Wednesday, December 31, 2014

with a bang!

Lyrics, dancing around in my head: five golden rays! four dirty pots, three cold hens, two stubborn people, and a cat with an upset tummy!

Yes, yes, it is the last day of the year and it's freezing outside and we are without water and Isis is rebelling against the uninteresting cat food we are giving him these days.

There you have it -- our day in a nutshell: a heck of a closure to 2014.

But oh, that sunshine! That misleading sunshine, distracting from the fact that it's 2F outside, with a brisk wind giving a real punch to any mortal attempting to work outside.

(The cheepers venture out for their morning treat, but then quickly retreat back to the barn. Why didn't you tell us it was this cold?!)

We eat breakfast. Plenty of clean dishes still, but the stack of grubby ones in the sink is growing. We have a large container of water, but it's not nearly enough to guide us through a regular day.


Ed notes that my voice has a bit of an edge to it. I have to admit he is correct. My plans for the day are in shreds and the farmhouse, instead of being polished and ready for the new year, is a mess.

We talk about places we have lived without running water: I note that my first years of life and many summers thereafter were spent in a village in Poland where my grandparents brought in water by the bucket from a well outside; Ed remembers the months at sea, sailing with limited water supplies and, too, long ago, several seasons spent in a shack in Tennessee without water or electricity -- a self inflicted Thoreau-like existence.

Yes, sure, I see how spoiled I've become: today I want my water. I want a clean house and I want to make a very special dinner -- lobster tails, purchased yesterday at $8 a tail, with potatoes and corn on the side. And I want to bake. And let's face it -- I want to use the bathroom as I see fit, luxuriously indoors, upstairs, with a view toward the gardens and crab apples. Spoiled, I tell you!

But I also want to be a good partner in farmette life and so I tell Ed that we can postpone attempting the fix of the water pump until tomorrow. Thursday's high of 30F seems positively tropical when compared to the single digits we're seeing today. And that wind!

But he knows that deep down, I'm longing for a resolution. Outside, he untwists the wires, finds another problem with a failed connection, drives once again to Pumps and Equipment (quickly! before the world shuts down to celebrate the passing of another year!) while I sit and wonder how it is that bringing water inside can be this complicated.

(While the cheepers watch and shiver. Or, is it the wind that shakes them this way and that?)


And now the new pump, the pipes, the wires -- are all laid out in the sheep shed, ready to be walked over and streamed into the well. As we step outside, the monster pipe suspended between us, Ed hesitates.
Cold? I ask.
No, the wind. 
I see his point: we have to hold that damn thing upright and steady while he bolts it into place and tapes wires to it every half dozen feet. I think about the stack of dirty dishes and the chaos inside. I know Ed's braving the horrible weather because he knows all I can think about is the sink with the dishes and the toilet that no longer flushes.
We can do this tomorrow, I reassure him.
He hesitates again, but only for a moment. Let's do it.


Among the most uncomfortable minutes of 2014, I'll surely include holding onto the pump and pipe with frozen hands and a frozen shoulder. Ed's made of hardier stuff: without flinching, he tightens the pipes, tapes the wires and somehow I do not let go of any of it to send the whole thing crashing to the bottom of the well. Sometimes you know that if you mess up, the consequences are just too harsh to contemplate, so you hold on.

And he finishes the outside job just as the last sun streaks disappear and the dusk of a New Year's Eve sets in.


It will be many more hours before we have water again. The wiring in the basement poses additional hurdles -- for no reason other than because Ed is, by this point, exhausted.

But by the time of the evening news, I can wash my hands, my face, my dishes, my worries away. We have water. I make our supper while my guy showers and warms up under the quilt.


2014 surely made its way out with a bang!

Ocean readers -- I know I have no great power to make your next year wonderful, but I do so hope it can be the best that it can be. And that we can help each other make it just a bit more cheerful and kind. Happy, happy 2015!