Monday, the well went dry. Bummer. Scary bummer. Mother Nature saying “The joke’s on YOU!”

While I’m saying “Hey … but … wait a minute … Can’t I fix that with software? ”

Going home

So after I stop running around in circles and weeping hysterically — bet you’re glad you missed it — and with the help of a whole lot of people (it takes a village), we gather money to fix the well. Because we have been assured by both well contractors who work in our area that our well can be fixed. And they have the know-how and equipment to do it.


We need a firm estimate — real numbers. Not the vague estimate one typically gets from a contractor. A commitment to do the work before the ground freezes. Contractors are a lot like Mother Nature. You can’t control a contractor. They show up when they show up, work when they work. If you annoy them, they might not work and you don’t want that. If you haven’t seen The Money Pit, see it. It’s a hilarious movie, in a rueful way. Good for a guffaw mixed with memories of other jobs, other contractors. Waiting for them to show up, hoping they will show up. Feeling you should have a party if they do show up.

There is nothing more humbling than being in thrall to a contractor. You can’t do the work yourself. You need him and are committed. If he doesn’t get the work done when he says he will, for the price he has promised, you are so screwed.


In the middle of this sturm und drang, I had to go to the cardiologist. And the pacemaker lab. The pacemaker lab both fascinates and creeps me out. They mess around with my heart. Literally, tuning me up. Tuning me up? She does a read-out and tells me my heart has had no “incidents.” There’s a complete electronic record of everything my heart has — or has not — done since my last visit. She decides to skip a beat. Weird feeling. Then she speeds up my heart and skips two beats. If my heart is beating faster, missing a couple of beats won’t bother me so much, she says. Not really.


“I’m going to turn down your pacemaker to 55. I’m going to turn it down to 50 from midnight to 8 am. So it might make you sleepy. A little sleepy. Not a lot. You might not even notice.” I’m in favor in anything that has a prayer of helping me sleep.

“Okay. That’s pretty much my natural — or was my natural — heart rate. I mean, before all of the surgery and the pacemaker and everything.”

“That’s the point. Try to integrate the pacemaker with your natural heart rhythm. Uses less battery power.”

Battery power. “What happens if the battery dies?”

“It won’t.”

“How do you know?”

“Because it’s telling me it has 12.5 years of life left in it. Actually, you don’t have to worry about the battery. It’s the wires.”

“The wires?”

“Yes, the wires that run from the pacemaker to the parts of your heart. They could come loose.”

“Then my heart stops beating.”

“Not necessarily.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, it’s not quite that simple. There’s more to it than that. There are back-ups and fail safes and anyway, by the time you need a new battery, who knows what the technology will be?”


I actually find that comforting. I am one sick puppy. She gives me a souvenir pacemaker after I explain I’m a blogger and I like taking pictures of this stuff. It’s not exactly the same as my pacemaker, but it’s close. And there are no wires. But mine has wires and I can feel them through my skin. I can feel the wires, the little screws to which the wires are attached. All of it. I have no muscle or breast tissue there because I had a double mastectomy a couple of years before all this heart surgery … and I’m not a very big woman. But time to move on down the hall to the doctor himself.

“How are you?” asks my doctor.

“Fine,” I answer, skipping over the catastrophes of the past week. “Terrific.” I’m lying but, it’s easier that way.

Chit chatting, getting prescriptions. He tells me I need more exercise. I can’t argue with this. I do need more exercise, though I doubt it’ll happen. I’m anti-motivated toward exercise. It hurts. But I’m not going to tell him that. He wishes me a happy New Year. It’s Rosh HaShannah. Tonight.

Happy 5775. That is a lot of years.

And now, I’ve chased down the contractor. Firmed up a price. I was scared when the well went dry, but I think I was even more terrified waiting for that number from the well guys.

And winter is coming.

Categories: Anecdote, Blackstone Valley, Humor, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

30 replies

  1. I haven’t read for a couple days, but it seems like you are making progress on you GoFundMe goal and having the money to do something is always the first step. 🙂 Here’s hoping those durn contractors get back to you (or already have) so you can get back to your version of normalcy. Many kind thoughts being sent your way!


