Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Water Day 3

We are now into Day 3 of life without running water. In the middle of running a load of laundry the other morning, our well ran out of usable water. There's water down there, but it's too low for the pump to pump. There hasn't been enough daylight when my husband has been home to be able to measure the well or to teach me how to measure the well to see where we're at on the road to recovery.

It feels like the makings of a reality TV show. Let's take away something that we completely take for granted, like running water and see how people cope. We've had just an outpouring of offers to help- a neighbor came to do a load of laundry, someone cooked us some dinner, another offered to bring dinner with paper plates, one woman offered us some bottled water she ended up with and to drive it to us-though I know their financial situation is one which makes using that gas a huge sacrifice, several people have offered their homes as a place to come bathe and shower and do laundry. It is a truly awesome thing to see how people offer themselves in a time of hardship, and it makes me think that we are, perhaps, far less isolated than all of the "Studies" show. We might not live together with our grandparents, but we are surrounded by a broader view of family. It takes so much of the stress out of our mini crisis to know that we are not alone, to know that if we need to that we have somewhere to go.

One of the things which is a difficult transition for us, is that we haven't lived with paper products for a long time. They are both expensive and wasteful. I don't think I realised quite the range of disposable household goods available. I am trying to think of it in terms of having years in using cloth diapers, and napkins, and cleaning rags and wash cloths--to make it set easier to use throw away face cleaning cloths, diapers, and dishes now. I still haven't gotten myself to plunk down cash for any of this except diapers for the toddler. It is kind of a sad thing that a conviction like this is the first thing to get tossed out the window when tough times hit, and I wonder if this is also a marco phenomenon- now that economic times are harder will we take steps backwards in terms of environmental protection?

The one who is suffering most is my 3 year old clothes horse of a daughter. The new martial law rule has told the children that they need to pick one outfit on Monday and wear it all week unless it gets visible dirty. Change socks and underwear everyday- but clothes need to last until Saturday. This little girl just lives to change her clothes, and is likely the biggest generator of laundry in our house. I think I might have to relent a little with her, after her tears last night thinking about today and the torture of having to wear the same clothes....again. I can't plead what I've dubbed "The Little House Case" to her, because just like Baby Carrie-she's kind of oblivious to the lesson Ma is trying to teach.

Yesterday, I was washing 2 day old dishes in 2 gallons of water I had boiled on the stove and I wondered just how the heck those Ingles washed their dishes--surely they didn't use gallons of water everyday-and I am sure that they didn't substitute paper products. I thought about how this is all far much more work- trekking down the street to fill up water, washing dishes by hand, etc. -but that is also is really connecting to the water which we are using. I realised how mindlessly we use the things in our life, how separated we are from what we do, so much of the time. Luckily, though I can reflect on such things while washing up(and saving the water to reuse), with my children glued robotically to the television.

I had no idea, that the commitment to learning to give thanks when things kinda suck would be put to the test so soon. Although, part of me thinks that I should have known.... And I am learning something important about that, too- a very important addendum to saying "Thank you!". I think it is important to clarify that it's important to learn how to do it without saying it sarcastically. I am slowly making progress in that area, as person after person reminds me that in this situation somewhere, there is goodness. There is somewhere, somehow a plan here. There is hope to be found and cultivated waiting expectantly for the water to flow. It seems not insignificant that this forced asceticism is running parallel with the hopeful, joyful expectant waiting my children have for Christmas.....


  1. (plummy here!)

    I don't mean to read this situation like a novel instead of a real, gritty reality as it is. But I suppose I can't get out of the outside-looking-in picture frame very easily. So what I will say is:
    Holy cow, what an ordeal! But what a learning experience for your whole family. I can't imagine what I would do if I lost water like that. And to do it with kids and a budget? Now there's something amazing.

    I hope you get water very soon!

  2. LOL! (((((Julia))) It's a lot more fun to think of it as a novel or a TV show. :)

    Luckily we have great, great family and friends and I know things will be okay eventually. I used to get so miffed at my husband but he is so right. Whenever I was stressed about money he'd say-"If money is the biggest problem we've got, we're doing pretty good." Ugh-and it would make me furious!! But overtime, as people's children we knew got sick or died and people we know got sick and were undergoing abuse- I came to understand what he meant. And now I've changed it to "If water's the biggest problem we've got, we're doing pretty good." Luckily part of the modern world is that we have paper products and water for sale (though we have not had to buy any water at all). So it's definitely not as dire as it would have been a hindred or so years ago!

    It's really pretty amazing --the only thing I've used water for today? Flushing the toilet--and we used the dish water from yesterday for the first of two flushes. Oh ...wait- I guess I did just add a little bit to the soup on the stove. Kills me, just kills me to throw that water down the toilet.