Tag Archives: Water

Halfway Through the Challenge

Back on Earth Day I posted about the UU Sacred Waters challenge. We are about halfway into the forty day challenge, so I thought I’d post an update about how I am doing.

I committed to using a reusable water bottle rather than picking up a new plastic bottle every time I went to the gym. I don’t know why I grabbed the bright blue ugly thing I did on that first day, because it is all dinged up and sort of nasty looking, but it’s functional. Three weeks in, and I’ve only failed to bring it with me to the gym once. I keep it in the car next to me and have even washed it several times to keep it clean. In the last twenty days, I would have used roughly nine plastic bottles from the gym and they would have all been piled up on the floor of my car. It’s a double bonus as far as I’m concerned. I’d say I get an A- so far.

Another thing I said I would do is to use a sponge rather than running water to pre-clean the dishes as I load the dishwasher. We have a funky European dishwasher that doesn’t do well with any food particles on the plates, so they have to be pretty well wiped before going in. I’ve managed to do pretty well on this. I’ll give myself an B- on this bit because I still find myself consciously shutting off the tap and picking up the sponge.

Blogging about the challenge is another thing I said I’d do, so…here’s blog post number two. I didn’t say I would do a daily blog, so I’ll give myself a shiny A for that.

Now for a few bonus points. I’ve been thinking about water usage more often by making sure my laundry loads are as full as possible without over-loading the machine, shutting off the water while brushing my teeth and reducing the water I use during showers.

And now for Thursday’s bonus moment… Gilgamesh is a water kitty. He has always curled up in our smaller bathroom sinks and he has always been fascinated by running water. He’ll come into the bathroom during bath-time and put his paws up on the edge and look over and into the pool of water. Some of you might recall that the cats had flooded our house once and that they just like water. Recently, Gilly has been spending time at the art room sink, literally crying for us to turn it on. I posted a video of it on facebook and you can see the little image from that here. So, we’ve turned on the water to a drizzle and let it run for a while. Over the last week or so, I’ve let it run for a long while and felt guilty the entire time even though watching him play with it has been rather cute.

While shopping for kitty litter at the local Petco, I came saw the Raindrop Design Stainless Steel Water Fountain for cats. We had a plastic Drinkwell for a long time, but, frankly, it got rather gross and seemed like a health hazard after a while. This fountain comes completely apart and goes into the dishwasher with ease. I put it down for Gilly this morning and he circled around it half a dozen times, his ears perked forward with clear interest. It only took him about a minute before deciding he might like this new thing. The fountain uses a quart or so of water and gives our kitty the running water action he enjoys so much while saving gallons of water from flowing down the sink.

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Heya, Bobby.

Small Hot Water Heater Like This

Okay, so I don’t actually say “Heya” on the phone, but that’s the tone of my voice, when I say, “Hello, Bobby.” And while I don’t actually say, “And, I’m going to call you every single day until you finally figure this thing out…” I’m thinking and planning on it. I don’t make the threat in the phone call, though. I’m too nice a person for that.

I have called him enough times now that he no longer needs the make, model or serial number of the hot water heater in the studio. I tell him my name and where I’m from and he pauses with just a second to remember exactly who I am. He should. I have spoken to him no less than five times since December when our brand new miniature hot water heater was installed in Bill’s pottery studio. It stopped working immediately, and the fix should be simple.

The first people who came out flipped a reset button and left. The next day it wasn’t working again, so I called right away. Then no one came. So I called again when I remembered a few weeks later. And again. Then Again. I’m a pretty easy going person, and I think it takes quite a bit to get me riled up. But, it’s the middle of APRIL. The thing was installed in DECEMBER, and my husband’s poor hands deserve some warm water to get the clay off. Seriously, people, how hard is it to replace a thermostat or do whatever it is that needs doing?

I talked to Bobby again today, and he remembers me rather well at this point. He promised me that he’ll get someone out there soon. I love that word. Soon. Do you think it means soon as in today? Or tomorrow? Or is it a relative soon as in next week sometime? I’ve got Bobby’s cell number on a yellow sticky attached to my computer monitor for quick and easy reference. I told him that I really needed to see the hot water working…soon…and that I was going to remember to stay on top of it until it was done. That’s as close to a threat as I get.

And the fact it’s a hot water heater is not lost on me. Water has always been a bit of a bugaboo for us, and I’ve written about water issues more than once. I’m guessing this is a theme in our life at this particular house.

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Water Woes Redux

Looking up our driveway.

