Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Argument Against Water Conservation

This story actually begins a few months back when The Husband reached for the knob of our front door and the whole apparatus fell out in his hand. The lock mechanism was well and truly broken, which necessitated a trip to the home improvement store and the purchase of a new exterior door knob assembly. The old lock was a keyed deadbolt with a secondary lock that could be locked from the inside or left unlocked. The new one works a little different.

Okay, now you might be wondering how this fits in with water conservation. And I admit, the title is a bit misleading, but bear with me.

The last two days, I’ve had to get up for work much earlier than my usual schedule to suck the blood of unruly high school students. It’s left me exhausted. I also suffer from chronic back pain which was exacerbated by the long days this week.

Last night, exhausted, I fell asleep and woke, quite reluctantly at 8:00 am this morning. I toddled downstairs, scrubbing my eyes with my fists, trying to keep from tripping over the dogs as I made my way to the kitchen.

I needed a cup of tea. Immediately.

As any tea enthusiast knows, you should warm the pot prior to use. I boiled some water, then swirled it around in the pot for a few moments. My first instinct was to just pour the water down the drain after warming the pot, but being the California Water Miser that I am, I thought a better purpose would be served if I poured the water into some plants I have sitting on the front porch.

I carried my beautiful Charles Sadler Limited Edition teapot across the house, garbed in my pink fuzzy robe and pink fuzzy slippers, opened the front door and stepped out into the crisp spring morning.

Birds were singing in the trees, down the street I heard a dog bark and in the distance, I heard the rumble of traffic on the main road.

After a moment’s appreciation for the day, I stepped out on to the porch, bent to pour some tepid water on my favorite Viola odorata when I heard a muffled snick.

I straightened, the realization hitting me in the head with all the force of a two by four. I clutched my teapot close to my breast and reached for the doorknob.


The new door lock mechanism is such that if the door is opened from the outside with a key, it will remain unlocked. But if the locked door is opened by hand from inside, it will remain locked. A fact which, had I been fully awake and not operating on two days sleep deprivation, I would have remembered.

I was well and truly locked out.

Since it’s still officially winter, The Husband hasn’t done any mowing, so the grass is about ankle high. Resigned to my fate, I finished watering the plants, and hoping the neighbors wouldn’t see me, I hoisted my robe above my ankles with one hand, clutched my precious teapot with the other and made my way to the side of the house.

My toes began to get damp and cold from the dew-covered grass and the neighbors yappy little Chihuahua screamed at me as if I were a burglar. My own canine crew stood on the other side of the gate and waited patiently for mom to find her way back inside. I love how they trust me.

With one hand, I scooched aside the twin bowling ball sized rocks holding our gate closed while the forsythia bush and snowball tree clawed at me with spindly limbs. The other hand still clutched the warm teapot to my chest.

Inside the backyard, I once again had to grab my robe to keep it from brushing across the wet lawn and I navigated past emerging weeds, and other yard debris left from last fall. The dogs capered about me, happy to see that I'd returned. Roxy, the half-rottie, knocked into my legs, intent on getting me down on the ground to her level so she could show her proper affection.

I prayed The Husband had left the back door unlocked. I tried the door and to my dismay, it, too, was locked. In the pocket of my robe, I felt my cellphone. Who on Earth would I call? Dear Daughter (the elder) who lives quite close and has a key, was already at her job fifteen miles away. The Husband was on the other side of Atlanta. This situation called for immediate action and nobody but me to take that action.

But fate and the Good Lord smiled upon me. As I glanced around, I found the prybar The Husband had used last fall to remove some decking he wanted to replace. He’d forgotten the tool and left it laying beneath a fountain. I hefted the length of damp, dirty and rust-covered iron. It would suit.

With all the skill of an accomplished cat burglar, I set my precious teapot aside out of harm's way, and hunkered down in front of the door. Ignoring the warm, moist kisses bestowed on me by Roxy, I snaked the prybar through the doggie door and gently used the curved end to maneuver the door handle. With in a minute, the door swayed open.

Such a relief! I swept up the teapot and hurried to the kitchen.

Now, I sit, comfy and cozy in front of my laptop, sipping Scottish Blend tea from the faithful pot that stayed warm throughout my ordeal.

I’ve decided that while water conservation is a much needed and worthwhile endeavor, I shall no longer attempt to conserve such a puny amount while alone in the house. I’ve now installed a mini rainbarrel, if you will, on the counter. All water that isn’t consumed and isn’t contaminated will go into this container and periodically used in the garden—while The Husband is home.