Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot Water Vs. Lake Water

I've mentioned the family cabin before, and let me reiterate, it is not by any means a "lake home." It was built by my grandpa over fifty years go. He was not a carpenter, and most of the windows and doors used in the structure were acquired from the county dump. The property doesn't have the luxury of running water or a well. While the setting is beautiful - a forest of birch trees, a lake which is home to loons, fish, eagles, and waterlilies, a quaint and winding gravel road - it has been referred to politely as "rustic."


This past Sunday, at precisely 2:45 p.m., Husby happened to notice our water heater leaking aggressively. He promptly turned off all incoming water to our house. Oh, we filled up a water jug and a few 5-gallon pails to fill the toilet tanks if needed. But for all intents and purposes, we were waterless.

I tried to pretend I was at the lake, and realized that without running water it's much easier to just use an outhouse than your standard modern-day bathroom facilities. It wouldn't have been so bad, but Sunday turned into Monday. A work day. A day which needed running water. A sponge bath would have worked, except what about the hair? I couldn't go into the office without washing my hair. For that I needed running water, or at least a lake and some biodegradable shampoo. I had neither.

I called my boss and explained the situation. She was more than happy to do without me under the circumstances.

We got a new water heater installed and I'm grateful for the return of a modern day convenience I take for granted on a day-to-day basis, and also for an unexpected day away from the office. Except the more I thought about it, an outhouse, a lake and biodegradable shampoo sounded much better than a shower and flushable toilet. For twenty-four hours I was wishing not for the convenience of modern plumbing, but for the convenience of a whole lake of water right outside my door and the rustic lifestyle that comes along with that.

My final analysis: lake water is necessary for restful summertime getaways, while indoor plumbing is necessary when co-mingling with the general public. And never the twain shall meet.

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