I’ll start by referencing my previous post for brevity’s sake. The little addendum to the story about the laundry room flood is this: We recently discovered the radiator in our bathroom was not heating up. It was confusing even to the radiator repair guy who came out. He finally convinced us the only way for him to figure out what was blocking the radiator would be to cut a hole in the ceiling in the library; yes, the very ceiling we finally had patched and repainted just six months ago. After cutting the holes, the repairman explained that the little radiator we had removed from the laundry room was on the same loop as the one in the bathroom. Whoever removed that radiator had simply capped it off and not known that two radiators were on the same loop. To repair this, he had to access the tubes of the deleted radiator which required cutting holes in the laundry room walls. Now the radiator in the bathroom is working again, but I have two holes in the library ceiling and one in the laundry room to fix. (At least my towels are warm!)

The road next to our house.


And now to add another to the list of things related to the wet. I realize this picture isn’t quite as dramatic as the actual event itself, but the little crevice there formed by gravel is actually on the order of eight inches deep. The gravel that was in the driveway was washed into the street by one of our recent major storms a couple of weeks ago. When I left the house around 9am to head to church that morning, there was a very active stream wooshing down hill. I called Bill with an urgent, “the driveway’s being washed away” and went blithely to church. He spent the next two hours digging diversionary trenches and clearing clogged drains while it continued to rain. This was on December 12th, the day of the company holiday party. It was raining hard enough that the two hours spent outside was enough to drench him completely even through the brand new better-than-gortex coat we’d just purchased at REI and to soak through to the iPhone in his pocket. (Rice saved it.)

The water is almost meeting in the middle....

The other road to our place was closed off with water over the road way, or so I thought. And, on the way home, the only other road to our house (picture to the right) was very nearly closed off to do water over the roadway. Later that day, the power went off. We found out later there was a landslide across the road south of us that took out a pretty sizable chunk of land and trees. Everything worked out in the end, and our power was back on by the next morning. The driveway has been filled in with new gravel and the drains are all set to move water away from the middle of the driveway during the next storm.

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Water Woes

Oh yes. Again.

At least there’s no water damage this time.  For those of you who haven’t followed my life closely over the last few years, let me fill you in on some details.

In 2006, there was a very nasty windstorm in the Seattle area dubbed the “Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm.”  It happened in December and power was knocked out in the area. We were out of power for seven days, which turned out to be a blessing in some ways, but that’s beside the point.  Our house is built on a hill and has a fancy footing drain that takes water from the front of the house to the back when it rains heavily.  This drain failed because it was plugged with blackberry vines, and the sump pump in the basement had no power to take care of the water as it slowly filled that floor.  We had eight inches in the basement.  The cold weather prevented mold from growing as we waited for power to return so we could use blowers to dry things out.  We had to replace the carpeting, the furniture, the computers and repaint the walls.

Okay, not our cats, not our sink--but close enough and too cute not to share.

A year and a half ago, the kittens were in the laundry room late one night playing with the laundry room sink faucets.  The sink is directly above the library.  I woke to the sound of pitiful kitty cries and a sense of displacement to the waterfall sounds within the house.  Let’s just summarize by saying water flows in strange ways when it travels from one floor to the next–the water missed the musical instruments and most of the books in the library.     And I had a new-found appreciation for how USAA insurance jumps in to help.

These things don’t sound so bad when I look at them, but at the time they were pretty darn traumatic.  Then, we had the issue with the Water Association insisting we put a second water line up to our guest house.  Fine.  We paid for it.  Then we had this leak in the system that ended up with $1000 water bills for months on end before we could figure it out.  Great.   We hired a company that empties the water lines and fills them with a gas and walks around with special stethoscope to listen for the leak.  Another chunk-o-change, and we experience our first “regular” bill of $30 a month.  That’s been fixed for a while now.

The water we get from the street has almost zero pressure.  So, we have a pump on each service that provides us with pressure.  It draws the water from the street up to the houses and pushes it through so that we can fill a glass of water in a few seconds rather than, say half a minute.

Pump

Sort of like this.

Now, I finally get to this week’s water woe.  They are adding a road behind us and the water district had to rebuild their lines up an adjacent street.  To do so, they turned off our water.  They didn’t tell us exactly when they were going to turn off the water, either.  We knew, vaguely, that it would happen and the first time it was off it was for about half an hour.  Then, it went off for a whole day.  When the work was done, our pumps started doing some strange things.  It started with the first pump to the guest cottage.  Then the pump to our house…and now both of them are cycling non-stop even when we are not running water at either location.  Sighs.

The plumber is sure it’s due to the fact that grit was somehow introduced into the system during the  road work.  Still, it’s a huge pain to have to repair and replace the water pumps.  At least water seems to be our main bugaboo on this property.  Not like we have to worry about…say…changing light bulbs.

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