Thursday, April 12, 2012
So yesterday Mike arrived home from work, and on his way down the driveway stopped at our meter to check if the water lines had thawed, just like he has every day since it began to warm up. Yesterday was different than all of the other days. Yesterday when he turned to knob water came trickling out. WATER! I have always wanted to be more conscious of my water usage, and more careful. Little things like not washing what didn't need washing, not leaving the water on when I brush my teeth, and (you might think this icky) not always flushing the toilet when there was just a little pee in it. You know the saying, "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down"? Nevertheless, I wasn't very good at conserving water once I committed to it. But then this thing happened. We lost all our water. Our system froze up. After weeks of leaving water trickling, we froze up! So my smart, smart husband came up with a solution, and plumbed a 100 gallon water tank with a small electrical pump up to our house. All we had to do to have running water to bathe, wash dishes, and do laundry was keep that tank full of water. A cabin down the road still had water, and most of the cabins have a spigot outside, so we filled smaller jugs at this cabin, and hauled them to our house using the ATV (when I say we I actually mean Joel, Mike, and my mom, because Hazel and I didn't help once). But between four adults and one baby, 100 gallons of water really isn't a whole lot, so we did a lot to keep our water usage down. We all took very short showers, that were few and far between. We kept our wash cycles to the bare minimum, which meant we've used disposable diapers for the last few months, instead of cloth. We only washed what we needed for the week, and we washed on "speed wash" which only takes 20-30 minutes, and uses a lot less water. We used a lot of paper cups, plates, and utensils all the while the guilt and images of the amount of trash we were contributing to landfills flashing through my head. We flushed the toilet quite a bit less than usual, and in order not to clog up the toilet, deposited a lot of the waste-paper into a trash bin next to the toilet. I found myself being very cautious of how I washed my hands, did dishes, and brushed my teeth. I would say on average, between the five of us, we filled the tank every other day. That's ten gallons of water per-person per-day. This doesn't count drinking water, but does count water for tea, coffee, and cooking since it was boiled. Now that we have our water back I could go back to my old habits. I will definitely be less cautious, but many of these habits have become second-nature, and I hope they stay that way. If anything this was a great lesson into how much we depend on running water, and how difficult life would be without it. It has also made me think a bit more about what we would really need to be prepared for an emergency, the amount of water we should have on hand, and how we would limit our usage even more. And you know, as crazy as it sounds to live in the mountains, where we can't drive to our home in the wintertime, and snowmobile or hike instead, and to manage half a winter without water, I still really really enjoy living up here. All of that stuff has proven to be easier than I thought it would be, and contributed to me living a more peaceful, conscious lifestyle. That said, boy am I glad to have water back. It is so nice to turn on a faucet and not have this constant worry hanging over you about running out of water. And the celebratory bath I took tonight? The best part.