The laundromat is loud. It's been so long that I had forgotten how hard it is to sit quietly and read at the laundromat--those giant industrial front-loaders sound like jet engines taking off and the television in the corner blares annoyingly above the washer noise while a grimy-fingered toddler runs around yelling and trying to touch all the nice clean clothes.
But I got three loads of laundry washed anyway, and then I brought them home to put in the dryer. We haven't done laundry since last week, maybe Friday, not because we have suddenly developed an insouciant disregard for conventions of cleanliness but because we have no running water at our house--and won't have any for at least another week.
We had full water pressure and no problems on Saturday, but Sunday started out dry and stayed that way. A horde of plumbers invaded on Monday and kept saying "This next thing ought to fix it," but the next thing never did, and finally, after working all day Monday and half of Tuesday, they called it quits, leaving behind a big hole in the yard, a pump that works just fine, pristine pipes, and water so brackish it looks and smells like sewage. I have not yet heard how much we are going to have to pay for three plumbers not being able to fix the problem for a day and a half, but I suspect that we're financing the plumbers' new boat.
So then we called a well guy. I don't know what his formal title is but he is certified to figure out what's wrong with wells, and he came out yesterday to take a look at ours. The good news is that he thinks he knows what's wrong and he knows what to do about it; the bad news is that he can't start on it until next Wednesday. But first, we have to get a permit ($$$) from the county health department...and figure out how to survive another week without water.
Well, we have water: jugs of drinking water, buckets of brownish water hauled up from the creek or drawn up from the cistern (for flushing toilets), showers at the campus rec center. But I can't run the dishwasher or wash clothes or clean the kitchen or mop floors with creek water, and let's not even talk about what the bathrooms look like. My whole house smells like a dirty toilet.
With another week to wait before any hope for running water, it's time to take drastic measures. Today I'm buying cleaning wipes, paper plates and cups, hand sanitizer, and anything else I need to feel less grimy, and since it's really hard to cook without running water, I may just bring home the kinds of processed foods we never buy: frozen lasagne, for instance, or fish sticks, things that don't need to be washed or boiled and don't require a lot of pots and pans that I won't be able to wash.
And last night I gave in to the inevitable and went to the laundromat, a local place that raised a disturbing question: how can an establishment devoted to the promotion of cleanliness have a bathroom so dirty it looks toxic?
But at least it had running water, which puts it way ahead of my house.