10/2/12

Of Cats, Catastrophes, and Commitments

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass;
it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Cats:  Smitty went to the vet today.  He was an absolute gentleman in the car.  He got his rabies shot and he got his ears checked, as well as another part of his anatomy that is, well, purrsonal.  He didn't like that.  But he's gained a almost 1 1/2 pounds--from 6.2 pounds to 7.6 pounds.  He's still smaller than either of my children when they were born.  It's one of the things I remember from having newborns around the house.  They weighed less than our cats.  But then, as if by magic, they suddenly weighed more than our cats.  I suppose there is some magic in it.  

So my plan was to tackle Mt. Laundry when I got home from the vet.

And I did get it sorted from a mountain into some formidable foothills.  Then I tossed a load of whites into the washer and turned it on.  Problem is, the machine simply made a sort of gurgling sound and produced no water to fill the tub.  "Hm.  That's strange," I think to myself.  Then almost right away, I think, "Oh!  Mike must have turned off the water while we were gone."  (We sometimes do that when we travel on the off chance that a hose will fail.)  I didn't remember that I had just used the washer yesterday and it worked fine.

So then I go into the kitchen and turn on the tap.


And I get approximately as much water as you see flowing in this image.  Uh Oh.  Now I'm really concerned.  I took a shower this morning, and everything seemed fine.  Nevertheless, we are on a well, and our pump went out and had to be replaced several years ago.  I wonder if the pump has gone out again, and so I call Mike at work.  I leave a message, and when he calls back, he says he's coming home.

When he gets home, he has an idea that possibly the pressure switch is stuck.  We both really hope so.  We hope so really hard.  We hope even harder as he goes to check on it.  But no.  It seems to be working.  And Mike can hear the pump working, and so it's not the pump.  It can mean only one thing:  Our well is dry.

Gratuitous image representing the catastrophe we find ourselves in.

Cue scary music.  We are, shall we say, fucked.  Sorry, it's the only word that fits.

Our well has never been terribly robust in the summer when we start using a lot of water, but it's never run completely dry before either.  It's not as if we've had a dry year.  There was plenty of rain this winter, but it has been a dry summer by Oregon standards.  Sadly, there is no rain in the forecast.

So currently, we're considering our options.  As an emergency measure, we can run our hose down to our neighbors' house and use their water.  Trouble is, they just sold their house and they are moving on Friday.  We haven't met the new neighbors, and we have no idea whether they will take kindly to us freeloading from their well.  From my point of view, it would be a good way to make nice, but then, I'm the freeloader.  My opinion is probably biased.  Whatever, it's a frighteningly temporary measure.

We can dig our well deeper, which will be expensive, and I don't really have any idea what all is involved or how quickly it can happen.  We've already discussed putting in a rainwater catchment system, and that seems like a good choice, but it will do nothing to get water running through the pipes again right now.

So that's all I know about the current catastrophe.  I'll have to update you as events unfold.

Update:  Turns out it's not the well after all.  After hooking up to our neighbors' well, Mike went off to a business meeting, and I went down to my basement sewing room to sew.  As I walked across the carpet, I experienced the strangest squish, squish, squish sensation and looked behind me to see my saturated footsteps in the carpet.  Turns out a pipe has broken, and it's the main pipe that brings water from the well into the house.  I've taken a few pictures, and I'll post them tomorrow when I know more.  Needless to say, all the water to the house is shut off now, and we'll be moving into the RV until it's fixed.  Heavy sigh.

Fortunately, all of my fabric is stored in plastic bins, and it doesn't appear any of our personal property is damaged.  The good news in all of this is that our homeowner's insurance will cover the damage.  The bad news is that the pipe is several feet below grade, and so it will require some significant digging to find and repair the damage.  It may even mean replacing the entire pipe.  The well is a significant distance from the house, and so we may be looking at a real repair nightmare.  Right now we have lots of questions, and precious few answers.  I'm sure it will all unfold in due course, but for now, we're kind of waiting to see what's going to happen.  I'll keep posting updates when I know more.

As for commitments, here's what's up.  I said in my blog post yesterday that I was going out for a walk.  Well, that never happened.  I ended up spending too much time on the computer.  When I realized how late in the morning it was, I told myself I could either walk or sew.  Which do you think I chose?  Hm?  I mean, which would you have chosen?  Clearly I had come to a fork in my morning road.


I chose the path of least resistance; i.e., sewing.  This seemed okay because I figured I could walk today.  And I had every intention of doing so.  It would have been easy to make excuses when the water stopped flowing, but no! I was committed to doing it come hell or no water!  I guess no water would be preferable to hell.  Only then I started walking and realized I was getting both hell AND no water.

There are three walks I have scoped out for myself that do not require driving anywhere.  Actually, one requires driving to the bottom of the hill, but it's not far.  Yes, I could walk down the hill, but I'm quite certain I cannot walk back up.  In any case, today's walk is going to be designated forever after as the Loop of Doom.  I've traced it out for you on Google Earth so you can see it.

Loop of Doom

I'm calling it the Loop of Doom because I'm sure it's uphill all the way.  One would expect it to be half uphill and half downhill, but I'm certain that there were no downhill portions.  It's not as far as it looks...probably around five miles.  It took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Not too bad, and I could feel the flab falling off of my fanny as I trudged along.  If only.

So that's my day.  Mike just came in and we discussed the water situation.  Apparently, we will have to be real cozy with our new neighbors right away.  Hopefully, they will take pity on us because we are a definitely a pitiful pair right now.  Next spring we will install a rainwater catchment system.  It's the greener alternative to digging our well deeper, and it will probably be less expensive.  But it's too late for that now.  For now, we will just have to hope for flexible new neighbors...and rain...soon.

