Poor Doug. He's the HAM radio fanatic friend and terrific neighbor we enjoy so much who lives on the top of the hill, just one home above ours. We share meals and laughs, occasionally sitting on our deck in the evening. This hasn't been the best week for him. He had a shock when he opened his water bill.
We all get the same water bill, paying $90 quarterly for more water than we could ever use. We could turn our acre and a quarter into a veritable landscaped showplace without going over our quota. We, of course, wouldn't consider doing that. I lived in Okinawa during high water rationing periods. What is that? That's when the water is turned on from the main source for two hour intervals every other day. That's rationing. You learn to revere water. You learn not to squander it, turning faucets on and off while brushing your teeth, and things like that. You walk up the stairs to get cold water from the fridge if you need cold water rather than letting it run.
Okay. Put down my soapbox. Doug opened his water bill and it was nearly $300. He called and was told that a worker from the water company would come out. He waited. The man never showed up. Doug wasn't amused. He called again. The guy had been detained at another appointment, but would be there the next day. Doug stayed home. The guy came, but the news was bad. Somewhere beneath the acre and a half of Doug's little portion of foothills, buried beneath the granite and pines, the wildflowers and shrubs, was a leak. It was on Doug's property, not the problem of the water district.
Several days have passed. Dozers and diggers have been moving earth at Doug's place. He's got one of the oldest homes up here, built probably twenty or more years before ours. His water's been turned off during the day while they dig up his water lines, trying to find the leak. He's having them put new lines in next week, but since they didn't find the leak yet, they're not ready to do that. He just doesn't want to go through this again in a few years.
We convinced him to eat at our place, just to relax and get away from the strain and worry. He loved the pea soup from the Easter Ham. I'm just so grateful that Heather sent it home with us. I'm even more thankful that I didn't make it sooner and scarf it down without Doug. Last night we had our chicken tacos, and while we sat around the table eating, I asked if there was going to be any way to get some of this back from the water district? No, he admitted, he was going to be out at least $6,500, and that's if they find it Monday. If it drags on much longer, of course, it'll be even more.
"$6,500... Wow," I said. "That's a lot of books." I guess I was trying to lighten the mood. Maybe I was just putting things in perspective of how I relate to money.
"Books!" he said. "That's two HAM radios and a new antenna!" I wouldn't have thought I had cheered him up at all, except that he and John started laughing so hard. Sometimes I just don't understand men at all.