In Praise of Water
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

In Praise of Water

I promised I'd be back by today with new insights into my problems with multiple and contradictory sources. Well, here I am, sort of, but without the promised revelations. This past weekend did not go exactly as planned! Oh, nothing terrible happened to me.  And in the face of total destruction such as occurred in Joplin, it's hard to complain about anything, even when one's own circumstances take an unexpected turn.  But knowing others are suffering worse does not always ease the frustration of one's own problems.

Here's what's been happening to us.  Around dinnertime on Sunday, a knock on the front door brought the news that our water had been shut off.  We live in a condo community, where each building houses four privately owned residences. The woman next door had suddenly found water erupting under her living room floor. A bit of investigation had found that our building now has a problem that has occurred elsewhere in our community.

Some construction genius ran our plastic water lines UNDER the concrete slab on which each set of houses sits. No, make that singular. A single pipe goes under the concrete slab and then divides into branches that feed the four units atop the slab. Nor did they manage to put any kind of base other than dirt underneath those pipes. So a small rock in the soil can over time put a pinhole in the pipe, which grows until the water erupts upward, washing its way through the concrete and into someone's flooring.  Permanently fixing the problem obviously is not easy because you can't get to the pipes without tearing apart the four houses.  I guess I should be grateful no one suggested that! 

The solution is almost as bad, however. First, the water had to be turned off at the street, leaving all four houses dry.  Now the pipes will have to be reinstalled around the outside of the units, going into the individual residences to lead the pipes through the interior walls and up chimneys to the attics, where the water supply must go to reach the hot water tanks. And how long will that take? Oh, a week or more, give or take. Depending on when the plumbers can come, the days off for the upcoming holiday weekend, and the inability to dig up the lawns and lay new water lines unless we have a dry spell of several days, (HAH!)  a month is more realistic.

A crew worked desperately outside until dark on Sunday, trying to find some way to patch a system.  But when they failed, we simply had to give up.  Everything happened so quickly that no one had time to even draw a pitcher or two of drinking water.   So-- no water to drink, no flushing toilets, no available showers, no way to wash dirty dishes -- NO MORNING COFFEE, without which life does not start around here. One neighbor had a minor fall and opted to spend the night at the hospital.  We moved to a motel, where we learned how wonderful water can be!

But the grief was not over.  The next morning, just after charging our breakfast coffee to our room, we received an irate phone call from the desk, wanting to know how we got into that room.  According to the records, we were not checked in and had no credit card on file. We had, we were quite sure, properly checked in, albeit it was around 10:00 PM, but the computer said no.  They finally discovered that the new desk clerk had checked us in and then immediately checked us out, listing us as "no-shows." By the time the desk got through apologizing for their mistakes, we saved a bit of money, but it was still disconcerting.

Then we went home, to discover that a "fix" was at hand. Clever people had figured out that they could run a garden hose  from a neighboring unit to our building, split the feed from that hose to smaller hoses that would snake under our garage doors, through our back doors, and connect to the cold water intake in the laundry rooms. 

Believe it or not, it actually works, except for a few inconveniences. Our laundry room is also the place where the cats have their sandboxes and food bowls  But now the laundry room has to be locked off, because the garage door now has to stay open. That meant we  had to move the cat facilities into our guest bathroom, which pleases neither them nor me.  We do have water -- even hot water for showers and dish washing, but no laundry facilities until further notice.  And then too, the hose water is nasty and undrinkable from being in those hoses, so we have to use bottled and jugged water for cooking and drinking. 

I'm enormously blessed by the circumstances of my life. I know that. However, coping with all of this, plus the planned devastation when they start digging up our floors to put in the new pipes, makes it hard to concentrate on writing a book. So please be patient, while I cope. 

It's time for guest bloggers, please.  If you have a post that is ready to reach a larger audience, just send it my way.  I have lots of openings this week.  Tomorrow, I'll have a guest blog from a fellow writer, talking about how weather affects her writing.  Please stop by and welcome Velika Kapitanof.