Up until two weeks ago, my answer to that question would have been a myriad of things. A new SUV. Really nice smokey perfume. A case of fabu Pinot Noir. An all-inclusive trip to Alaska or Scotland. And so forth. My, my, how one’s perspective can change in a jiffy!
Top of the list now? Running water. Yep, you read that correctly. Something I’ve given no thought to ever before (except when camping). Before two weeks ago, showers were a no-thought thing. Now, a true luxury. This is not a moralizing post, but more like a “Wow, I never thought about these things” post. In America, approximately 1.7 million Americans live without running water, many of them Native Americans (cited here) – 780 million worldwide (cited here) That’s a lot of people! For about ten days, I was among them. Water has become a fascinating thing to me now – the use of it, the waste of it, the take-it-for-granted attitude I formerly had about it. For me, it was a moderate expense to repair, and one I thankfully had funds for. No one discovered during the home inspection, or revealed in the foreclosure purchase, that this house had a well and wasn’t on city water. When I called to order electrical service, I found out. So we arrived hot, sweaty, dirty and tired to a place with no water – including flushing toilets. It was 97 degrees the day I was unloading the truck. It was dirty work. *I* was dirty work, lol. A wonderful neighbor tried to prime the well with no success. This same neighbor and his wife offered us their showers at the end of the unloading. My daughter got on the interwebs and located a same-day response multi-specialty vendor on Home Advisor. He did get the pump primed, only to discover that the pressure was terribly high, meaning the guts of the well would most likely have to be replaced. Thankfully, he was wrong. But it took a while to get the name of a reputable well service. Again, another neighbor to the rescue, this one a structural engineer. In the interim, we used bottled water. Do you know how much water you use each day? My coffee alone uses a lot, lol! Add drinking water, toilet water, bathing water, cooking water, well, you get the picture. That liquid gold that flows from our pipes is highly undervalued by most of us, and me in particular. After a day or two without, I was able to devise a working plan for water while I waited. The actual well people discovered I did not need an entirely new set-up, but only a gauge, a bladder tank and a pipe repair. It looked like I had an artesian well once they got it running – so they dug it up and fixed it. Let me tell you, that water flowing into the kitchen sink was glorious! It still is. I find myself treating water very differently. I still don’t have running hot water, but that’s coming eventually. For now, I heat stock pots of water for bathing and dishwashing. Living with a little boy makes this easy, as baths are an easily foregone thing, lol! It is difficult for us to remember that running water inside of a house was a new thing for even our parents (or at least mine, growing up in the rural South). The next time you turn the tap, give thanks. Really, it is an amazing thing that we have at our fingertips. Trust me 😉
The move itself was a hysterical activity, as most all things are that I attempt. First off, I got a head injury. Yep. Split my scalp trying not to trip over the deaf and blind dog who secretly appears to want to kill me. When you lose your balance, the normal response is to throw your hands out – um, but my hands were full of boxes that if dropped, would hurt the killer dog mentioned above. So I hung onto my load, and used my head (it’s hard, don’t worry) to stop my faceplant. Except, I had my reading glasses atop my head. I now know the intimate sound of your scalp being punctured. Did you know that even superficial head wounds make your home look like a alt-stage for a zombie movie? They do! I did not even really realize I was hurt; it was rather like stubbing your pinky toe. The intial “Youch!” followed by a dull throbbing. Except that as I turned on the tile, I started spraying the floor, and the chair, and my legs, and…well, you get the picture. And I was there with a 7-year-old and a truck loader with limited, um, mental faculties. So I’m hollering to LegoMan to find the gauze pads as I rush to the bathroom sink, spraying as I go – the mirror, the sink cabinet, the floor. He was remarkably calm and located the gauze quite quickly, bless his little heart. He even held it on my head while I called my daughter. Good kid in an emergency. She entered very shortly after to the carnage. She, too, is good in an emergency. She and I both are certified in first aid, so neither of us panicked. But all of my first aid stuff was packed already in who knows what box. She whipped out her phone and discovered tumeric is a good substitute for a staunching blood, and the spices were still out! Yay! Except…I also keep my pink Himalyan salt in an old tumeric jar. Yep. She diligently poured it onto my gushing wound. I calmly stated that I did not think tumeric would burn so much, at which time she discovered her error 🙂 Hey, it wasn’t that bad. And it DID stop the bleeding. She found the tumeric and proceeded to apply it on top of the salt. We topped it off with a bag of frozen kale for extra clotting help. Really, there should have been a photo in there. You know, for old time’s sake. Thankfully my daughter loves me and did not Instagram my head wound alt-med activity. But it slowed my packing and lifting, as every time I bent to lift a box, a new gush would accompany my efforts. That little jaunt cost us a day in moving time. I dithered about going in to the emergency room, but we made do with the alternate remedies since there was no pupil abnormality (see hard head above) and not much blood after a few hours of sitting on my tuchus, frustrated about not getting things loaded. I left the tumeric, the dried blood (but not the kale, it’s edible!) in place for the two day drive to the new house. We didn’t want to disturb the scabs. A friend commented I could say that I was attacked by an Indian chef, lol!
On the way up, with my dried blood-stained, tumeric enhanced hair, we got some strange looks. My debit card, where ALL of my money for the move was tucked away, got compromised. Luckily I had a dumb thief who tried to go for gusto and run an impossibly large charge – and my credit union security team caught it. Except that they were calling me while I was driving. And when I listened to the message in horror, they had some LONG number I had to reference when I called the emergency number. Off we pulled into a truck stop so I could make the call. Ten days to get a replacement card. Yikes! I could have told them the sob story above, head wound and all I suppose, but I did simply ask that they expedite the replacement card, which they did. So hot, tired, head wound, cashless, I arrived at KarseCoteHowm – sans water.
One thing I will say, is that the people of North Carolina are a generous, thoughtful, wonderful group of people. I’ve been given produce, fresh caught fish, the opportunity to shower, free lawn mowing – a host of things. I’ve met nine neighbors in less than two weeks (unluckily for me, most during the time I was a dirty hot mess, lol!)
Life, it is a fun, flowing, adjusting thing. We must be flexible and agile. Things are not always as they appear, or, as your expectations have fooled you into believing. It’s okay. We are adaptable creatures with infinite abilities to survey, calculate and adjust. Use that talent. Life is a journey, and the switchbacks are often unmapped.
“Develop flexibility and you will be firm; cultivate yielding and you will be strong.” – Liezi,
Besides, there is always a swing and a good wine, to ease the end of every day for those of us truly with a lot.
‘Till next time, value your water, practice yielding, and smile a lot!