Growing up in Canada, I'm pretty good about dealing with cold weather. I can adapt to a pretty wide range of temperatures actually. Some winters in northern Alberta we'd see temperatures below -40 F... there's a bit of trivia you'll hardly ever see unless you're from far north... -40 F = -40 C! That's right, just so happens that -40 is the same. Either way, its freakin' cold right?
Ok, none of that really has much to do with today's post... Yesterday, I was startled back to reality by the door bell. We hardly ever have visitors... bounce down the stairs, expecting it to be my Publishers Clearing House peeps with the big check, they're way over due, so I'm thinking with interest and all, it might be a good day after all!
Nope, 2 guys with hard hats, day glow vests, clip boards, and a wrench. I'm having a flash back to all the bad mob movies where they're gonna whack we with the wrench or somethin', but why the clip board?
Oh, I see now, they work for the Gas Company. Something about we didn't pay for all the hot water we've been enjoying lately. Now, as a guy, who used to be in the Navy, where they stricktly enforce VERY short showers, I can tell you that we've not been wasting hot water here. In fact, after about 4 minutes, I usually get bored in the shower and go back to work. But that's just me right?
So, for the low down price of about $157, they say they can leave my gas turned on, with the promise of hot showers in the future. I look at the guy, and consider telling him he's on the wrong block, but I doubted he'd fall for that one, again! He says he'd take a check. Dude, I'm so broke this year I burned my checks trying to stay warm this winter! I rolled pennies yesterday to buy a loaf of bread (butter top, thought I'd splurge right?)
Anyway, I got my hot shower yesterday, thought I might as well enjoy it, just in case no new jobs come in for a while. And the whole time I'm in the shower, I'm thinking how glad I was they didn't turn off the power or the internet, or gravity right?
We have about 150 feet of garden hose. Not sure why we have so much, the lot isn't that big. In fact, I think I could go around the house and still hit all points with 40 feet to spare. Anyway, we have a lot of hose.
Flash back, to a few years back, just after I got out of the Navy... I lived in San Diego, during another of my brushes with poverty and really bad luck... well, when you're that unlucky, that many times, its really not even fair to blame the fates is it? SO I'm pretty sure some of it was my fault.. anyway, I had been evicted from a pretty decent apartment, but a girl I worked with said she had this cute little 20 foot RV trailer that her and her boyfriend had lived in, that she could sell me. Just needed a little bit of work, and a bit of cleaning.
Ok, cool, I go rent a UHaul truck to tow the trailer with ( had a VW Jetta then, not a great car to pull a trailer with! ) go find her parents house, and hook up the trailer. Her Dad was very helpful, mostly I think he wanted it gone as soon as possible. In fact he had me hooked up and was trying to direct me out into traffic, when it occured to me I hadn't even looked in side. Should have pondered that a bit more, right?
Quick look in side, and oh, wow... I used to work with chemicals and hazardous waste in the Navy. I went through Shell Back Initiation in the Navy. I've done things, been places, in 3rd world countries. None of it prepared me for the inside of that trailer. Her Dad smiles at me... I give him the money, we close the door on the trailer, and he blocks traffic for me so I can pull out. This is going to be... interesting!
The first 3 or 4 nights, I slept in my car! The girl and her boyfriend had just gotten tired of the trailer, and rented an apartment. Her Dad, knowing they had moved out, just unplugged the extension cord, thinking no sense in keeping the fridge running since its empty right? Did I mention this was in San Diego... in the summer, in a little 20 foot trailer? The aroma of 2 month old "food" in the fridge, plus a bit of smell from the bathroom, plus... I never did figure out what some of that was, it was slimy and seemed to be as afraid of me as I was of it!
Well, one of the issues with the trailer, once I got it smelling a bit better, was the bathroom had so much water damage, I was afraid I'd fall through the floor. So for the first week or so I just used the parks bathroom and shower. And I was too cheap to buy propane. Then I had the idea to make a temporary outside shower, behind the trailer. I really wish I had taken some pictures, but lets see if you can follow along. I had found a hula hoop and for some reason hung onto it. Perfect for hanging a shower curtain on right? Not wanting to drill any holes into the trailer to attach it (not that it could have hurt much right? ) I found a board, layed the board on the roof, grabbed the trailers spare tire to hold the board down, bent a coat hanger to tie the hula hoop to the board. I had saved the shower curtain and rings from my last apartment, so I was nearly set. I had a good length of garden hose and a nozzle, so I just dropped the hose over the board, and I was set!
A word of warning here. Dark garden hose, in San Diego, laying on asphalt, can give you water that's TOO hot. But you don't want to waste it, because it takes a while to heat up again. So I grabbed my car wash bucket and filled it first with the super hot water, then got down to the slightly scalding water for my shower, and by the end as the water cooled off, I used the bucket for my final rinse. Not too bad at all!
Anyway, I had told Brian about my garden house shower experiments. Brian is my good buddy who's name is on the lease for this house that I'm living in, while I'm waiting for the Publishers Clearing House party van to arrive. Brian mentions that we'll have to improvise, its another week until his next pay day. And my book sales are slowing down. So later yesterday, I see Brian out in the back yard, with the garden hose, looking up at the sky, and at his phone to get the time, or maybe he was looking at the NASA website for sunset times? Anyway, now in the back yard, I see about 150 feet of garden house arranged in a very fine "Solar Thermal Entrapment Device"... we'll refer to it as our STED for now. I wonder how many people at NASA are on their Naming and Acronym Task Force ... NATF... I'll bet it takes more than a few to come up with a few of their zingers!
This morning, I'm suddenly faced with the reality, that Brian was setting the STED to give HIM a hot shower, for when he gets home from that job thing he keeps telling me about. Oddly, he seems to hate his job, but sometimes still thinks I should have one. Not a natural sales person!
So, STED is currently in the shade, but I can see it will be fully in the sun in a couple hours. Ok, but I kind of needed a shower this morning. I briefly considered cleaning out my coffee maker (30 cups, can make very hot water pretty quickly) but figured, hey, its not really cold out side, how cold could the water in the shower really be? Realizing that just positive thinking might not be enough, I came up with a plan. Its a hand held shower, so I could do parts at a time, and hopefully avoid full on hypothermia.
Being really a wuss when it comes to cold water, I decided to commit myself and not leave myself an option to back out. Once I got briefly wet, I lathered up with LOTS of soap. Knowing I now HAD to rinse, it was easier to just get it over with. And by the end, the blissful numbness was setting in, and I almost was enjoying it.
Wonder how tomorrow will be?
Stay Tuned :)
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