Search This Blog

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bucket Bath

The boiler decided to quit last week. I tried numerous times to light the pilot, but it just didn't want to stay lit. So good bye to hot water and to our fancy-shmancy room heating.

This was after the oven decided to quit on Thanksgiving, just after we removed the turkey but before the sides were cooked. We are an adaptable family, so the microwave finished the job.

We've been washing ourselves for the past week with water heated in this bucket, wood-stove-pioneer style. I used the range to heat water for washing dishes because I am a germ phobe and need almost boiling water to ensure we are not poisoned.

We have neighbors not too far away who have no running water at all, heat entirely with wood, and have raised some fine kids nonetheless. When I took a bunch of basil to our neighbor friend this past summer, she dipped some water out of a container on the kitchen counter, filled a jar and plunked that basil right in there. No running water? No problem! So I kept reminding myself that we have it pretty danged good.

Anyway, when the propane tech came out to fix the boiler and the oven, he discovered a gas leak. Out came his RED TAG, which meant THE GAS MUST BE TURNED OFF. So no top of the range cooking, either. While the gas man was here, the electricity quit as well, so we were out of luck for heating, cooking, and now lighting and microwave.

But we are experienced campers, and Tom set up a camp stove and we rustled up lanterns, our new insulator candle holders, oil lamps, and battery powered lights to cast a gloomy glow on our dark rooms. I made Spanish rice with salad and we dined by candle light.

All was well, though, because the electricity came on later that evening, the gas leak was discovered not under the house but in a more accessible location, and it was an easy fix the next day. When I heard the boiler kick in and saw that the oven was back to its old hottie self, I almost kissed the tech's gigantic Frankenstein shoes. That guy was big!

We are, in many ways, spoiled by our easy life. People fight each other in Wal-Mart for cut rate televisions and for toys that children will tire of a few weeks after they receive them from Santa Claus. Our water comes right out of a faucet, clean and ready to use. A repairman drives 30 miles to the boonies to give us a holiday gift of hot water and an oven that works.

There are places around the world and here in the U.S. where the toys are old, used, or non existent. In Africa a mother treks miles for some clean water for her children and she can't fathom a stranger trucking fuel to her home for heat and cooking. And just up the road a mom dips water from a container on her counter to keep some basil fresh. 

So a bath from a bucket once in a while is not a big deal.


  1. for some reason the words to "Green Acres" are running through my head ;0) Mornin' Bridget & Tom.. When all that country living gets to be to much~~ call me ~~ I'll swap places with you anytime ;0) AND!!! I would probably be able to keep ALL my puppies!!

  2. I've always thought that one of the best gifts a grandparent could give a grandkid is ... "if you want water, there's the pump" ... "if you want a hot bath, here's how you heat water and negotiate the logistics" ... and stuff like that. It's fun when grandma' and grandpa' do it, and it's such essential wisdom ...

  3. Living simply sure puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Glad to hear you are able to maintain a good attitude and see the bright side of these unexpected turns.


I love your comments! What's on your mind?