Monday, January 23, 2012
Well Water Woes
Hey y’all! Welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country! I feel sort of like the Johnny Cash song right now – “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere…”. ‘Cause in the last months, since November, I’ve been – well, everywhere. Without leaving my computer. I’ve collected some flash fiction from Malta. I’ve seen New Zealand with Sue Perkins. I've met Meghan Shelby courtesy of Roseanne Dowell and Jennifer Taylor courtesy of BarbaraE. I’ve been on the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland courtesy of Pat McDermott. I’ve been in Shadow Land, courtesy of Graeme Smith and Jack Shadow. I’ve been in a cartoon, courtesy of I. B. Nosey. J. Q. Rose put us on chorus line. Ginger Simpson gave us a tour of commercials, warning us the cure might be worse than the illness. So today, I’d thought we’d stay right here. Right here in Flowers on the Fence Country. And maybe I’d tell y’all another of my adventures of living in the country. So, y’all game? You ready? Alrigghhtttyyyyyy, then! Here we go! The Misadventures of Gail Branan…
You can’t claim you live in the country if you don’t have a well. If you have a well, you’re not normal unless you’ve turned on a facet at least one time during the year and nothing’s come out of it. It means that somebody, somewhere, has left the water running past the point where the pump can keep up with the flow.
The culprit is almost always a toilet that's kept running and nobody's noticed. One memorable afternoon, I arrived home to find my husband Randy sitting by the pump house listening to the sound of the pump. He approached me with his usual demeanor when life’s thrown an inconvenient curve, which is to say he looked like the herald of impending and insurmountable disaster.
“We got no water,” he announced, as though I couldn’t have figured that out by his vigil outside the pump house. “Go cut the circuit for the well, we’ll see if it catches up by itself.”
He started cutting grass and I complied with instructions. I waited an appropriate length of time and flipped the circuit breaker for the pump back to “on”. Nothing. I flipped the circuit back off so as not to burn up the pump motor and hollered him and the lawn mower down.
“No go!” I yelled over the noise of the lawnmower. “It needs priming! Go do it!”
“Don’t know how! Just go shut it back off!”
“You don’t know how?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t know how either, but I’m a girl. I’d been married to the man at the time for 34 years or so, and it had never occurred to me that all Southern country men didn’t know how to prime a pump.
“No! Shut off the power!”
“I already DID!” I shouted back. “It needs priming and Jason probably knows HOW if you don’t!" Our son-in-law had worked for Greene’s Well Drilling Service one summer as a teenager.
"JUST SHUT IT OFF!!"
Needless to say, this left me in a high state of piss-off. So five minutes later he's back at the front door shouting over the lawnmower, "Did you call Jason?"
Can you see the finger? Can you see it?
"No, you told me not to!!"
"Well, go call him!!"
My son-in-law’s a Deputy Sheriff, with fairly irregular hours. He is further a K-9 officer and somebody’s always calling him to bring his dog out, even on his days off. That particular day, by some miracle, he’d had a whole day off and had imbibed a few beers. So he wasn’t driving. I explained the situation and he allowed as how he wasn’t sure he remembered how to prime a pump as that was not part of his job duties that summer, but could probably figure it out if I’d come collect him. Which I proceeded to do. We filled an ice chest with water, and Jason and I and my young grandson came back home to attend the pump.
Jason fiddled a bit, tried one method that didn’t work, and then tried another that did. WHALA! Water.
I believe it was then that Randy volunteered the information that the flush handle on our bathroom toilet was loose and he had tightened it up.
"Yeah." Guess what I figured out the last time this happened and Green's came to prime it and make $85.00? If you tighten the flush handle all the way on the toilet in our bathroom, it's too freakin' tight, the rubber thing doesn't close all the way, and the toilet runs! I attempted to explain this to no avail. So I went behind him and loosened it. He came to check on things and tightened it back up. I waited till he wasn't looking and loosened it again. And took a hot shower, thinking the episode was at an end. Not.
The next morning just when I was walking out the front door, Greene’s Well Service pulled up. I thanked heaven all the dogs were in and not running around the yard barking their heads off and playing dodge ball with the tires, my first thought being that Randy called them before I’d gotten home yesterday and didn't call them back.
I told them I appreciated their visit but didn’t need them, the issue had been resolved.
“Well, he called this morning but doesn’t answer his phone. Boss man said we’d better come on out.”
Well, if he’d called this morning, maybe something was going on with the pump he'd just noticed and didn’t tell me about. I told them they were welcome to look, my husband was two miles away and I’d go get him. We own the local Laundromat so I ran up there to advise of our visitors. Randy was busily engaged helping one of his favorite ladies, Miss Corrine, do her laundry.
“I didn’t call ‘em this morning! Go back and tell ‘em it’s fixed, don’t need ‘em!”
I love my job assignments. I departed and headed back down our three-quarter mile long, rutted, curving, gravel, country driveway and met their truck half-way up. I proceeded to back up this rutted, curving, in-need-of-scraping country driveway till I got to a spot where I could pull over and relayed the message.
In my absence, they had figured out that Randy’s call had come in after hours last night and I was graciously advised not to worry about it. I thanked them sweetly and opted to go back down the driveway when they passed rather than finish backing up. I then called Randy and got no answer, this being different than almost every time I called him how? Not. He called back and advised that he thought he might have called last night and left a voice mail, forgot about it and didn't call back. You think? They have telepathy or something and just appear when wells run dry?
Ah! Life in the Southern country side! Y'all come back now, hear?