Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tuesday: day two

It's a brave new world. We must re-learn some basics.
How do we brush our teeth?
Wash our face?
Flush the toilet?
with no running water.
I have a faint childhood memory of my oldest brother and I fetching water from the pumphouse while wolves howl in the background. It is a cold winter's day.
Is my memory accurate or merely fabricating myth? Who knows.
In my world, going to the sink and demanding water with the turn of a tap is common place. I am aware of how fragile things can be on this island. It is for this reason that I keep a supply of tap water squirreled away. We also have rain barrels to collect rainwater for garden use. We even keeps jugs of filtered water in our fridge.
Yet none of this addresses the special concern of toilet flushing.
I am aware of how delicate this subject is. So I would caution you to stop reading now if you are of a gentile nature. For the rest of us, let's continue.
Most of us on the southern gulf island's are aware of the maxim:
"If it's brown flush it down,
if it's yellow let it mellow."
Some hed this maxim. Others do not.
None can escape the need to flush.
How to do so with no running water is the topic of this post.
Step 1. With small plastic pail in hand, scoop out some rainwater from the rain barrel.
Step 2. Bring pail with rainwater to the bathroom.
Step 3. Remove tank lid from toilet.
Step 4. Dump rainwater from pail into tank.
Step 5. Replace tank lid.
Step 6. Grasp handle on toilet push down.
You now have successfully flushed the toilet.
"Okay, Leanne, what do you do if the rainwater freezes." You ask.
Canadians have a perpetual relationship with snow. One of the biggest lessons our forefathers (European) learnt from our other forefathers (Native) was how to survive the harsh winters. It was the Natives who treated to Europeans to a treat: snow candy. Snow with maple syrup.
One thing we can rely on is "When its cold enough we will have snow."
Some places in Canada (Mayne Island, BC) not as much as others (Churchill, Manitoba) but we all get some.
So what we did when the rainwater froze is: used snow.
Once again we set out with pail in hand. We scooped up some snow. Filled another larger pail. Brought pail inside. Dumped contents of plastic pail into metal pail. We then placed the metal pail on the wood stove. The snow then melted. If the water boiled we kept this for drinking water and food preparation. If the water did not it became water for bathroom use.
Wednesday: the power remained off. No lights, water or phone. We walked down town to shop.
Later that day we notice - to our surprise - that water now flows from our taps.
Thursday: Hubby left for work on the ferry. He had been climbing out of his skin for life to return to normal. So he wakes early, has a lukewarm shower and walks to the ferry terminal.
I remain at home.
I watch with delight as men in orange jackets work on the "lines". Will their efforts result in the conclusion of my ordeal? I hope so. Will I soon be able to flick a light switch to see through the gloom? Turn on a tap and receive hot water? Watch Yul win the titled of Survivor? Post an entry on my blog? Time will tell.
At 5:27 pm, I'm sitting in the living room. CBC radio hums softly in the background as I knit. All of a sudden I hear a noise, I look up. There is a strange glow coming from the kitchen. "What the..." it alarms me. Slowly it begins to register that it is the fridge. The fridge is "on". We have ...electricity. We have electricity! I jump up, tuning off the battery run radio in mid flight. I race to the kitchen turning on the light and onward I run to the entrance way. I flip on the porch light. Then I hear a voice, "After a power outage you should wait fifteen minutes and then slowly turn on electrical run items." The voice is my superego. I turn off the porch light. I think, "that's silly" and turn the light back on. I give all three of my cats treats. The ordeal is over. I have made it. I have survived.


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