Happiness is: Hot Running Water

Squeezed February 3, 2007

If ever you get complacent about life’s conveniences, try this: Since January 9, my mom and I have taken a hot shower only three times each.

And, no, we’re not smelling like ripe Limburger right about now. We have been able to keep up with hygiene, but not in a very comfortable manner. A badly leaking hot water pipe under our house forced us to take baths the old-fashioned way…out of a bucket, with hot water heated on a stove.

I’m not sure how it started, but I had noticed that our hot water would seem to run out quickly. We first got wind of what was going on when the gas company called us to discuss a high gas bill. At first, Mom didn’t think anything of it…she had used the oven recently and knew that our gas usually spikes when that happens. She didn’t expect the bill to be 10 times normal.

Further inspection found a hidden leak in our pipes. I also noticed warmth in the floor in my room, under which the hot water pipe runs. Put it all together and…my first thought was, “No way am I taking cold showers each morning.”

So, I was bathing myself out of a three-gallon bucket every morning for the better part of a month. I would add cold water to a potful of boiling hot water, then use a small scoop to pour the water over myself. I eventually ended up learning how to make efficient use of the hot water…I could wash my whole body and still have at least a basinful of hot water to shave with.

I was able to take a few hot showers…once when we left the hot water running so the plumber could diagnose the problem, and twice when we were off island for the weekend at my grandma’s house.

After what seemed like interminable delays, the plumber was finally able to fix the problem today, by rerouting the hot water around our house under the baseboard. My mom already celebrated with her first hot shower in a while, and I’ll get to do the same early tomorrow morning.

I guess I can look forward to a much lower water bill than normal this month.

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