It always happens around the holidays. We become an illustration of Murphy’s Law in action. What can go wrong, goes wrong. At the same time.
On Saturday, we ran out of oil. Why? Because our provider forgot to deliver oil since August. Just … forgot. Saturday afternoon, no hot water. It wasn’t terribly cold and we got hold of The Guy. He put 50 gallons in the tank and restarted the boiler. Today I called them and as soon as I identified myself, she started to apologize, told me the truck was on the way, no idea how or why this happened.
One crisis settled. I took a deep breath. With Thanksgiving just a few days from now. I need to shop, clean, cook. I put supper in the oven. Garry and I were sitting, watching a rerun of Law and Order when the Granddaughter popped upstairs. It was bit late to be asking to borrow the car so it had to be an actual visit … nah … something had happened.
No water. She had tried to take a shower and there was no water. Not hot. Not cold. Not any. We had water in the morning. We had water an hour ago. Less than an hour ago. We replaced the well pump three years ago. June 2010. I knew when because it occurred before the cancer. My son was sure we changed the pump just last year, but I knew it was BC (before cancer) which had to be 2010. Time flies when you are having fun. It meant the warranty has run out on the pump. Still, three years is not much mileage on a well pump.
My son came home from work, quickly determined the outside pipe which feeds the garden hose had burst and drained the well. The pump got hot and turned itself off. We closed down the broken pipe, restarted the pump and voilà, water.
If you think that’s the end of the story, you don’t have a well.
A well is just a big hole in the ground that taps into an aquifer. A pump hangs on an electric cable and a pipe through which the water is pushed to the surface and into the house. Ours well is artesian. Deep, almost 500 feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. This is not an arid region and although we have occasional droughts, it’s not like living in the southwest. Mostly, we have plenty of water and don’t think about the well. We have a filter to keep the water clear of particulates. Our natural well water is icy cold and delicious.
Thrice before the well has run dry. First time, we tried to fill a hot tub in one day. Second time, the old well pump up and died. At 30-years old, it didn’t owe us anything. Last time, lightning hit the pump and killed it. That’s how I know lightning can strike underground. It’s the yummy combination of metal, electricity and water. Really attracts lightning.
Since then we haven’t had to think about the well. Plenty of water, even during periods of drought. So after the pump was back on, we went back to acting normally. Not a good idea — not much water in the well.
I didn’t think about how empty the well was until after Garry had taken a shower and I started to wash the dishes and a little bell went off. Ding, ding, ding: “Whoa, water … damn.” An hour later, there was no water. Again.
We are on the ultimate Water Diet. For the next few days, we have to use as little water as possible. Flush only when we must. Shower only if really dirty (ugh). Wash dishes quickly using minimal water. By Thanksgiving, the well should be full. Or so we fondly believe.
The fun never stops around here.