Yesterday, around noon, I took the first real shower I’d had in nine days.
We worked hard all day Friday on rebuilding the water system. We brought the new/used water heater over from the boat house, sledding it through the snow with our pulk (see The Pulk: Our Homestead’s Winter “Truck”). We connected pex pipe and other fittings into the evening, unitil our muscles were sore and our heads spinning. Saturday, we opened the water tank spigot fully, examined every join for leaks, and judged it sound. We had a pair of slight, slow leaks, but none in the pex pipe joins. We’ll keep an eye on them, and if they don’t seal up, we’ll take steps to seal them.
I’d always assumed that rebuilding the system would allow us to simplify the clutter of pipes and connections, but no so. The agua heaters we use are built in Mexico, and they all seem to have the cold and hot outlets arranged opposite the U.S. convention, requiring crossed pipes. Also, we added a hot water tempering valve, which makes the arrangement look like Rube Goldberg creation. However, it’ll keep us from getting scalded by the uncontrolled hot water.
We built a fire in the water heater, and enjoyed long, comfortable showers before washing the dishes. It felt great! Michelle had gotten a few showers in town last week, but none matched the comfort of bathing in her own home.
The shower proved to be a very symbolic final step in the process. We washed away more than dirt and sweat. We washed away our fear, doubt, frustration, and uncertainty. When we came out, we found ourselves completely relaxed for the first time since returning home.
That afternoon, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated it.
We realized just how out of joint our life had been. We came back from two weeks of Thanksgiving travel to frozen pipes and destroyed water heater (see Danger and Opportunity), which took all our attention and energy, disrupted our long anticipated return to normal, and kept us from starting our Christmas season as we would have liked. With the completion of the water system and the return of running water, and by sharing our holiday preparations, we achieved both comfort and joy.
Adding considerably to this feeling, we experienced a bolt from the blue that same day. An angel used our Website’s donation button to gift us $250 toward the unexpected expense of rebuilding the water system!