I used to take indoor running water completely for granted.
For reasons we have yet to understand, the man who controls the water pump in our village only turns on the water three times a day. To combat this, we installed two huge tanks in our basement that fill up when the town water’s turned on, and a pump to move the tank-water through our house when the town water’s turned off, creating 24-hour running water in our house. (I think we’re only house out of 4000 in our village who considers this a priority. Those lucky enough to have indoor plumbing just deal with the on-off mess, and those without just draw water in buckets from the local pump on their street.) In warm weather, our tank system works great. In winter… not so much.
After our delectable two weeks in warm tropical sunshine, we returned to sub-zero temperatures to find the water pipes to our house from the street frozen solid. (A common occurrence - every house on our street currently has their pipes frozen, for lack of proper insulation and being buried too shallow. Why they didn’t bury them deeper to begin with, since the winters here have always been frigid….) We hired a welder to use his element to thaw the pipes, and the town water obligingly flowed into our tanks for the day and we did laundry and took showers … and then the pipes froze again overnight. In the past month since getting back, we’ve called that same welder every 3-4 days - once we’ve used up all the water from our basement tanks, and then spent at least one day dipping water out of the two barrels we store in our kitchen and bathroom.
But… I’m trying hard to be thankful. And here are the things I’m most thankful for in this trying situation:
1. Running water. I will never take it for granted again.
2. This welder, willing to come a couple times a week for a minimal fee and spend 2+ hours in our basement thawing our pipes.
3. Our tank system, and my husband who faithfully maintains its finicky valves and adjustments.
4. My new house helper, Ellen, who is used to not having running water and happily dips water and boils it on the stove to wash my mountain of dishes each morning.
5. Her sparkly head-scarf that catches the morning sunlight and throws it in dancing dapples across the ceiling, eliciting shrieks of delight and wild gyrations from both my boys!
6. How my daily mountain of dishes magically shrinks and transforms under her capable fingers from slimy, grime-encrusted to shining and clean.
7. The fact that spring is just around the corner...