  2. Reblogged this on Sunday Night Blog and commented:

    If you can not fix your well or your pacemaker with software, we are not as far along with this technology thing as we should be. Just saying!


  3. The wires and screws would always be on my mind, especially if I could feel them. You are a brave woman who has been through way more than your share of medical dramas.

    Hope the price to fix the well didn’t make you fall over! 😀


    • It’s not like you get a choice about this stuff.Brave would be if I had a choice and I did it to save someone else — rather than just surviving. As it is, I think stalwart is about as good as I get. I have done the best I could considering how much crap has fallen my way. If I’d had ANY choice in the matter … ANY choice other than being sliced and diced over and over, I’d have done it.

      The price on the well was almost exactly what I thought it would be … about $4000. Plus whatever it will cost us to repair the walk and the fence which are likely to be deconstructed in passing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely wouldn’t recommend “The Money Pit” to anyone with cardiac problems. The first time I watched it, I laughed so hard during the “falling off the roof” scene that I lost the ability to catch my breath. I was laughing, gasping and holding my aching sides, but I couldn’t stop watching.

    I can’t imagine having a pacemaker, but it’s certainly better than the alternative, right?

    PS: I actually did tell my doctor that I wouldn’t exercise more because it hurt too much – this was during the time I was experiencing extreme muscle cramps. But now that I’m better, I’m able to start walking more, and I think my doctor will be pleased when I see him again next month.


    • Our reaction to The Money Pit was the same. It’s less funny when you are in the middle of something that seems like a sequel. Fortunately, these guys are pretty good eggs and neighbors. They’ll do the work and try not to kill us in the process. With a bit of luck, it will only take a few days … and be all outside (though we’ll be back to no water while they work).


      • I hear you. We had all kinds of work done on our house in the last year (not by choice, trust me), and I often thought of that movie, especially when all those men were on top of our roof. Fortunately, our contractors were all good, and honest.


        • This is a family of guys who do stuff with septic systems, outdoor water pipes, wells, etc. They all look alike, and I get them confused. Jack and Jeff, John and Dave. The three J’s all have company names (separate, if you please) — J.L. Darling. So you can’t tell which one it is. And they all live in the same complex of houses at the end of our street, so you can’t tell by the address (all one address). Only Dave is different because he’s the Well Guy and none of the J’s do wells. I think John used to. He’s Dad, but I believe he is now retired.

          It’ll be okay. Just harrowing.


  5. At least things are moving forward.

    “You don’t have to worry about the battery. It’s THE WIRES you need to worry about.” Great, thanks. Not what I’d want to hear.

    I may have seen “The Money Pit”, but I certainly saw and loved “Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House” which I guess is similar.


    • Yes. The Money Pit IS similar, at least thematically … but it’s Tom Hanks and it’s very funny. It is to home renovation what Jaws is to a summer at the beach.

      I wasn’t worried about the wires until she mentioned them.


  6. Does running away screaming count as exercise?


  7. Forgive me if I got a chuckle out of reading this post. Your description of your pacemaker tests and adjustments reminded me or “Air Jordon’s”, just pump it up a little more or less and perform better on the court. The same can be said of the Sleep Number air mattresses. As far as contractors I also remember Green Acres troubles with contractors you describe. The Money Pit was one of my all time funniest comedies. When Tom Hanks fell through his floor and was wedged because of the area rug I thought I was going to lose control. I was laughing so hard I was crying.


    • It is very much like any of the things you mentioned. Garry thought it most resembled a thermostat … set it on low at night, warmer by day. WE CAN REBUILD HER. STRONGER, FASTER. But we can’t do a thing about her arthritis. Why IS that?


  8. It would really suck to be at the mercy of a contractor if you needed him to fix the loose wires in your pacemaker…

    I’m a sick puppy as well (as I’m sure you already knew!)


  9. Happy Rosh HaShannah! Hope for the rain and for a reasonable estimate for the work that has to be done. Take care of your heart.


  10. Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    Fabulous writing…


  11. Fabulous writing… you are a brave soul indeed!


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Tish Farrell

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