I Also Hate Camping

 Two days ago, Jake and I were driving home from the grocery store when it appeared that my street was underwater.  An enormous ark-like flood of muddy water filled my street, and my first thought was that it didn’t seem warm enough to melt that much snow, when I noticed that the water was bubbling up from a water main break.
One thing you may not know about me: I have a strange and irrational fear of the water being turned off.  In the nearly eleven years that I have lived in this house, there has been a water main issue that has led to the water being turned off twice, and by “turned off” I mean “turned off for a couple of hours” and so my reactions to this slight inconvenience are absurdly extreme, even for me.  I’m not sure why having the water shut off elicits such panic in me, but it does.  I seem to believe that if the water is off, it may NEVER be back on, and I will morph into an itinerant hobo, wandering the street filthy and dehydrated, with greasy hair and dragging a garbage bag of dirty clothes to the nearest Laundromat, only to find I don’t have any quarters. 
So as soon as I saw the water gushing in our street, I raced into the house, turned on the tap, and sure enough, a low pressure trickle came out for a moment before completely shutting off.  Dammit. 
I couldn’t take the uncertainty.  I eyed the work crew assembling around the spill.  They seemed busy, but my need for information overcame my aversion to interrupting people at their work and possibly raising the ire of the work crew.  I assembled my secret weapons: my favourite lipstick, my saucy new wedge-heeled boots, and Jake.  Hand in hand we stood at the outskirts of the massive water spill, with Jake chattering and me smiling vapidly, until the foreman noticed us.  I commented on the work crew and their busyness and the enormous job before them, then asked sweetly how long the water would be turned off.  The foreman answered, only a little gruffly, that it would be two to three days.
I almost fell off my wedgy heels.
I asked, trying to keep the panicky tones at a minimum, if they would be sending out a water truck or something, to which he responded, “We haven’t even turned the water off yet.  We can’t find the main valve in all this mess.”  I told him my water was off, and pointed to my house.  Evidently the valve to the water supply on my side of the street had been shut in error, and the foreman smiled at me as he said he would rectify the situation as soon as possible.  He spoke to Jake, “How you doing, buddy?  Quite a flood, huh?”  You see?  Secret weapon.
Although he said the water would be on as soon as possible, I still didn’t know what that meant.  Would it be today?  An hour?  Tomorrow morning?  I didn’t feel I could prod for any more information at that point, and also I was nearly dizzy with relief that I would not be water-less for two to three days, unlike the poor souls at the other end of the street.  In any case it was time to pick Mark up from school, where my friends at the playground listened to my tale of woe very patiently and sympathetically.  I even wrangled some invitations from friends, should the situation necessitate Further Steps, to a) shower, b) come over and fill up jugs of water, c) bring the kids over for baths.  I accepted the invitations with much gratitude, although they were thankfully unnecessary as an hour or so later I heard gurgling in the pipes as the water came back on.
The second the water came back on I leaped into action.  I started to fill every water bottle in the house in addition to the bathtub.  By the time I was considering filling the second bathtub, my husband came home and asked why, if the water was back on, was I filling everything in sight?  I responded that I was preparing in case the water went off again.  This seemed perfectly rational at the time, although now it feels like perhaps I was auditioning for a role on one of those reality shows about people who hoard things. 
I’m happy to report that the water is still on and I didn’t have to resort to melting snow, as someone very unhelpfully suggested.  What can I say?  I would have been a terrible pioneer.


  1. I didn’t know you when this happened, so I’m going to link you to an old blog post of mine: http://bit.ly/ij2sib

    Every winter, we lose water. We’re on a well, and in 08/09, we had a very nasty winter where I didn’t have water for days. The entire top shelf of my fridge was water pitchers, & I was filling buckets & buckets in case we had to flush the toilet with them.

    Nothing is sexier than saying “DON’T FLUSH THE TOILET UNLESS YOU’VE POOPED!”

    When the temp outside gets anywhere below 50 degrees I start FREAKING OUT about the well or the pipes freezing up again. I don’t think your fear is irrational at all.

    Now go take the bath you ran two days ago lol

  2. You won’t get any weird looks from me. I’m so with you. I once freaked out when the water was off AT THE COTTAGE. ON A BIG LAKE. Hysterial freaks unite.

    Also — you said rectify. Snicker.

  3. Bibliomama: I said rectify just for you, babe. I aim to please!

    Eryn: That is nasty. The thing that kept going through my mind is, what if Jake poops! He’s really stinky! I won’t be able to flush…eeeeee…..

  4. A few things…

    I also hate camping. I’m so glad I’m not alone, because for years I’ve felt like I’m the only one in the world who would rather not.

    This post gave me a few much needed giggles – thank you!

    I’ve never been without water, but now I’m concerned. LOL

  5. Our water pipe burst a couple of months ago, and let me tell you, a night with no water is a no good situation. I triple heart in home water.

    My in laws actually lived for many years in a house with no running water up in Price George. They didn’t have water in the house until my husband was 2 or 3 which seems hard core and a little insane.

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