Decameron Tale #16: Water Woes

DECAMERON TALES #16     August 9, 2020

First the pandemic and now a windstorm!  It didn’t seem all that bad until the power went off.  I’ve honed the drill over the years:  haul out the generator.  After a few minutes, we were back in business.  This time, shortly after startup, the lights dimmed, the appliances labored and the water pump quit. 

Sadly, the generator was kaput. 

Not having lights is an annoyance, sans refrigerator a greater problem, but no water is a catastrophe.  I learned many years ago that hell hath no fury like a wife who cannot flush the necessary.  The Furies of ancient mythology pale by comparison.  (No, the secluded rear of the barn is not an option.  Far too much poison ivy.)  I launched on a quest for water.  

I have nothing but gratitude for my neighbors who pitched in to help.  

Our longtime friends at the foot of our road offered us the use of their hose for water which they would leave out so that we could get water whenever we needed it.  

Our uphill neighbor offered me his own generator that was roaring away in his driveway!  As he was having problems getting his spare generator online, it seemed prudent to leave the machine and opt for water only.  I politely declined his generous offer and started to fill my buckets from his hose.  Soon there was nothing but a dribble coming out of the hose.  I was left with a quandary.  Do I tell him he has no water or do I just sling off?  I did both.  I told him about the water problem and slunk off leaving him muttering under his breath.  One of Murphy’s Laws applies here but I forget which one.  By way of recompense, I hand-delivered a large bag of his favorite bush beans and some tomatoes from our garden. 

As might be expected after several days of not bathing in this hot, humid August, Sal and I easily made ourselves known at a distance.  The positive aspect of this sorry situation, of course, is that it made “social distancing” so much easier.  This is where our newish downhill neighbors offer was so intriguing.  A delayed email offered us the use of their outdoor taps, both hot and cold, to draw water.  Sal was puzzled over the possible utility of an outdoor hot water tap.  I knew precisely the utility.  I instantly hatched a madcap plan.  Throw a length of hose into the truck, with a towel and toiletries and clad in a bathrobe, I would have an alfresco shower.  With a long length of hose, I might perambulate their backyard while bathing to evaluate the renovations they are making to their home.  Alas, reality intruded!  In this uptight world, someone would take exception.  I hadn’t thought about Sal in this scenario!  I assumed my notion would receive an arched eyebrow.  But I wonder…In trying to visualize the two of us capering under a hose in the neighbor’s yard, I fear my imagination deserted me.  In a later direct communication, these same neighbors offered to leave us the key to their home while they were gone for the weekend so that we might properly bathe.  I was at a loss for words, which doesn’t happen very often, at this generosity.

I’m rarely surprised, though often amused, by human behavior.  If the situation was reversed, I doubt that I would have made such an offer to such recent acquaintances as we have only met them once and talked to them a few times when passing on the street.

But back to our power outage:  isolating circuits where low voltage was an issue in the hope of running a few lights, I finally broke down and called my longtime plumber to check the pump.  He arrived 1:57 after he returned our call.  Within fifteen minutes he solved the issue and the generator was again providing us with lights … and water!  I said that Sal would be so pleased that she would kiss him, but since she was napping he would have to take a rain check.  I find that Michael is easily amused. 

This morning the power was restored (after almost 4 days without it).  All is right with our world.  The sun shines, the birds sing and God is in Her heaven!


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