Thursday, February 4, 2010

on plumbing

I've quite looked forward to writing this entry. It was between this and old man "senior" hockey league but I will save that for another day because in all honesty, that's more of a rant than anything else. Tonight, I dedicate my blog to plumbing and the mishaps I've had with it since my big move across the border. This might be a little ranty as well, but bear with me.

I wonder what it means that I have such issues with plumbing. Freud--the sexist bastard--would probably say I'm stuck in my anal phase of psychosexual development or something nutso like that. I'm not really sure what it is, but since I've been up here, I've had some major issues. I'm going to break it into three parts: the farm, the job and current home.

The Farm

When Kurtis and I moved up here, his parents graciously let us stay with them until our house was finished. I was under the impression it would be for a month or two at most and it turned out to be six. I need to note that I'm an incredibly independent person and I'm not a huge fan of roommates, so living there for six months was NOT healthy for me. His parents were great to let us be there and definitely did their best to make us comfortable. Even with tat, it didn't help that we were living in the middle of nowhere on a huge farm about 15 minutes from metropolitan Midale (snort). I had no car for the first three months, knew no one and was dealing with some major homesickness. Aside from all that, might I mention that Kurtis's brother had also moved back and he and his pregnant wife were in the same situation we were in. So let us count it up, that's Kurtis, Lauren, Kyle, Molly, Steve, and Shirley living under the same roof. Might I also add that Steve and Shirley have a cat named Hutch, Kyle and Molly have two cats and I have a dog Norbert. They were all there too. SO it was literally a funny farm.

OK, so we all lived on the farm where there are two bathrooms. A huge one upstairs--the one everyone preferred--and one RIGHT in the entryway. Now, I'm not really good using facilities around people. I like to be left alone and there needs to be a fan going. What I'm saying is that I avoided the downstairs bathroom at all costs. I grew quite used to and fond of the upstairs, spacious bathroom with its fan and privacy. The first of my plumbing issues began one evening in the midst of a thunder snow. Sometimes in Midale, we get thunder snow, where it is thundering and snowing--not raining--at the same time. I'd say this was in December sometime. I happened to have a bit of a tummy ache and that night I happened to also be in the upstairs bathroom when the power went out. DONE. No big deal right? Wrong. Apparently up there, when the power is out so is the plumbing. I'm not sure if that's how it always is or not, but it certainly was the case up there. I flushed and nothing happened. I was mortified-wanted to die mortified. I came out and was asking Kurtis when the power would be back on and he said it could be in an hour or out all night. At that point I was wondering what the heck we would do if it was out all night and I needed to use the restroom again. He just shrugged and told me to pretend it was an outhouse. "Oh yea, perfect," says I. It was like, no big deal Lauren just pretend its an outhouse. HA. Luckily it was back on in a couple of hours.

Now, on the farm another magical thing happens. It's called all the pipes freeze and the toilets don't flush and the water stops working. I never knew this happened until one morning I went to use the bathroom and noticed the toilet seat was down when typically it was up. I didn't think much of it until I opened the lid and had a good morning surprise left by someone. I tried to flush and nothing happened. Kurtis--who had been awake already--tapped on the door and let me know that the pipes froze and the upstairs restroom didn't work. This happened at least five other times I was there. One of the times was during an uncomfortable time of the month for me and I didn't realize they were frozen until too late. Another time came a morning after Kurtis and I had been out until 3 am celebrating a hockey win. I was laid up in bed dying. ***NOTE***for those of you who don't know me well, I get the WORST hangovers in the world. I am sicker than a dog in the morning and continually convinced I am dying***Well, I needed to visit the bathroom because the room was still spinning at 10 am and just as I made it to the toilet I saw the note "frozen pipes". As I puked in the nearby wastebasket, I couldn't help but be grateful a note was left this time. For the rest of that morning I was running up an down the stairs, sick as can be for the whole world to hear in the entryway bathroom. The first time I came bounding down the stairs Shirley let out a little "ah!" If you ever watch Seinfeld, it sounded exactly like Jerry when he is dating the two face. I'm not a pretty picture that early and that sick.

