There’s No Place Like Roam

I finally made it home after an extended pair of trips.  A five-hundred-fifty mile journey to and from Indianapolis followed by a two hundred mile trek to see my granddaughter (and to provide taxi service to her parents while a car was in the shop). Basically this travel ate up the last half-month (save for a 45 minute gap in the middle to swap dirty clothes between the segments) and my body has been hallucinating about the joy of using my own furniture (I know my bed’s lumpy, but the lumps are in all the right places).

Finally the two hour drive home ends as I turn into the driveway at my apartment complex. My usual parking place is occupied (just as I had expected) so I parked in the closest overflow space. This necessitates about double the walking distance from my car to the door, but since I had taken my wheelchair on my trips (useful as a walker as well as a safe place to plop…and know I can get up again without calling for three spotters and a hoist) so the walk was manageable. I did notice a rather larger sheet of ice covering parts of the drive and walkways than usual, but since the air temperature was  10° F (-12° C) I presumed all was normal. HA!

Once I got in the door, there were two notices facing out to warn people about to depart into the world: that the drive and sidewalks might be slippery (a common notice that is hung at the first snowfall and remains till spring), and that because of the ongoing water problems they were flushing a well pump and to avoid walking across the ice sheets. THAT might have been nice to know about 10 minutes earlier as I began to navigate the antarctic ice cap that was our parking lot. But, no matter, my body reminded me that we were inside and only 30 feet from paradise and another room away from that glorious bed (rather than the hammock shaped torture device in Indiana or the sloping shelf of the kid’s broken futon frame which results in sleeping at the bottom of the letter “V”). Oh the blissful thought…

Put the key in the lock and find there are two notices on the shelf by my door. One is the monthly calendar for March events (also expected). The other points out that since one of the complexes well pumps failed (?) there was going to be the need to take at least two (2) water samples before we could be certified with safe water and that [the residents] needed to collect water before the testing began, and that the end of the “boil water” advisory would be posted in a couple of places. Oh, and they were going to have to flush the well and piping so there would be a great deal more ice outdoors than normal, so be careful. Great. I wonder if it took effect and when it would end. It’s just after nine in the evening but I didn’t see any lights on at my neighbor’s apartment. I let myself in and in the middle of the floor of the kitchen is a sealed gallon jug of spring water from the grocery store next door. Apparently someone thought I should have something to drink when I (eventually) got home. Nice to be remembered during challenging times.

I can hear water running. Still expected as I left all faucets running before I left to help keep the pipes from freezing. The water lines and heating pipes (we have hot water baseboard heating) run through the space above the apartments. Last winter a pipe in the next unit over broke about midnight. Before it was shut off, the hallway had a lake 3 inches deep and about 15 feet long starting just outside and to the left of my apartment door (my neighbor couldn’t get out without walking through the lake, and part of the flood was running down the wall of her kitchen). So the running water sound and corresponding rust stains where the iron-rich water splashed continuously the last three weeks was a “pleasant” reminder of home.

When I turned on the lights and looked closer, in addition to the rust a ring of grey silt had dried on the bottom sink surfaces. It looked like someone had entered my apartment and opened the faucets to flush the nasty water from the pipes. Or most of it, as they didn’t think (or care?) to rinse the sand/silt down the drain before resetting the flow to drip-mode. In any case, the sinks and bathtub look down right nasty (no long hot shower to unlax from the trip tonight, I’m afraid). When I flushed the toilet, I couldn’t see through the grey water that filled the bowl. I guess a couple (dozen?) more flushes might be needed before clean water appears again, but who knows?

Not I, said the cat… (quaint reference to a children’s story where the template ends with “then I will do it myself…and she did.”) I took a ride down to the office to see if more details could be found (and collect my mail). None found, met no one along the way there or back so the mystery must remain until morning.

Then there’s the problem with the computer (did not power up when  turned on, just made pathetic beeping sounds until completely disconnected  and reconnected the thing). And the internet would not work until router and modem recycled. And I discovered I failed to put away a can of refrigerator biscuits so they exploded from the tube. And then subsequently dried to a rock-hard mass needing a knife-chisel to dislodge and dispose of. And I had neglected to recharge the Steven-Hawkings-mobile (my electric cart’s name) after the south journey so my ride to the office was in danger of dead-battery syndrome and a lengthy push (it made it back, but I suspect it would have died had the trip been a third longer).

But I’m home, and I’m happy. And in about another 10 minutes, I’m going to reward my body with just what it’s been craving for the last couple of weeks…

I just need to take these ruby slippers off first.

Phred

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