Thursday morning I woke up and Jeff was still sleeping next to me. He always gets up before Bracken and I do, but that night he had a hard time sleeping, got up, and then later tried to go back to bed, so he was really tired. I told him to try to get some more sleep, as much as he could, and Bracken and I came downstairs. We got on our boots and sweaters and let the chickens out of the coop, fed them, and gathered eggs. Then we came inside where I started washing dishes and making breakfast. I got a small amount of dishes done and then noticed our water slowed down. Soon it turned to a trickle. Then it turned off. ‘Oh no’, I thought. I continued making breakfast and then got some containers of water out of the pantry (we always have some there for power outages) and heated some water up on the stove to do dishes with. Not having running water was inconvenient, but most of all I just didn’t want to tell Jeff.
Jeff’s sciatic pain has been extremely challenging lately, to say the least. I realize I haven’t given an update about that in awhile. So I should back up a bit and do so. Since I last wrote about it (here and here), Jeff finished physical therapy. One day we went to make an appointment with his chiropractor (which we only did on a rare occasion when he really needed it, since it was hard for us to afford) and found out she switched the days she was available. We could no longer go on the day we went to town. Jeff had liked going to that chiropractor, but we sought out another chiropractor because we needed to be able to go on a particular day of the week. I said something to him along the lines of: “I know you liked your other chiropractor, but perhaps this happened for a reason and we’re meant to find another one who is a better fit for you.” He said he felt the same way. We did find another chiropractor. Not only did she have lots of experience treating sciatic pain (she did turn out to be a better fit and visits to her brought greater relief afterwards), but she asked if we would be interested in trading with her which made it possible for us to bring him more often. As you can imagine, it felt like a bit of a miracle for us. Jeff’s sciatic pain was improving so much we were able to space visits out and he was feeling incredibly hopeful. Recently while bending over to get firewood or some such thing, things just got twisted out of whack. Ever since he’s been in a lot of pain. So much so that when he is at home, walking around the house and yard, he uses a cane. He doesn’t like using a cane one bit, so it shows how much pain he is in that he actually uses one. Walking isn’t the only thing that’s painful. Sitting and driving, but especially sitting in the car, the combination of the two. We tried having him sit in the passenger seat and there was a time when I drove everywhere, but lately it’s actually more uncomfortable for him in the passenger seat than driving in the driver’s seat. We’ve spaced our visits to the chiropractor closer together for the time being and we’re hopeful things will improve again, but in the meantime his sciatic pain has made his daily life just downright hard.
On top of that, finances are even more stressful this time of year. We save as much money as we are able to from our Holiday Market to get us through the winter months without market, but some unexpected expenses came up to fix a tool essential for our work. And a festival we need to apply to right away requires the full payment up front. And on and on. So, with all of that in mind, I just didn’t want to tell Jeff that our water wasn’t working. He’s had enough stress and worry already. My mom called and I told her exactly that. Then I heard Jeff coming down the stairs and told her I’d call her right back. I broke the news to him. He immediately went outside to look everything over and try to pinpoint what the problem was. While he focused on the bigger picture and getting our water working again, I focused on our immediate needs. I washed up all the dishes and finished making breakfast. While talking to my mom when I called her back, I wondered aloud about wanting to flush our toilet (without using our drinking water stored in the pantry.) When we know a storm is coming, we fill up our bathtub with water so that we’ll have plenty of water to flush our toilet if the power goes out. My mom asked if we had any rainwater outside (what a great idea!) and we joked: “What would Laura Ingalls Wilder do?” We did have rainwater in a few containers in the yard and I hauled buckets into the house so we could flush the toilet. Never had doing the dishes or flushing the toilet felt so satisfying.
Jeff looked at the control box and thought that was the culprit. We sure hoped it was because it would be a lot more affordable to buy a new control box than to have to replace our water pump! After calling around, we found out we needed to take a drive down the coast to Coos Bay to get one, about an hour and twenty minute drive. Jeff had just said a few days prior how much he would enjoy a break from the car for awhile, but he was pretty eager to have running water. It was a sunny day and driving along the coast is a drive I always enjoy.
What did I do during the entire drive there and back? I had my handy dandy muffin tin in my lap and tied buttons on cards and got so many button cards ready to photograph. I’ve been deep in buttonland these days!
And how does the story end? Jeff installed the new control box when we got home. It worked! It goes without saying that we were incredibly happy to have running water again! And we were grateful it turned out to be as affordable as it was. Phew. Have you ever seen the movie Forrest Gump? I love the part where Bubba says all the kinds of ways to eat shrimp. Lemon shrimp. Coconut shrimp. Pepper shrimp. Shrimp soup. Shrimp stew. Shrimp salad. You know that part? I was imagining his same voice saying: Water for dishes. Water for laundry. Water for drinking. Water for flushing the toilet. Water for showers. I guess I have a weird sense of humor!