Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hazy Reality

From my kitchen window the sun is blazing down on the yard and driveway like in an old western movie, and I hear one of those sixties soundtracks to one show playing in my head. There is no breeze and the thermometer says 98 with a humidity level of 60%. The heat index for the day is expected to be around 105 to 110. It is insane weather to be living and trying to do anything in, and of course, that is precisely when something pretty important to the normal state of things happen that requires one to go out and fight the dragon’s breath. Yesterday was right on course with Murphy’s Law.

Yesterday my day began with a quest to unravel the mysterious workings of my online banking bill pay that according to one computer, mine, said that a company got paid for an insurance premium. So I was surprised recently when I received notice that for non-payment our policy was canceled. That’s when my fun on the phone began.

I began with the insurance company, whose automated system of screening the calls into the right department had me screaming at it, and finally when I did reach a human voice, “Daniel” told me that there was no sign of their having gotten it and therefore my only option was to pay over the phone. The down side then was that he told me coverage on Mark would not resume for twenty four to forty eight hours. I called Mark and told him not to die during this time period. Then I called my bank to find proof of the posted payment shown on my computer.

First I spoke with Shane, then, I was put on hold. I listened to music and waited, for thirty minutes, only to be transferred to Michael, who also put me on perma-hold but kept coming back and saying “sorry”. Next in line was Lisa, then Terry, and then it was back to Lisa, and still there was no finding a resolution to this ethereal check chasing caper. I hung up this charade after playing along for two and a half hours, exhausted and disgusted.

I am beginning to really question what is “real”. The edges in life and how it moves along have become very fuzzy to me. There is too much emphasis on computers, and paperless trails. Green is good, and I like the idea, but trying to find physical proof of an online check payment that only exists on a cyber world plane, and as of yet, remains clouded in a mysterious and unclear place, is a very strange and time consuming business. Being tossed from one disembodied voice to another, being put on hold for an ungodly amount of time, and then to pay them for their services to boot, is crazy.

I was more than a bit ready for some reality after this and gathered up the dogs to go ride in the truck and do some errand running. Errands done, we came back to the farm and I stopped to feed my geriatric mare, Limerick at the little barn. My neighbor from down the street that has hay equipment, lots of cows, and is willing to come cut my tall grass in the fields, roll it up and get it out of here, was presently cutting somewhere below the dam and as I started out the gate where our water meter is. I noticed a large puddle where all of the pipes start their underground journey to the house. His track showed he had run over the shallow pipes, not having known they were there, and now we had a serious problem, no water, and a set of pipes to fix in this insane weather. Mark was not a happy camper with the news, to say the least.

Mr. Murphy stated that if anything can go wrong, it will. It did. After I had bailed the puddle dry to asses the damage, I texted Mark a photo of the debacle, he bought the replaceable parts, and once home, was able to patch the wounded pvc mess back together. We would have to wait for two hours with the water pressure off to see if the new joints held. Drenched in sweat and covered with mud we came back to the house and took refuge in the only water available, the pool. After the sun had set and two hours had elapsed we went to test the fix. He turned the valve on and water instantly blew towards us. Not fixed, and now dark, we headed back to the house to be waterless for the evening to try again in the morning.

Most things on a farm are optional, like when to cut the yard, when to fix a sagging gate, repair some piece of machinery, and the list, regrettably goes on past infinity and beyond. The single thing that simply must be, is available running water. The horses can drain a huge round tank in a day, standing around it in a circle, sweating and drinking. The idea of no water for them is not an option. In the house there is ice to be made for cocktails, there are dishes to be washed (Jack, the terrier can only do so much pre-rinsing), showers to make us clean, and toilets to be flushed. The list goes on, but, point being made, it was a rough evening.

I sit inside now writing, waiting, still with no running water. Our morning attempt at another fix was initially successful, but later, after turning on the sink faucet I noticed a distinct lack of pressure, more of a dribble, and my gloom returned. My inspection showed another blowout but there was too much water to see which joint had not welded. We will have to bail it out again this afternoon when Mark gets home from work, and try again.

Some days are just like that.

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