Monday, September 10, 2012

The Water of [My] Life

This past week has been a time that I have had water on my mind (not "water on my brain" fortunately). It started last week when my water bill arrived--the bill was 50% higher than it had ever been. After checking with my wife to make sure she hadn't been watering the garden or doing anything else that might have caused the increased consumption, I called the utility company. They suggested how I could determine if I had a leak between the water meter and the house, and they proved prophetic. We had a leak somewhere in the 90 feet from our water meter to our house's shut off valve.

Wednesday a plumber came by, assessed the situation, and gave me the price for putting in a new water line. I was tempted to let the leak go (80 months of the higher water bill was cheaper than installing a new water line--if the leak didn't get any worse). Being the good corporate citizen and conservationist that I am, however, I relented and approved the new water line. A couple of holes were dug in our yard Wednesday, anticipating the installation of the new line on Thursday.

I won't go into all of the details of Thursday's work. Let it be said that it took about 5 hours to dig a trench with equipment that should have done it in one hour. As darkness began to envelop us Thursday evening, I was about to give up hope that we would have water overnight. The plumber, however, was intent on "finishing up." He did--but he left behind a leak at the water meter, a trench that was shoddily refilled, a flowerbed that was devastated, and a corner of our downstairs bedroom in shambles (where he had ripped out the corner box that hid the water access and shutoff valve from view).

Friday morning, our utility company repaired the leak at the meter; and Friday afternoon and Saturday we were able to get the front yard and flower bed back in shape. I'm still contemplating how I'm going to repair the damage in the bedroom. I'm a pretty good handyman, but this project has some challenges (the box has to be attached to walls that have paneling over wallboard, furring strips, and a concrete block foundation; and the locations of the in-house water lines and shut-off valve interfere with a regular box structure). A project plan is stirring in my head, and my wife is hoping it won’t stir for too long.

To top it all off, this morning we discovered water leaking around the bottom of our refrigerator. When you interfere with your house's water system, it seems you invite other problems to visit you. No way was I going to call a plumber and take a chance on a wall in the kitchen being torn out. So “plumber Mike” attacked the problem. It turns out that a kink in the supply line had cause a crack in the line. The turning off and on of the water supply had resulted in a slow leak. A quick trip to the hardware store, and I was able to fix the leak for about a thousand times less than the cost of repairing the first leak and a hundred times less than a plumber surely would have charged to fix the refrigerator leak.

Now I have access again to safe water without much thought or concern. Of course, that is a privilege not available to millions of people in our world. I’m thinking maybe I should make a sizable donation to an organization that is addressing the issue of worldwide access to supplies of safe water—providing abundant cups of water in the name on the One who is the true Water of Life.

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