just yet. Without enough skilled people to handle all of the problems, or the hardware and replacements parts availability, there's no expiration date so far on these problems.

One of my favorite neighbors is the manager down at Locke Supply, Kevin. He's a truly funny guy with a big heart. Once in a while, our schedules align where we get home at about the same time and we get the chance to chat it up in the front yard. While it's a real common occurrence during the warm months, none of us spend much time out in the cold so it's a real treat to converse this time of year. In a roundabout way, he told me that plumbing parts are scarce right now, not only in our region, but overall. A perfect storm of pandemic related slowed manufacturing and one heck of an unseasonably cold snap way down South here means everyone from here to Georgia is buying up everything they can to sort out cold related plumbing issues across the lower United States. In all of his years, he's never seen anything like it.

Texas is feeling it too. Earlier this week on a trade and skill subreddit, picture after picture was posted of empty plumbing shelves in both trade-specific stores and big box suppliers. Add in the skills-gap that Mike Rowe is always talking about, a need for skill workers in the trades, and we really are in quite the mess. A lack of products and a lack of people to install said products. If I were just coming out of school these days, I'd be straight into a trade. Learn skills, make money, save money, retire early. Tell your young ones.

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