Sunday, January 9, 2011

Physics of a Water Line

If you live in a city, or even in a small town (we actually live in a small town during the week, so I’m speaking partially from experience here), you know how sometimes you’ll be driving down the street and there are all those orange cones and a city work crew out with trucks and hard hats and shovels and they are digging up a water line?  If it’s close to your house, you’re probably thinking Oh no, I’ll bet the water’s out, I wonder how long until they get it back fixed again?

Well, on the ranch it’s a little different.  There are no orange cones, no hard hats, and no city work crew to help out.  There’s you, there’s a shovel, and there’s the lumberyard.  Unless it’s a Sunday, which it usually is (how do water lines know what day of the week it is??), and in that case it’s just you and a shovel and whatever bits and pieces of plumbing parts you can find from the last time you fixed a leak.

And instead of just wondering how you’re going to fix dinner that night with no water (pizza, anyone?), you’re looking at a herd of a hundred thirsty cows standing over an empty tank.  Talk about some impatient customers.

But here’s the part that gets me.  We can have a water line that runs for a mile, and if it’s going to have a break, do you know how to predict WHERE the break will be?

Because this never fails.  Wherever the line is at its absolute deepest depth….the furthest down you could ever have to dig to find it to fix the leak….that’s where it will break.

Unless of course there are other factors which would make another spot even less convenient.  Like, say, underneath the porch of your in-progress house.  Here I think Mr. HH is on the phone with Dad at the lumberyard.  Thank goodness for cell phones, at least.

Once I was bringing one of my college friends home with me to see the ranch and spend the weekend.  She was from Jakarta, which is a city of about 10 million people in Indonesia, and I don’t think she had ever seen such an unpopulated area.  As we drove down one of the last country roads, and we hadn’t seen another house in several miles, she started getting worried: “Um, you do have running water and stuff, right?”  I assured her that we did, and electricity too!

Mom called my cell not 15 minutes later to tell me that there was a problem with the lines and the water would be off all day.  Welcome to the ranch!

1 comment:

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

Oh no! That absolutely sucks. What a welcome to the country for your friend, though. haha.

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