May 14, 2012

Don't Complain, It's a First World Problem

"It's no big deal.  First world problem, that's all it is."  Yeah, that's what I told myself on Monday, the first day the water was turned off in our house.  My attitude was not so positive during the next six days... when we still didn't have water!

It started like this.  On Sunday, Katherine kept making comments about how she could hear water running.  We checked to make sure all the faucets were off, that nothing was dripping, that the sprinklers weren't on, and that there wasn't something wrong with the toilets.  We found nothing, but still there was the steady sound of flowing water.  That was our first indication that there was a leak somewhere, and it was not a happy thought.

I awoke on Monday morning, and my dad told me that he had shut off the water.  "That's all right," I thought, "it'll probably only be off for a day or so before everything is fixed.  I can work with this." 

It was then that I realized I still hadn't brushed my teeth.  Nor had I showered.  Not only that, I kind of needed to go to the bathroom.  And you know what?  I was feeling thirsty.  A glass of water sounded heavenly.  A very unfortunate situation.

When my dad came home later, he informed me that we may not have water for about 10 days.  10 DAYS??  I wasn't so sure I could handle that...  Don't worry though, I come from a long line of geniuses, and it was not long before we had plenty of innovations that would get us through the days we would endure with no running water.

1.  We filled a number of large tubs in the backyard with the hose before the water was completely turned off.  We had to fill small pitchers up from these tubs, carry it upstairs and dump it in the toilet, so that the toilet would flush.  Yes, we are that cool.  We also boiled this water and used it for washing dishes, wiping off counters, and the like.

A few of our toilet buckets!

2.  Realizing that we couldn't (or rather, shouldn't) drink from our tubs of toilet water, we went to the store and purchased quite a few gallons of drinking water.  We were in no danger of shriveling up from dehydration.

The remainder of our water supply

3.  My mother has the most awesome visiting teacher ever, and she let us do our  laundry at her house, so we didn't have to go old school and scrub our clothes in a bucket, and then hang them up to dry.  I mean, that would have been awful... Okay, no, it wouldn't have.  But it was still great of her to let us use her washer and dryer!  (Oh and I also must thank the Pack family for letting me shower at their place before I got too rank.  Wouldn't want to go to work smelling like a cavewoman!)

4.  My dad was actually able to figure out a way to connect our water system to that of the neighbors with a hose, so though we thought we would be without running water for about a week and a half, it turned out to be only half that amount of time.  Granted, we turned off our connection with the neighbors water at night, so it was back to our pitcher carrying, nighttime toilet flushing trips, but on the whole it wasn't so bad.  And, we were able to shower, rather than just scrubbing down with a couple of baby wipes, and hoping people wouldn't notice the smell!

Because my dad is so cool and knows people in town, the leak in the pipe was fixed within a week, and we are now once again blessed with our own running water.  Never again will I take for granted the incredible implementation of INDOOR PLUMBING!

The hole we had to dig to fix the pipe
This experience, though not life-threatening, taught me two things.  First, it helped me to realize the necessity of preparedness.  You never know when a situation might arise that would find prior planning essential.  It wasn't a serious incident, but if something else had happened that had inhibited us from getting to the grocery store for drinking water, or had stopped us from calling on the aide of our friends, the outcome may have been much different.  My family is currently working on making sure our 72 hour kit is up-to-date, in case anything unexpected comes our way.

And second, it encouraged me to remember how blessed I am.  I'm so used to being able to access clean water by simply turning a knob, that I was humbled when I was no longer able to do that.  There are those in the world who aren't blessed with the same luxuries that I take for granted every day.  From this experience, I hope to continue to be aware of those blessings, and to thank the Lord everyday for bestowing those blessings upon me and my family.


  1. That is awesome that you could learn some good lessons from your problem, way to be!! :). "Just a first world problem" it! You are awesome :)

  2. Haha. I'm sorry Bri! It may be a first world problem, but it's an important one! You have an amazing attitude, as always. :)