Friday, December 11, 2009


When it rains, it pours, or so they say. This week the inconveniences have come down like a steady stream. Here is what I'm talking about:

Frozen Pipes
Since Monday, the temperature has not risen above freezing. Our kitchen sink pipes must travel through an outside wall because Monday morning we had no water running in the sink. I spent the day with a space heater under the sink and the faucet open, hoping to see a drip, drip, drip--but nothing. Since then we've decided to let nature take it's course, which may or may not be our undoing. When it warms up in 3 days, we hope to have water running in the kitchen sink. (Please don't tell me if this is the worst thing ever...let my ignorance be bliss for just a little longer.)

As a result of the frozen kitchen pipes, I'm hauling water like a pioneer. You know--walking up carpeted stairs in my heated house to fill up a large basin with instantly hot water from the bath tub. It's rough. I only do this when I have to do dishes. By. Hand. (I told you things were tough.)

I've purchased paper plates and cups and we have a nice supply of plastic utensils to cut down on the water-hauling, hand-wrinkling, time-consuming dish washing that generally results from eating or baking. Comments from the kids on our current situation range from: That looks like fun! Can I scrub? This is the best! Can we do this every night?

Broken Dryer
I had one more load to move from the washer to the dryer on Tuesday and then every single washable thing in the house would be clean, folded, and put away. It's a pretty good feeling to have empty laundry baskets in every room and clean towels in every bathroom. When I opened the dryer to remove the load that had just run through the cycle, I found wet, cold clothes. My dryer was no longer heating.

While my neighbor kindly dried my clothes, I called an appliance repairman. See, letting nature take it's course with the kitchen sink is one thing. But the clock was ticking on that dryer. I had 5 days, tops before I'd need to start laundering again or things were going to get ugly.

Appliance guy couldn't come out Wednesday, but promised Thursday, "sometime in the morning." I didn't leave the house all day and had my phone with in arms reach from 7am to 4:30 pm, when I noticed I had a message on voice mail. It was him! He'd called, sometime, who knows when, and I'd missed it. Missed it!! I quickly called back and found out that my 20 minute delay in contacting him meant he was too far away to come to my home and would try again Friday.

"I've been waiting for you all day!" I complained, which, in hindsight, might not have been the best strategy seeing as how my lack of dryer repair expertise could put him at a billing advantage should he develop some kind of annoyance with me.

So, I'll wait again today. Which might seem like an additional hardship except....

The Car Won't Start
Well, to be honest, the car starts now.* But after I got off the phone with phantom repairman and resigned myself to another day of being home bound, I got in the car to run to the grocery store for a few things for dinner. Specifically, frozen Kid's Cuisine dinners. But the car wouldn't start.

Our car is 12 years old and has 120 thousand miles and a cracked exhaust manifold so the possibility that the car's time had finally come was definitely there. However, when Robert got home from work (after 8pm, another hardship...but I digress) he did a little battery jumping and got the car running.

Not that I'll be needing it today.
*Update, the car didn't start this morning. It's just too cold and the battery too weak.

In Summary
I see the irony of complaining about my hardships as I sit here in my warm bed, forced air heat warming our early morning home, typing on my laptop which is wirelessly connected to the internet--the world, literally at my fingertips--as Robert gets ready to go to his job. The kids are healthy and will wake soon to a breakfast of their choice of three different cold cereals (three!), or instant oatmeal, or peanut butter toast, or, because I'm in a good mood, possibly eggs.

It's easy to take my every day conveniences for granted, but the sting of having to do without is uncomfortable.

I'd pontificate on this topic more, but it's time for me to get up and have pre-heated water shower over me at my very command (i.e. turn of a handle). I feel like royalty.


a said...

God has given you the blessing of the cup half full, the blessing of the silver lining. I am pleased as punch that he has given me the blessing of knowing you! Here is to working forced heat that regulates itself, to electric and gas stoves, to hot water tanks, to light switch fireplaces, to phones to call a friend, to the world wide web, to calm skies to enjoy it all! Here's to friendship. I am so glad to count you tops amongst mine!

Ethan said...

Awwww....I'm going to have to make one of those special files for this comment, "a".

Afton said...

That last comment was from me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Afton - loving your blogs! I totally empathize with your travails and deprivations. I've lately endured a nightmare of bureaucratic hell from the USPostal Service myself. They forwarded all my SG mail to a black hole in Seattle (not to my address). After a chat w/the postmaster here I hope it's fixed!Karen in St. George

shiguy4076 said...

I've found you never really realize how wonderful modern comforts are until you don't have them. :D
I hope all returns to normal soon and that your car doesn't die permanately

Allyson said...

You are a modern day pioneer! Way to go! Wasn't your hardship a year ago the big freeze that closed schools and church and brought Portland, Or to a standstill? If so, I think you've got it easier this year.