Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm craving doing laundry...???

Photo courtesy of Flickr... though this could be a scene at my house right now.

That is what happens when one is without a reliable water source for three+ days.

We lost water on Sunday morning and have yet to get it back in earnest. We got a new water pump installed and had a day of about half normal pressure. The water pump was not the source of the problem. Thankfully while we had at least a dribble, my brilliant husband thought to fill one of our bath tubs to ensure water for toilet flushing(!) and minimal hand washing. However, as the issue required more investigation and repair we currently have no running water at all.

It is very interesting the things one is forced to consider upon deprivation of precious H20.

For example:

• What am I touching? I can't just wash my hands "willy nilly."

• What do I feed people? The fewer utensils, plates and clean-up the better.

• How much clean underwear do we all have... or lack?

• How does one fill two 60 gallon water troughs with no running water?

• Ever contemplated watering a 40 x 20 garden full of tender, tiny sprouts with a watering can and swimming pool water?

• How does one get ready for work in a dignified office setting when you can't shower? This I can tell you involves a bucket, an empty bathtub and very cold and speedy hygienic practices... Poor James!


These are just a few of the thoughts that have rattled across my brain pan in the past 36 hours.

How do I feel right now?

Thirsty. We have plenty of bottled water, but somehow knowing there's not water in the faucet makes me feel parched.

Dirty. I am very deliberately not exerting enough energy to get all "dewy" as I already feel like every molecule of dust floating maliciously in the air is preternaturally attracted to my skin and fully aware of my inability to bathe conveniently.

But mostly it's a lot like I'm camping in a *really* nice motor home in one of those spaces without the water and sewer hookups... and the bathroom/shower hut is a half mile hike away on the other side of the camp ground.

I hear there is a plumber working up the hill at my in-laws' house connecting by-passing pipes as we speak. The broken pipe, it seems, lurks beneath a concrete slab so re-routing the flow of the life-sustaining liquid is far more practical, and preferable, to ripping up a ton of driveway to fix the leak directly.

God bless the family members willing to dig for hours to expose the pipes and a plumber/friend willing to massage his schedule to make our problem a priority. We would be in dire straights... and stinky for much, MUCH longer... without their generous help!

Whenever we lose water or power I am always forced to think of those living in countries where utilities are intermittent at best or even non-existent. I don't think I take the luxury and privilege of reliable infrastructure for granted until I spend even an afternoon without... and then I feel very guilty for not appreciating them much more than I actually do.

In this particular shortage, I have noticed myself very aware and possessive of half-consumed glasses and bottles of water I spot laying around the house. Suddenly, I see them as opportunities to wash my hands or rinse off a spoon. Maybe give a plant a drink. I am afraid free water has made us more wasteful in its abundance.

I have never really thought, *really* thought about what a luxury it is just to have the opportunity to have a clean body and clothes. Right now, after a shower, all I want is to run my dishwasher and do about six loads of laundry. I can't imagine living permanently in conditions where you can't even count on a safe glass of water to drink, let alone access to enough to wash anything.

It makes it difficult to feel too sorry for myself when I think of our dilemma on a global scale. I mean, if I got desperate for some form cleanliness I could go for a swim in my inlaws' pool. Not so for all those dust-encrusted African kids we see on the big screen TV broadcast in high-def digital cable...

Somehow, when I think about it in those terms I don't feel nearly so inconvenienced and a whole lot more grateful that my "plight" will last a total of a few days and gave me an opportunity to begin to really appreciate how fortunate we are to live where and when we do.

It's the *little things* Y'all... Seriously.

5 comments:

Wendy said...

After you first lost the water, how many times did you go to a faucet and attempt to use it? I've done the same thing with electricity, despite the fact that I KNOW it's not there, just forget in the total habit of convenience.

Good luck. I hope you're clean soon. ;)

Kathie said...

Can I tell you how much I love and appreciate my faucets and shower and easy-breezy hand-washing after 10 days in Northern Uganda, in conditions better than most there have? It's bliss.

Beautifully though, as some Ugandan pastors watched me kneel down and pour water over another pastor's hands after he helped me wash mine before a meal (I was the only white in the complex, so it was a little shocking for them to see me do it), they all chuckled and said, "Look, she's learned the African way. You must miss your running water at home."

I smiled and said, "I think it's more the Christian way than the African way...this is just a service of love. And my faucets don't love me." They got a kick out of that.

So, on the bright side, enjoy all your love service to one another in this!

Angelina said...

I love plumbing!! I think I can safely say that I never take it for granted.

Sunitha dsa said...

Hi, I read ur article of baking soda and it too help me from buring and pain. I have only question.

Do once a week or everyday drinking baking soda and water will be okay or should I take only when I have UTI???

Does Baking soda taking regulary gives some other side effects to our health??

Your reply will help to get over my doubts.

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