Camping out … on the grid
Our water went out a couple days ago. Everything was running just fine. Turn the handle on the kitchen sink and wham-o! Water. Cool, clear water.But we got home from dinner the other night, and I went to turn the old spigot, and nada came out. Nuthin’. Zippo. Suddenly, I was ravenously thirsty, I wanted to take a shower immediately, and, you know, nature started calling. But no can do. There was no water available with which to do any of those things. We refrained, as Bob Dylan would say, from water works activities – though we did brush our teeth, camping-out style.In the morning, first thing, we rang up our plumber. He came out to our place, and did a bit of this and a bit of that – none of which I pretend to understand. Water started gurgling through the pipes. The filter was clogged, the pump was messed up, I don’t know. But after spending much of the day at our place, we got a thumbs up. We were back in business, so to speak. That’s until I turned on our mud-room sink water after I got home from work. Like something out of “Alien,” brown, rusty water spat out of the faucet. We weren’t done with this yet. So I did what a lot of us would do. I got in my car and headed to the wine shop for a bottle of vino. But just when I placed the bottle on the counter, POW! The lights went out. There we were, standing in darkness, in the liquor store.”I’m sorry. We can’t ring up any purchases right now,” the lady behind the counter said. “We have no way to ring up sales, open the cash register, figure out the tax …””Well, we have to have our booze!” called out the woman behind me standing in the dark, laughing.Luckily, I knew how much my bottle was, and the man waiting on me rounded off the tax. I wrote a check and was out of there as customers groped for correct change, and the clerks reached for battery-operated calculators.The blackout lasted about an hour. During that time, nobody in town could use their computers (at least not the ones you plug in), stereos, TVs, kitchen appliances (except natural gas), lights, and a bunch of other gadgets we depend on.It’s amazing when our little grid goes wacko. We are so spoiled. No lights? Maybe I’ll have to light a candle. No heat? Maybe I’ll have to start a fire in the fireplace. No stereo or TV? Now what are we going to do? I wonder how many romantic interludes came out of our little blackout. I hope quite a few. Back home, I asked my husband Erik what he would prefer: No water or no electricity? Without flinching, he said, “No electricity.” He could deal without lights and power. But no water? Nuh-uh. We automatically expect running water, no exceptions. We want to bathe, launder, wash up and wipe down whenever we want. When we want to use the, ahem, kitty litter, we want to use it right then. Having the water go out and the power go down in the span of a couple days reminded me not to take these things for granted. It also reminded me how much I’m looking forward to the next time we can get out of the grid – and go camping. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. And yes, her water’s back on, better than ever, and she’s freshly showered. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, email@example.com.
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