This week, water has threatened to take us out.
We returned from our trip to Bangkok on Wednesday evening, and while I’d like to be posting on that, we’re currently in a village with pretty slow internet access and uploading the many photos we took would likely take the entire week.
So first I’ll share my water woes.
Let me first explain: we receive water from the city most every night. This goes into a 1200 liter reserve tank outside that we use through the day for showering, dishes, and laundry. We also have a reserve tub in the bathroom that we use for flushing the toilet and cold showering, and as a backup if the city water is off for a day or two and we run out. This isn’t uncommon, but since it usually comes on within a night or two, it isn’t much of an interruption.
Oh, and then we have separate, purchased drinking water bottles—20 liter bottles that we pop on top of a water cooler, similar to a business in America.
When we returned on Wednesday night and swung back into life, we unpacked and washed clothes per usual. Since we had been gone & our reserve tank should have had plenty of water, we didn’t think much about our city water supply. However, somewhere either during our trip to Bangkok or in the days following, the city decided to shut off water to our part of the city, likely because of a shortage during the hot season. We don’t live in the popular or up-and-coming part of town if you will, so we aren’t first on the priority list.
On Friday night, as I was doing our dinner dishes, we ran out of water in our reserve tank. The unfinished dishes were piled into the sink and we showered with our bucket reserve in the bathroom. For now, this tub of water was the last of our good city water.
We went to sleep with high hopes of the water being turned back on overnight and catching up in the morning.
High hopes indeed.
We waited to shower as long as we could on Saturday, since we had just a small amount in our reserve tub and needed that for flushing the toilet. During this very hot hot hot season, we are regularly showering three times a day, so not showering is actually a significant challenge.
By Saturday evening, we weren’t really sure what to do. We decided to hook up our well to the reserve tank and see what we had.
Well, we had brown water.
Still hopeful, we thought we could load some into the tank and let it sit for an hour while the dirt settled to the bottom. We could throw some bleach in for the bacteria, and then have “clean” water to at least shower that night.
One hour later, the dirt did not settle. It was just brown water, presumably from the minerals.
But what we were to do?
So we showered in it.
And I did the dishes in it, just setting them aside so I could re-wash them all later.
If that doesn’t feel like wasted time, I don’t know what does, but I had to keep the ants from invading…
Again Saturday night, we were hopeful water would come over night.
Hopes were dashed, yet again. We woke up Sunday, went through the same routine of putting well water & bleach in, and then showering while we pretend it’s clean water. And keeping our mouths closed.
A few days into this water shortage, having just returning from one trip and needing to prepare for the next, I really needed to do laundry. This time of year, with the whole hot hot hot weather and showering three times a day because you are sweating through your clothes…you just don’t want to wait too long with clothes in a basket. I try to do at least a load every day or other day to keep from smelling and to keep the drying rack cycling through.
Sometimes I think living here is an art.
I decided to try a load of laundry in the bleach water. The question was, darks or lights? For darks, the water wouldn’t stain it. But the bleach might. And for lights, just the opposite.
I went for darks, but threw in a white tea towel as a test for the next load. The darks seemed to come out okay and smelled decent since I threw in some extra scent, and the towel did okay.
I went for a light load. This was a bad idea.
Every single one of Stephen’s white shirts came out brown.
And then I showered in dirty water, again.
By Sunday night, we were kind of tired of these shenanigans. Every night we were letting all the extra well water out and cleaning out the tank in hopes of city water coming (we couldn’t give up hope!). And every morning, we put more well water back in. And every day we showered pretending the water was crystal clear.
Thankfully, we did still have drinking water all this time, and Stephen flipped a new bottle onto the water cooler on Sunday night.
We woke up Monday morning, kind of ready to get out of town. We planned to leave about 10am, but still hoped for clean city water to shower.
As I walked into the kitchen at 6am, I nearly slipped to my face. The entire kitchen—it’s lowered into our house—was flooded with water.
There had been a tiny, unseen crack in the clean water bottle. So once flipped, it didn’t seal and keep the water in the cooler, but slowly dripped and leaked all through the night. All over our kitchen floor.
There was so much water—clean, drinkable water!—all over our floor.
But in the water tank? Still none. Absolutely none.
So we swept clean water out the door while we let dirty brown water fill our tank yet again.
It was almost heartbreaking.
Just as icing on the cake, as we went to go later that morning, we learned that our radiator was leaking. When we took our car to the shop to get the alternator fixed last week, well…they didn’t fix the alternator, but they re-wired it, which they think will solve the problem? But then broke the radiator in the process. This isn’t uncommon—fix one thing but break another, or don’t fix the thing you were fixing…
We had water, just in all the wrong places.
Thankful for the simplicity of living in a village for a few days, where they have water!