A Liquid Mystery

When I woke this morning in the wee hours (as I am prone to do here, since it gets dark so early), I sat peacefully up in bed, thinking this day would be as normal as the last.

The first thing I did was write down what I could remember of the dream I’d just woken from (a normal activity for me) – and here it is, preserved in all it’s integrity: “A world with no sentimental value – only practical.  Teachers asked not to be personal.  All wear blue.”  My 5 a.m. brain must have reasoned that those few phrases would be enough to recall the dream in its entirety.  I am sad (though perhaps I should be happy) to say they did not.

Eventually I mustered the strength to actually get out of bed and take a shower – and that’s where the real trouble began.  Showers here are tricky business sometimes.  Since our hot water tanks are heated by the sun (our roofs are home to several solar panels), a lukewarm – often cold – shower always follows an overcast day.  Quite prepared for that, I stood back from the faucet and turned the hot water on full.

Not a drop.

A bit puzzled, I tried the cold water nozzle.  Nor any drop to drink.

After which, a man in a towel (that was me) paced around the house turning on the hot and cold faucet of every shower and sink in sight.

“And why, pray tell,” I said to myself in a Cornish accent (as if I knew what that even was), “would water come out of all the sinks, but none of the showers?”

It was strange indeed.  Cold water was abundant, and even a bit of hot water came out of the sinks at the combined rate of about a gallon every ten minutes (though I will have you know that I didn’t actually stand there with a milk jug, measuring).

So I took the question to my 9th graders, who I’m sorry to say were of no help at all.

They: “Maybe you should switch to Tank water.”
Me: “It’s already on Tank water.”
They: “Huh.  Maybe the tank is empty.”
Me: “It rained like mad yesters.”
They: “O yeah, that’s right.  Maybe you’re out of hot water.”
Me: “But the cold didn’t work in the shower either.”
They: “Huh.”
Me: “If I were back home, I’d say the water froze in the pipes, but it’s not that cold here.”
They: “It might be underground.”
Me: “But the water worked in the sinks.”
They: “Oh, right. Just go to your neighbor’s house and take a shower there.”
Me: “For the next two years?”
They: “Well… Just use a bucket.”

When I got home from school, the water was working just fine.

Why? I haven’t the slightest.

9 thoughts on “A Liquid Mystery

  1. i think i would be on the lookout for a metal washtub. heat your abundance of cold water and take a lukewarm bath. not the same as a shower, i know. but, hey, if it’s good enough for the cowboys, then butter my biscuit and give me an old-fashioned texas roadhouse yee-haw!! YEE-HAW!

  2. Why? . . . so you would write this post and bring a bit of Papua New Guinee (is that how you spell it?) to us back in America :)

  3. Sounds like some sort of organic obstruction is in your plumbing system. Algae?Leaves? Flatworms? PNG Plankton? Frog eggs? We have the same problem with the fountain in our garden. The filter collects leaves and other debris, which slows the water flow down to a trickle until decay and rot sets in, or we clean it out…either that or Mowgli and Higgins are drinking all of the water out of our fountain again.
    Solution – check for a filter in the line and clean it out once a week.

  4. I agree with Dad. The cause is most likely a clogged line. The reason you had some water come out of the tap and none come out of the shower has to do with your gravity driven water system – the distance from the water source to the tap is greater than the distance from the water source to the shower head. This means that the pressure is greater at the tap than it is at the shower head. There was enough pressure at the tap to push out some water, but not enough pressure at the shower head to push out any water.

  5. Were you, perchance, wearing blue that day? Coulda been the problem. No sentimental value, you know…

  6. I love reading Alan’s story, which is delightful. However it is even better when reading sll the comments from his lovely helpful family!!! I cannot imagine what dinner around the table would be like with all of you in one room…not just stretched acrossed the world! :)


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