And I guess I'll be getting more more exercise than I originally committed to because I'm off to do a rain dance just now.


22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Michelle said...

That is the only word the describes it. We were playing games with our well earlier this summer -- now and then the water just stopped for no apparent reason. We don't know if someone near us dug a new well and now we're sharing water, or if someone was using lots of water for a one-time thing (I hope and pray that's what it was!)

I hope your new neighbors are friendly, and that you get water or your own very soon!

Kari @ The Purple Quiltapotamus said...

Oh my goodness, thats horrible about your well. Hopefully your rain dance will work wonders and you'll be back splashing around soon.
Good luck with your new neighbours - I hope they are fabulous people!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

What a mess! I'll have Big Mick start the rain dance........

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

What a mess! I'll have Big Mick start the rain dance........

Junebug613 said...

Wowsers! Yep, I'd say that was the appropriate word for your situation. I'm sending positive thoughts and prayers that your new neighbors will be understanding and accommodating. Also hoping it will rain for you!

Rachel said...

OK, I WAS gonna be a total smarta** and say, "Quit stealing pictures of my laundry pile"...Now all I got is, What a way to meet the neighbors and I am praying for rain!

Winona said...

Oh man, that sucks. It really does. Been there, done that more times than I care to remember. We have a cistern and haul our own water. I would love to have a well, but they start at about $10,000 around here. We just can't afford that. I will pray for generous neighbors and rain for you.

gpc said...

At least you have the comfort of knowing that you know exactly the right word for the situation. I do know a good rain dance, but I'm not sure how rain here in Michigan will help you. Fingers crossed that all goes well, and quickly.

Teresa in Music City said...

Well that's really a bummer!!!! I'm really sorry you are having to deal with all that mess! I does appear thought that perhaps it is a fixable problem, even if a very expensive, messy and prolonged one? I'm trying to imagine the reactions of the new neighbors when you present your problem... "Well hello there! We're your new neighbors - Welcome to the neighborhood! We baked these cookies for you, and here's some of my favorite chutney - I made it myself! Oh, and, ah, well.... would you mind too terribly much if we freeload your water supply until next spring? We promise to be very, very thrifty with it...."

Oh my! It will be very interesting to see what answers you get to the problem. Here's hoping it's not as bad as first supposed and that it can be fixed with the least amount of fuss!

WoolenSails said...

We had that happen but with town water, the pipe coming into the house broke. So, we turned off the water and called a plumber, was an easy fix luckily. You have a nice area to walk in, we have a rural area, but mostly houses.

Debbie

Denise :) said...

We had the *very* same scare earlier this year. Not a happy thing. Ours was a pump problem. Wish yours was as easily fixed. :( Your loop of doom *cracks* me up!! I am able to honestly tell my kids (and now grandkids) that I walked to and from school in a foot of snow, up hill both ways!! Hope the water situation is taken care of quickly! :)

quiltzyx said...

Holy moly what a day! I too, hope your new neighbor are, um, neighborly & will share some H2O with you.

Gosh - I can see you've lost weight on the Loop of Doom from here! Keep up the good work. :D

Give Smitty an extra pet from me for having to get shots today. And one for Gracie too, just because. ;^)

Debbie said...

The rain dance has to be naked....for it to work! I threaten to dance all the time and so far we have had good rains this year.
What a nightmare for the water problem....tackle one thing at a time with it.

greelyrita said...

The pipe from the well to the house is not as bad a problem as a dry well or needing a new foot valve, one of which need a new well drilled, the other may need a new well drilled (worst case). Our foot valve went and it turned out the well was not where we thought it was. Now-a-days, they want you leaving a bit of it sticking out of the ground (very decorative, I know). So the digger who must have been hiding just around the corner (he was there that fast) started at the house and followed the pipe to find the well. We had just paid big bucks to plant a specific type of maple tree (because there are so few in Canada, kidding) in front of our house. Yes, we planted him right over the well, whose head was some 8' down. Hello? Who puts their well head that deep and almost in the ditch?? Ridiculous and expensive. Good luck. It will be quick but probably costly, sorry. On the postive side, it's great entertainment for the kitties.

craftingismybliss said...

Sorry to hear about your water problems. I hope you can sort it out soon and it's not too expensive.

Diane Wild said...

I have nothing to add other than...well, sorry, nothing more to add. Hope it all sorts out soon. Any landromats close by? If you have to go to one, you could go for a walk while your clothes are washing. See, there is a bright side.

Lee said...

In my home, a similar laundry pile is referred to as Mt. Washmore (I think I picked that up at Flylady.), and it's on my list of to-do-today too, blech! I guess there are some advantages of living in the 'burbs with city water - our 'reservoir' sits on a hill a few blocks up the street from us - talk about water pressure - we have to replace pressure regulators and gaskets more than anything around here. I'll be praying your fix is less involved than feared. And give Smitty a love-pat from for enduring his vet visit ;)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Yuk! Our parents hometown is looking at running out of water in the next year. They just went into drought level 3. They did get several inches of rain over the weekend, but, it would take several weeks of rain to fill the reservoirs back up. Hope the pipe is a much easier fix than anticipated for you. Good luck with the new neighbors.

Judy1522 said...

Oh that is terrible! There is nothing worse than having problems with your water. But it would be much worse if it actually was your well going dry.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Oh, I missed this post! I've been suffering with a bout of diverticulitis and doing the absolute minimum after I get home from work. Glad to see it is OK now but that walk you mapped out- oh my! That looks so long! Five miles is definitely a long walk.

Kate said...

I've been AWOL due to evening meetings and haven't been on the computer, so I missed this. Hope things start going your way soon.

Needled Mom said...

I've had little ones all week so I had to come back and see what had happened. Oh dear!!! What a nightmare, but glad the well isn't dry.

That looks like one challenging walk!