Saturday, January 15, 2011

My sweet flushable loo

Well, the water came back on during the night --- and the sound of the flushing toilet is heard again in the land. Or at least the part of the land I live in, this hilltop in southwest Chariton.

I'm not sure how many were affected but the culprit was a breached water main very near or under the main line of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe at the crossing just northeast of here. This is one of the busiest sets of tracks in the country, so you don't just start digging when there's trouble.

Considering the great unfairness of life, a waterless day is a minor point --- especially in a one-person household with two bathrooms --- but I enjoyed complaining about it anyway. The neighbors across the street with three kids, four vehicles, five dogs and a partridge in a pear tree had more justification.

The repair crew worked long and hard in less than wonderful weather until whenever in the night and didn't stop until the repairs were done --- but I'll bet whoever answered the phone at the water department felt a little bruised, too, before the day was over.

It's amazing how spoiled we've become. I started feeling dirty as soon as it became clear yesterday morning that there was insufficient water pressure to supply a shower. Our ancestors didn't bathe that often --- in some cases once a week or less frequently was considered sufficient. What's the big deal?

Chariton's first residents 150 years ago or so hauled water up from the Chariton River at first --- until a communal well was dug on the square. I drove down to Hy-Vee and bought water in plastic. Not a big deal.

It's surprising what you get used to doing. I like to wash my hands --- a lot. By the time the day was over I felt like Lady Macbeth, hovering obsessively over the sink at frequent intervals, turning on the tap --- nothing. Out, damn'd spot! out I say!

Before the trek to Hy-Vee, a house plant fainted. I wondered briefly what orange juice would do for it.

I hate to wash dishes --- but it drove me nuts Friday just to stack them unrinsed in the sink after meals. I'm not that enthusiastic a cook, but developed the obsessive urge to bake cookies (didn't). I also wanted to scrub the kitchen floor and do laundry --- other jobs that usually don't generate much enthusiasm.

I drink frequent glasses of water, again while standing at the kitchen sink. Same Lady Macbeth routine --- time after time. You'd think you'd remember that there isn't any water there.

But now the water's flowing again --- and all is well. I'm not going to bake cookies, scrub the kitchen floor or do laundry, by the way. Just thinking about it yesterday wore me out.

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