Living in a 100 year old farmhouse has its challenges. Something is always breaking, or threatening to. This morning it’s a plumbing problem (again). We joke that our plumber Adam should really have the spare bedroom as his very own. Part of the problem stems from the way that over time plumbing solutions were oddly cobbled together, sometimes due to expediency and sometimes due to ignorance. Part of the problem stems from having a neutralizer to counteract the acidity of our well water, which occasionally goes berserk in its flushing cycle. Pinhole leaks in our copper pipes have become the bane of my existence. And then there is just the craziness of an old house deciding it needs attention, preferably around the holidays when I am least inclined to be patient with water shut offs, propane tank valve malfunctions or boiler breakdowns. At least, since we installed a backup generator in the summer of 2012, we haven’t had to do without electricity.
I know, first world problems. I’m not facing eviction or shivering in a cardboard box under a bridge. The minor inconvenience of using (compostable) paper products until I can run the dishwasher or properly wash up after meals pales in comparison to the inconvenience suffered by millions worldwide who have only sporadic access to potable water. A trip to the Safeway for bottled H2O and more hand sanitizer until Adam rescues me is a small price to pay for the surety that within hours I will be able to resume my daily routine. A hot shower at the gym yesterday after a ten-minute drive pales in comparison to walking miles with jerry jugs of river water on my head.
Instead of whining, I think I will make a donation to one of the seven water organizations listed here that help ordinary people deal with real water emergencies. In this holiday season, I encourage all of you to do the same!