The Weight of Water

Yesterday I came home to find my husband in the front yard with a wrench in one hand, another tool I couldn’t make out in the other, bent over a hole in the front yard. He was dressed still, in his business clothes, in near 100 degree (farenheit) heat. My next door neighbor stood by with a mixture of bemusement, and concern on her face. They were her tools.

“They shut the water off. They said there is a leak, and they shut it off to prevent us from getting an outrageous bill.”

Not three days before, I had observed that there appeared to be more green grass in that area, with said neighbor, and we had discussed the likelihood of that indicating a(hopefully minor) leak. Apparently the small leak fully ruptured while we were all at work. Fortunately, the city utility department happened to be in the neighborhood, and shut it off for us in the only way they could.  It was apparent that a good amount of soil had been washed away, so apparently it was a major leak at this point. The on-call utility worker kindly came out, turned the water back on for us last night, to show us where the problem was, and then showed my husband how to turn it on if we really needed it overnight. Only, we didn’t have his nifty tool.

So, we called a couple of plumbing companies, none of whom could make it out until “sometime tomorrow.”

It’s amazing how the moment we don’t have something that we have previously taken for granted (like water), you suddenly evaluate more carefully your need for it. For us, this meant taking an inventory of how long each family member has gone since last bathing. But suddenly the need to run the dishwasher, or a load of laundry, or bathing the dogs felt more urgent.

But we didn’t have water.

I texted my neighbor at 7:00am this morning, to ask permission to fill a tub of water from her outdoor faucet to allow for toilet flushing, providing the dogs with water, and of course, making coffee. She kindly obliged. I got some curious stares from the garbage collectors, though, as I filled the bin dressed in business wear, and heaved it back to my house. Hurry kids, we need to get off to school before the police come out to ask questions and make me late for work.

Today I went to work as usual, filled a co-worker in on the drama, and went on about my business, sporadically calling the plumbing company to request updated ETA’s. The strange thing was, through all of it, I did not get mad. Not even a little bit of anger reared its head. And as I told a co-worker about it today, he offered accommodations if I needed to get home to take care of it. I responded, “You know, this is a first-world problem.” Through it all, I find that I am more grateful than anything. Sure it’s inconvenient. It’s potentially expensive. But I can expect to have predictable running water on-demand, in my home, within a day! The majority of the world cannot say this!

So today, I am mindful that there are rural wells drying up in California and Nevada because for years, we have decided to grow the majority of our produce in their desert. Those people can’t likely restore the water access they may have taken for granted in the next day.

Did you know there are neighborhoods in the capital city of Texas that have not ever had running water? They weekly fill large reservoirs that the families truck in.

I am aware of the concerns of the Navajo, who are impacted by the chemical spill in the Animas River. Their food and water supply may be impacted long-term.

I am simply more thankful, and aware of the plight of many others worldwide. Let us not fail to revel and delight in the miraculous provisions, and abundance around us. Lest, we lose it having failed to appreciate it.


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