Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Running Water and Clean Files

You never fully appreciate something until it's gone. When the man up the street slid into the fire hydrant next to our driveway yesterday, our normal Monday turned into one of frustration and frenzy. We watched from our window off and on through the day as a tow truck pulled the car away from the hydrant, and the hydrant itself was removed.

Then, we saw men slip and slide on the icy driveway as they worked, a couple of them falling into the water that ran all over the street from the gushing hydrant. Next, a huge tractor arrived to dig a deep hole where repairs would be made and a new hydrant put in. Ken went out to talk to the men, and they told him our water might be off from around 11 a.m. to maybe 2 p.m. He'd already filled several containers with water for us to use in case that happened.

2 p.m came and went. So did 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Finally, around 7:30 we had running water once again. I didn't realize how many times a day I turn on the water--to wash my hands, rinse off cooking utensils, get a drink, wash pots and pans, rinse stuff out of the sink, fill my steam iron and more. We did have pitchers of it to use, but I tried to keep it to a minimum. I had to use one whole pitcher to boil the spaghetti for dinner!

The hole the man in the tractor dug was halfway to China. Another man went down in the hole at one point and all I could see was the top of his hoodie. Ken was fussing about them damaging the section of our irrigation system in that spot. No doubt they did, but it couldn't be helped. Looks like a spring job for our irrigation guys. And grass seed over the large area they dug out. They put the new hydrant back several feet from where the old one was. Maybe the next guy who slides off the street will be less likely to hit it. Our mailbox on the opposite side of the drive has been demolished twice in snowstorms.

I felt bad for the men who worked outside all day long and into the darkness. They used lights from a truck to see what they were doing as night arrived. But they are surely accustomed to working in such conditions and probably were dressed in many layers. Even so.....

This morning, the tractor is still out there with crime scene tape all around it and some orange cones. It stretches across part of our driveway, so even if I wanted to, I couldn't get my car out today.

In-between watching the show outside yesterday, I spent the day cleaning out files in My Documents, printing several to add to the big notebooks where I keep hard copies of my writing. And I organized one overly-full notebook into two. It felt like I'd really accomplished something, and while deciding what went where, I found some essays and stories I'd forgotten about. A good reminder to go through the notebooks now and then. There were two that I would like to enlarge on and maybe submit somewhere. A good job for a snowy day like we have this first day of February.

It's a joy to turn on the tap today and see water running from it. Look around you and appreciate the little things that make your life pleasant.


  1. I can picture myself going to the sink and turning the tap, even when I knew no water would come out. The Flood of '51 left much of Kansas City without water. After about ten days, someone suggested that I contrive to borrow the car and drive south to Olathe, where they had plenty of water and the beauty parlors were all open.

    With dreams of a shampoo -- at last! -- I found a beauty parlor in Olathe. A walk-in, I was met at the door by a very worried and upset beauty operator. "We have to close down -- we don't have any water," she lamented. "No water?" I'm sure she had no concept of the depth of my disappointment.

    "Our water heater broke," she was near tears. "We only have cold water. We have to cancel all our appointments."

    What was to cry about? I was deliriously happy with a cold water shampoo. At that point, I'd have been satisfied with a shampoo in creek water.

  2. Your story made me smile, Peg. Once you experience something like that, you never take water for granted again, do you?

  3. We do take amenities for granted. Sometimes I think it's good to do without so we can remember to appreciate how lucky we are.