Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Replacing the Water Heater Becomes an Exercise in Earthquake Preparedness
Here's our new plumbing, with shut-off valves in sensible places. I learned how to sweat copper pipe. It's fun and easy and I was much better at it at first than I was later. But the nice folks at Ace sold me some moldable epoxy resin for stopping the last leak. If I'd bothered to ask them about this stuff in the first place, I wouldn't have learned how to sweat copper.
Being without water was more of a hardship for me than for anyone else here. The time became an exercise in living without easy access to water, such as could happen after a natural catastrophe. We dipped into our earthquake supplies for drinking water, and even made coffee each morning. Nini told me, "My daughter and I each took a bath with about a cup and a half of water. We got a hand towel wet, rubbed our faces clean, and then all the rest of our bodies. I feel quite refreshed."
Understand that Nini is a Burner, so she's probably more comfortable than most suburban dwellers with a certain level of crustiness.
We had it sort of soft, too. We used the facilities at the common house for or bowel movements, so our toilets were filled with merely urine. As I relieved myself on evening, I thought, "This system doesn't even have to be based around water consumption. That's perhaps a hidden benefit of a composting toilet."
After the water was back on, I saw Nini. "Thanks for your postive attitude through all this," I said.
"Oh, not a problem at all."
Crafty Girl said, "Hey Bob, guess what? The water is back on!"
"Yep, isn't it great? But you know what? As I went through the last couple of days, I thougth about what it might be like to pretend that all the services were cut off, and see how we do, sort of like practicing for a really big earthquake."
Nini paused. "Yeah, that could be fun."
"Not even electricity," I said.
"What would we do for lights?" asked Crafty Girl.
"Whatever you've got packed in your earthquake survival kit," I said.
"Oo, I think all we have are candles," said Nini.
I think I'll mention this idea at our next house meeting. Being prepared for things we can somewhat expect is pretty important.