Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Day in The Life - The Day The Well Ran Dry

As we come up to the third anniversary of this occurrence, I realize just what an impact it had on us.  I wrote is originally in September of 2013.


I stood in the shower this morning long after the hair was shampooed and conditioned and the body wash was washed off.  I just let the water cascade off me and down the drain. It was a heady moment.

Sound mundane?  Probably to most people.  And this year, yes, a little mundane.

Last year?  Not so much.

Because it wasn't happening.  We had no running water in our house one year ago today (actually one year and two days, but who's counting?  Me obviously).

Literally, the river induced aquifer that supplies our abode with that glorious running water had failed to flow.  Dried up.  Smashed by (literally) tons of semi delivered rock to shore up our dike.  The river stopped running through it.

For those that have never experienced the lack of water, it sucks.  Think of all the times you just swivel the handle on the facet and water comes out.  To wash your hands after you've been gardening, to wash the carrots you've just gardened, to rinse off the dish the carrots cooked in and then to pour yourself an ice cold cup of water to wash it all down with.  Nothing.  Faucet handle still swivels, but nothing comes out.

That was our dilemma.

For six weeks.

Let me repeat - for six weeks we had no running water.

It sucked.

The river in the back yard was low, but we figured, this is Washington, it'll rain soon.  Why spend thousands of dollars just so it could rain the next day.  It had to rain soon.  It was Washington.

82 days and no measurable rain.

What the river usually looks like when it's not all dried up.


Here's some things you learn when you have no water (besides the fact that it sucks).
  • No matter how long the faucet hasn't worked, you still turn it on automatically.
  • You can wear jeans more than one time and not wash them.
  • Which leads me too...You know where all the local laundromats are and how to work the machines.
  • The dishes in the dishwasher stink when it hasn't been run in three weeks.
  • And there's no way to wash those dishes that stink to high heaven.
  • The $92 a month you've spent on your gym membership that you used to use once a month, comes in handy when they have a shower.
  • It is nice to have lots of 5 gallon buckets to fill with enough water to flush the toilet four times a day.
  • Keep at least two buckets covered for clean drinking water.
  • Having an outhouse on the farm is a God-send, spiders and all.
  • Bathing in an ice cold river in the back yard is really freaking cold in late September.
  • You spend more time on the weather channel and weather websites than social media sites.
  • You are in a constant state of pissed-off-ed-ness from the stress of trying to figure it all out.
  • And finally...You happily spend thousands of dollars to get a new well dug.

Because being without water sucks.

It led to some changes in our lives, though.

One.  I'm much more empathetic to the homeless.  Smelling yourself after two days without a shower is awful.  Not being able to stuff your t-shirt in the washing machine along with the bath towel you just used, really limits your outlook on life.

Two.  We'd never looked at moving before, let alone to a foreign country.  We booked ourselves on a trip to the Cook Islands because of a teaching job opportunity.  Opened up a world we didn't know existed.

Three.  Spend the money on Day 5 to fix the problem.


Follow up, three years later:  The water level went to unprecedented levels again in 2015.  This time they got even lower.  The neighbors on either side of us had their wells run dry.  It led to the purchase of a 1500 gallon water tank (read about that one here:  The Water Tank).  We do what we can to be prepared and this whole (*^%#@%) experience taught us things to do. While it sucked (did I mention it sucked?), it did make it so the well is now deep enough that  the river could go even lower.  

We also decided not to move (well, today anyway; ask me tomorrow and it might be a different answer).  We did go to the South Pacific - we loved it.  But in the end, I turned down the job.  It's not the right time in our lives, what with a teenager and all getting ready to head to college.

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