If you’ve been following us for long, you know that we’re not quick about things. And you know that we believe things often fix themselves if you leave them for long enough.
So you probably won’t be surprised that when we discovered we weren’t getting water to our house on Saturday afternoon, we didn’t rush around to fix the problem.
While we’ve been redoing our bathroom, we hadn’t been doing anything recently with the plumbing, so our sudden cessation of running water was a bit of a mystery. It had been very very cold for a couple of days, so we originally thought it likely that something somewhere had frozen, and given time, would unfreeze. No action needed on our part.
And our needs for running water didn’t seem urgent. Our shower is out of commission with the bathroom remodeling, and we’ve been showering elsewhere already, so no loss there. The toilet tank somehow was refilling itself at a trickling rate that enabled us to flush it a few times a day, so no big deal there. I’d already been bringing in outside water for drinking and cooking (our well water is high in nitrates and questionably safe for pregnant me at the moment), so no change there.
The big thing we were lacking, then, was sink water. We set up a workable hand-washing, teeth brushing, general hygiene system with some of our drinking/cooking water. And we ignored the need to do dishes. All this got us through a couple of days just fine while the weather warmed.
We say our life is like camping just with a house, a lot. Maybe too much. Sometimes I feel proud of how few modern necessities really are necessary for us and our ability to get by with less. Sometimes I just feel stupid for making things harder than they need to be.
By the time temperatures made it up into the 40′s yesterday, we’d used every clean dish in the house (ok, not quite every dish; the citrus juicer remained untouched). We hadn’t actually let the lack of running water interfere with our ability to cook or maintain reasonable body cleanliness, but the specter of once simple tasks was starting to get us down. We needed to either get serious about setting up a better no-running-water sink system or we needed to finally face facts that our water problem wasn’t going to fix itself. If the pipes had just needed to thaw, it would have happened already. Something else needed to be done.
For all of you that get your water piped into your home from some centralized source, you might not realize how scary it is to have someone come see about your water system when you’ve got a well. This isn’t a matter of calling a plumber, and while maybe we’d find out it was just some gauge on the pressure tank that was busted or some wire in the pump system that had come loose, maybe we’d find out something more major was wrong, or something was wrong with the well itself. And that could cost us thousands of dollars. Thousands and thousands and thousands. We were trying to keep our heads about us, knowing we had no more reason to fear the worst then expect the best. But we were terrified.
Today, K called in to Henry Well Co, who do drilling and water system work, to come out and take a look. They happened to be finishing a job north of us, and three of their guys stopped by our place on their way back into the office. And they were awesome. K took them back to our well, they poked around the electrical box that attaches to the above-ground part of the system, and they found the problem. An electrical connection between the box itself and the cap that fits into it had gotten knocked out of place, and with some pretty serious but speedy effort, they got it snapped back to where it needed to be. Poof, running water restored to the house. They were friendly and informative and professional and didn’t even make us feel like idiots for not knowing enough to have seen the problem ourselves. And they didn’t even charge us for their quick fix.
I’d like to point out that plenty of people in this world do just fine without running water. I could probably even be one of them, if I knew that’s the way it was going to be and set things up accordingly. But I am happy to be no-holds back in the people living with running water category.
Even if it means I now have no excuse left for not doing all those dishes.
I dream about the day when I’ll even have back a working shower in my own home. There are good things ahead for me, my friends.