I Would Have Gone to the Well for Water, If We Actually HAD a Well

The days of summer are all running together like a 3rd grader’s watercolor project, which got soaked in the rain as he plunged through the school’s door to catch his bus.

I would know this, because the boy has brought home some watercolor projects from his own art class, and, although his mama is paranoid and won’t let him ride a bus the four blocks home, the painting did indeed become rather rain-saturated on his way to the Suburban.

And the colors? Well, they bled together and made a kaleidoscope of swirled pigmentation that is rarely seen outside of a cough syrup overdose.

And that, my friends, is how our summer is treating us. One day just bleeds into the other, until, suddenly, it’s Wednesday, and I have no idea what we actually did during the week, but I’m convinced that we enjoyed it.

Except for yesterday morning. I’m not sure that we really enjoyed yesterday morning.

Hubs got up at the crack of horrendous yesterday so that he could accomplish a shower before he headed to work. Basically this means that Hubs was up shortly after 7:00 in the morning, but we’d been up late the night before, wasting two hours of our lives on a DVD that we’ll never get back, so 7:00 felt like the middle of the night.

(The hours. That’s what we’ll never get back. I don’t care if we ever get the DVD back again; the movie Leap Year is completely dead to me. The previews sucked me in and made me gasp with delight, as I shouted out, “Sweet mercy, but I want to see that movie!” And then the DVD took me to the edge of Cliff Excitement and shoved me over with evil in its eye. I won’t even waste the Internet space necessary to review this worthless bit of cinematic disappointment. My friend, Jenna, texted me this afternoon and said that she’d actually enjoyed the movie when she saw it, and I hung my head and wanted to tell her, “Jenna, our friendship is forever ruined. If we can’t agree to hate the same shows, then you cannot be the wind beneath my wings.” I’m happy to report, though, that I used my best manners and refrained from telling Jenna this, and I am letting her continue on, disillusioned by the thought that Leap Year was a fine film.)

Where was I?

Hubs and I had, indeed, stayed up late on Monday night. Actually, that’s probably only partially true, because at some point in the movie, I looked over at Hubs, and he had thrown a blanket over his head and gone to sleep, leaving me on my own with the DVD, and I was too entrenched in it to give up. I kept looking for a redeeming quality, right up to the bitter end.

So Hubs? He may have been a bit more well-rested than I was yesterday morning.

He was up, and he was in the bathroom, and then he was hollering out, “There’s no water!!”

No water? Don’t give me such statements of enormous proportions while I’m still trying to sleep and recover from disillusionment and disappointment with Leap Year. Oh, people. I’d had such high hopes for that show!

I mumbled something along the lines of this: “Mmm. Nice.” And I tried to roll over and go back to sleep. Only Hubs was having none of that, and he hollered out again, “Did you hear me? There’s no water!”

Yes. Yes, I heard you. People on the far side of the cul de sac heard you, Hubs.

I mumbled, “Why? What is wrong?” My concern level was at a zero, people. Water. No water. I didn’t much care. I figured there was a logical explanation for it, and I wasn’t interested in hearing the scientific reasoning behind why water was not spouting out of our shower head.

Hubs stomped into the bedroom, wrapped in a towel, and said, “Did you pay the water bill this month?”

I am the Chief Bill Payer at our house. It’s by default, really, because when I met Hubs (which was in the dark ages of the 1990s), he had no idea how to balance a checkbook. In fact, his idea of balancing a checkbook was to dial his bank’s phone number, ask to speak to someone named Rhonda, and then he’d ask, “Rhonda, how much money do I have?” And Rhonda could throw out any number, from one to one million, and Hubs would believe her. He’d hang up and smile and say, “I’m sort of broke this month.”

My idea of balancing the checkbook involved hours and a calculator and the entire bank reconciliation spreadsheet. I have always balanced my checkbook, to the penny, every single month, since the day I opened one.

Which was a rather lengthy stretch of time ago.

Because Hubs’ characteristics haven’t changed much, and because his idea of balancing a checkbook in the modern world is to go online (because Rhonda’s job was eliminated by technology long ago) and simply SEE the total in his accounts, I am in charge of our checkbook.

Period.

It also means that I am in charge of our bills.

Period.

I balance the checkbook every month, while Hubs pretends to help me by sitting at the kitchen table with me and drinking a Coke. I pay the bills every month, and Hubs helps out by slapping sticky, return address labels on the envelopes of all the bills. It’s his bill-paying contribution. Hubs has no idea how to pay bills. If anything happens to me, he’ll need a tutor for the checkbook and stack of bills.

As for our water bill…well…it has been due every other month since the dawn of time. And I pay that water bill during the first week of the odd months. Because it was never due in the even months.

But low. A couple of months ago, Hubs bombarded me with repetitive verbal fire, as he told me approximately sixteen times, “The city’s water bills are going to start coming out monthly now.” Yes, I heard this statement all sixteen times. No, it didn’t register.

You see, I never wrote it on my Grand Master Calendar, and if something doesn’t make it onto the GMC, it simply doesn’t happen at our house. The GMC rules our daily routines. The GMC did not tell me to pay the water bill in June.

And, naturally, it was due in June, which is an even month, for the first time ever.

So there Hubs and I were, in all manner of disarray yesterday morning, standing in our kitchen with bad morning breath and disheveled hair and strong opinions about the movie Leap Year, when I pulled out the water bill and read it out loud.

Your account was not paid in the month of June. We have gone to a monthly billing cycle now. Failure to pay your bill in full by July 7, 2010 will result in the termination of your water services. Consider this your only notice. Reactivation fees will need to be paid in order to have services turned back on which have been terminated.

Yep.

