Monday, July 24, 2017

Hot Water

Our hot water heater went out on Friday. This sucks, obviously. I'm not psyched about spending money on a hot water heater and installation. Unexpected expenses make me feel a level of out of control that always makes me cry. And I don't enjoy the extra time it takes to boil water so I can take a bath in one inch of water. Neither do I enjoy heating up water on the stove to wash dishes. But, as things that interrupt our routines tend to do, it causes me to think.

I ponder a full tub of hot water, a full sink, water as it had poured before over dishes to rinse them. How much water is it? How much water do we use? How much do we need? I mean, really need?

I think about this video I watched about people having water delivered by a bus driver who volunteers her extra time to bring the water. I think about the shortage, about the damage to water. I think about getting by with 7 gallons of cold water for a week. I think about the connection between women and water. We are the water bearers. I think about our society's treatment of women drought really any wonder?

I think about waste and water and how good it feels to be clean. How powerful and able I feel when I'm clean. How organized and calm my mind feels when the house is clean and organized. And how I don't work to make this happen, not really. I do the cleaning, sure. But I'm not the one out protecting our water.

I think how the timing of this is bad because I just left my job and so our family income is down. But then the timing is good because it's not winter when the water comes from the tap just barely above freezing. It's good timing because we'd just washed all the laundry. I'd just washed the floors. It's good timing because it's easy enough to walk to the rec center, swim and shower afterwards.

I think about the value of spending time boiling water and the considerations I gave to how full to fill the pot. I think how carefully I have to walk with a full pot of water in my hands, lest a drop sloshes out and burns my foot or worse, my kid's. But neither do I wish to waste the energy heating a half full pot. I fill it and take careful steps, tighten my core and take tiny penguin steps, making sure the kids are out of my path. I rinse dishes in one pot's worth, carefully planning which to rinse and wash first to keep the water cleanest the longest.

I consider whether this inconvenience need truly impact my happiness. What truly matters in making a happy life? What level of convenience do I need? It's nice to have big, clean spaces but is it what builds my life into a happy whole? I suspect not. I suspect what makes life grand is more than hot water that's boiled or not, more than clean floors. It must have something to do with wind in my hair and sun on my legs. Or time listening and touching. It must have to do with time spent on a rocker and friendship and conversation. It must have something to do with deliberation, even if it's over something like boiling water and taking penguin steps to the bath.

I feel calmer sometimes after doing these tasks, taking this time, thinking about small things and big things and how they are sometimes the same. I feel like it's valuable to think about the things we use daily. Our lives are a wonder compared to most other points in human history. Hot water can just pour and pour. Until it can't. I think.