The final part of the farm that caused some trouble for me was the fact that they hauled their water. Sometimes, Steve forgot to check how we were doing on water. I can't blame him, he was busy and there were a lot of people living there, so the water supply didn't last as long. Well, again, I woke up one morning and tried to flush but nothing happened. NOTHING. I thought the pipes were frozen, so I went to wash my hands and suddenly was splashed in the face with exploding water. After cleaning up and wiping down the mess the water had caused, I was informed that they were out of water and we would have to go haul some.

It was a constant battle with the bathrooms while I was on the farm and I have to say, one of the best things about moving into our house was that our pipes wont freeze and we don't have to haul the stinking water on a weekly basis.

The Job

The company I work for is located about 5 minutes from the farm we were stying on and about 15 minutes from our current home. I work in a trailer out there that houses the administrative people. We call it the hallway because that's basically as big as it feels. The hallway is equipped with sinks and two bathrooms. We first got the hallway on the site last Janurary(ish) if not earlier than that. Everyone knew I was coming to work for the family company and that my job called for me to be out there consistently. But for some reason--which to this day is beyond my comprehension--they didn't get plumbing put in until about three weeks ago. That's over a year without plumbing up there for no reason whatsoever other than to make my life miserable. They had a porta-potty. I asked Kurtis if that's what I was expected to use with mild sarcasm. The porta-potty was used by all the men on site, as well as any truck driver who needed to relieve himself while he was unloading his haul to our site. Needless to say I refused to use it because I liked to keep with my record--disease free since '83! I had to start changing my diet so that when I was at my job I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom. I stopped drinking as much water and gained amazing bladder control that I fear will catch up with me and haunt me throughout my older years. Before our wedding, I wrote on the big ease board "Lauren wold appreciate plumbing for her wedding present from you." One of the guys wrote underneath it "good luck" and my request was mysteriously erased off the board some month later. I finally started threatening to go pop squats outside in the middle of the site for the world to see. Everyone--including myself--knew that would never happen so that did little to help me. I went as far to look up immigration rights--I am under a work permit up here--and found that had I wanted, I could have called in the troops and FORCED them to get plumbing because it was impeding on my rights. I threatened this too but no one took me seriously.

About a month ago we started talking about hiring another woman--I was the only one working up there at the time--and MAGICALLY, about a week after she started, they decided to tie in the plumbing. I thanked everyone for so clearly showing how unimportant I was and to this day am still nursing my anger, pride and bruised emotions over the whole situation. I mean, SERIOUSLY?? Did that just happen??

Current Home

We pay income tax to the city for lots of fun things. One of them is supposed to be for the upkeep of the city. Although the city knows and recognise that the sewer system is wiggidy-wack, they refuse to actually fix the problem and continue to patch up the messes here and there. This equates into messages over the loudspeaker at the Mustangs game "just a reminder, the water will be shut off until 10 am tomorrow for repairs". Awesome. Aside from that, there is some sort of pressure issue in the town, so that from time to time, the toilet sounds like it's swallowing itself. It gurgles, slurps and shakes. Shakes to the point that it throws the lid off of the back tank. The water sputters and does nothing until it suddenly comes spewing out in a spray that gets everywhere. I don't care so much about the sputtering, but I do care when it scares me enough that I physically jump or yell. Once, it was so bad that when I tried to do laundry, the pressure literally blew the hose off of where the hose hooks up to the wash machine. Water everywhere. Apparently, like many things up here, this will never be fixed because it's just too much work and, well, "just because". That's the answer I always get. "Why don't you fix it?" I ask. "Just because" says the town office lady. "Just because" says Kurtis and everyone else I ask.

So, as you can see I have had some MAJOR plumbing issues since my move to Canadia. I'd like to think there's a reason for it. Am I getting some kind of payback? Is making me a better person--it's not, it makes me a bitter person. I guess the only reason I can explain why this all has happened and continues to happen to me is "just because."

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Against the Grain: Stories of a Midale Misfit by L.C. Weis Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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