Each day we learn the quirks of living in this house. All houses have them, and this one is no different. Heating, water. The garbage man who barely stops when picking up the trash.
The first morning we were both dying for a shower. We had fallen into bed after an exhausting day and were ready to take on the day. A hot shower to wipe away the move would be just the thing.
We had a well when we lived in Snoqualmie Washington. Pure mountain water. Clean as water in the Cascade mountains could be. We had a heated pump house to keep it from freezing in the winter. And an elaborate softening system of three big tanks in the basement to clean out sediment. It worked well, even when one of those tanks burst during our Christmas in Mexico and we came home to a flooded basement. I miss that system today – even with the flooding.
Jeff showered first. It was quick, which is not like him. He came down stairs looking, what can only be described as refreshed and startled.
‘How’d it go?’ I asked his wide eyed visage, as he was hunting for a sweatshirt amongst the boxes.
He visibly shivered. ‘Brief. You’ll see. Just make sure you have everything you need beforehand. Towels, etc. Oh, and lower your expectations on ‘hot shower’ part and the water pressure.’
This didn’t bode well. In the US, our homes had water pressure that could take the paint off a car. When we moved to Valencia this was one of Jeff’s chief complaints. Could it really be worse than that?
I did as he advised, then turned on the water. If I was planning on a hot bath, I was in for disappointment. Flipping the switch to shower mode made it stop coming out of the spigot, but the water didn’t transfer well to the shower head. It was as though I was on a beach on a foggy, misty day, soaped up hoping just that little but of moisture would rinse me off. I had a long wait. Shifting under the drizzle, I was praying for coverage in the lukewarm water. I got most of the soap out if my hair.
Afterwards, I described my experience to Jeff.
‘Mine wasn’t that bad,’ he told me. Cold comfort. ‘Maybe I used up all the pressure built up in the system. I noticed the instant hot water tank kicks off if the waterpressure drops.’
I wondered if he ‘noticed’ this while I was in ‘the drip.’ I won’t call it a shower because that would be a lie.
‘I think, until we sort this out, we are going to have to shower together. It’s the only way.’ He offered.
This was a theory that turned out to be a terrible mistake. What it lacked in romance, it made up for in combat. It was more like The Donner Party in there. Jeff had already experienced a semi-hot drizzle. I had not had the luxury. Armed with that knowledge, he was not giving it up. He was like a hockey goalie. I was standing, covered in soap from head to toe shivering at the other end of the tub, watching him bask in the only resource that mattered at that moment. Tepid water.
‘You should probably get over here. I heard the water heater kick off. There is only a minute of warm water left.’
We tried to get by each other, like two seals on a beach. I was losing precious time! I got halfway rinsed off before the cold hit me like a ton of bricks. As my Dad used to say, that water was colder than a well digger’s nose.
We got out, dried off, got dressed and headed for my friend Concha’s café in Melide. We needed food. Good hot food. And Concha and her husband, Fran, are the best. She makes her own gluten-free bread and veggie burgers. I felt sure she would fix us up with lunch, and a solution to our plumbing problem. And sure enough, she did both.
‘You need Fernando.’ She told us after hearing our story, and she quickly whipped out her phone and made the call. ‘He does everything. Roofs, electricity, heating. Everything. He will come tomorrow morning.’
Jeff made the list. It’s long. We have plenty of projects for Fernando to tackle. And, just like that, we have the one thing we need above all else right now. We gotta guy.