Hubs began saying some words which should have bought him a bar of Dial smack in the kisser! Hubs’ best circus mood was simply not happening. He was an angry little husband. He was an angry little husband who didn’t get a shower, and who had to brush his teeth with orange juice.

Hubs’ vocabulary got even more colorful, as he ripped a check out of our checkbook and announced with gusto, “I’ve never had any utility shut off before! This is so embarrassing!”

(Only I left all the adjectives out of that statement, which Hubs so elaborately colored it with.)

Naturally, I was bawling, because that’s what I do in any crisis.

I’m a bawler.

Hubs was out the door shortly after 7:30, with a ball cap slammed onto his head of hair, which was sticking up in thirty different directions, and the black cloud of foul language was still lurking over his head as he drove off to pay our city bill.

It was at this point that I really noticed the bill. It said, “Failure to pay your bill in full by July 7, 2010…” People, yesterday was JULY-STINKING-6th! I called Hubs’ cell phone and told him this. Through my tears, I managed to blubber out to him and say, “Tomorrow! The bill says we have until tomorrow to pay!” And Hubs barked out, “Well, apparently they shut it all off a day early.”

Two minutes later, my phone rang and Hubs said in a quiet, calm voice, “I’m not blaming you. It’s just that I told you at least a hundred times (or just sixteen) that the water bill was going to be billed monthly now, instead of bi-monthly. You’re so diligent with the bills, I just assumed you’d pay it. This is totally unlike you to miss a bill.”

Yes, totally unlike me. Hubs and I have pristine credit. Shiny, gold credit. Credit that rocks the credit reports. We pay our bills. Or rather, I pay our bills. Hubs just rides the good credit roller coaster on my diligence and faithfulness.

A few seconds later, I happened to glance out our windows, where I saw six heavy trucks in our cul de sac. Big trucks, with big trailers, that were bringing in big backhoes. And big bobcats. And big jackhammers.

And one of them had started to dig.

I fired off another text to Hubs, which said, “There are all kinds of trucks and heavy machinery in our cul de sac. Could there be a problem with the water somewhere, since the dang bill had tomorrow’s date on it?”

A text was immediately sent back to me which said, “No. Face it. They shut our water off. Those trucks are digging in someone’s yard.”

Truthfully, in Hubs’ mood yesterday morning, I’m not sure that the heavy equipment in our cul de sac even registered with him. And so I paced the house. I couldn’t shower. I had to brush my teeth with a bit of water that was left in one of the boy’s squirt guns. I started to get ready for my Bible study, minus the water. Getting ready for Bible study when you don’t have any water is very easy to do. You pull a hat onto your head. You smear on some fresh mascara. You’re done.

And then I stood in my kitchen, still crying somewhat, and said to Jesus, “I’m sorry I didn’t pay the water bill, and please don’t let this ruin my credit.”

Five minutes later, Hubs called me. This is what he said: “Um, the city has no record of our water being shut off. Apparently the bill is due tomorrow. There’s a broken water line in our cul de sac, which the city is working on right now.”

Um, didn’t I tell him all of that previously? Because I thought I did.

But instead, I just asked, “So our credit didn’t go down the toilet? The toilet that doesn’t flush without any water?”

Hubs said, “No. Our credit is still good.”

And that was that. The magic words. Our water had NOT been shut off. Our credit was STILL GOOD. The problem with us having no water was due to a broken pipe, and none of our neighbors had water either, which I discovered after making a couple of phone calls.

Hubs did not bring me a bouquet of flowers for verbally announcing his disappointment in me for not paying the water bill in June.

We still had no water when it was time for me to head to Bible study, so off I went, looking a bit rough, with a pink ball cap on my head and fresh mascara on top of yesterday’s mascara. When I plopped down in a chair next to Missi and Regs, I told them my tale, and then the three of us busted out laughing. And honestly? Laughing about the whole situation with Regs and Missi felt deliciously wonderful, because I’d spent the majority of the morning pacing my house with stress and worrying that my credit was so shot I’d never be able to get a loan to buy a BMW with.

And true to form, Regs began making jokes about having no water, and how most cities have the good manners to paste a giant sticker on your front door which says, “Listen. Tomorrow is the day. If you don’t pay your water bill by tomorrow, you will have no water at your house, and you will have to use water out of your son’s squirt gun to brush your teeth with.”

So that was our yesterday.

And do you know what it compelled me to do?

Well, I sat down yesterday after Bible study and paid every single bill that Hubs and I have. Early. Way early. The only one which was due was the water bill, which Hubs paid in person at 7:45 AM. But now, my bills are done for the month, at least ten days early.

And what relief I feel!

When I dropped lunch off at Hubs’ office late yesterday afternoon, he looked at me and said, “Wow. Didn’t you even take a shower today?”

Hubs thinks he’s so stinking funny.

Eventually, late in the day, the city’s crew of hard-working men managed to fix the broken water pipe, which had eliminated water for about ten houses in our neighborhood, and our faucets poured forth with liquid goodness.

I brushed my teeth again, just because I could, even though Missi had given me gum at our Bible study. Plus having cleaner teeth offset the fact that I hadn’t taken a shower.

So even though the dog days of summer have started to blend together, yesterday sort of stood out.

It was the day we couldn’t flush our toilets.

It was also the day that I realized how much we take running water for granted. I especially realized this when I looked at Cat 1 and Cat 2 and said, “Oh. You girls need fresh water!” And then I proceeded to pitch the dregs of their water dish down the sink without thinking, and I flipped the faucet up to refill it, and I was met with a sweet bit of nothingness. So the girls? Well, I filled their water dish up with a bit out of one of our clean toilets, and they were none the wiser.

And also? As a side note? Well, the city water bill is due every! single! month! now.

And I’m thinking that I probably won’t forget that ever again.

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