Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roughing It: City Girl Style

Our vacation to beautiful Block Island was fantastic.  The weather, the beaches, the views, the Fourth of July celebration.... we really couldn't have asked for a better time.  But we did have one complication.  There was one major kink in the wheel - a flaw in the fabric, if you will.

The water filter on the pump at our rental house.... well.... it was broken.


And the iron-rich water that comes from the spring under the island to the tap in our rental house, was shockingly orange and unusable.

We had been warned of the problem when we picked up our keys.  The rental company told us not to drink the water or use it for washing our clothes.  It was okay to bathe in, they said, but we probably didn't want to use it to wash our dishes.  

In other words, go ahead and immerse your body in the water - if you want to - but try not to hurt the home owner's cutlery and dishes.  

When we arrived at the house, it was obvious that the pump had either been broken for a VERY long time, or else this was a problem the house had frequently.  

The orange colored water and stains were everywhere....


This is a picture of the the soap detergent dispenser (dry) on the washing machine.


Here is a photo of the bottom of the dishwasher.

We didn't immediately freak out or anything.  If you were renting a house in the back woods of Alaska, this would be a huge problem, but we always vacation like the City Folk that we are - civilization and bottled water is never far from our rental front door.  It's not a vacation to us if there aren't any grocery and liquor stores nearby from which to replenish supplies.   

We went right out and stocked up on Poland Spring water to drink and the cheapest bottle water jugs we could find to brush our teeth, cook with and use to bath.  The rental agency thought the problem would clear itself up in a day or two (it didn't) and then they sent a plumber to fix the problem (he couldn't).  We waited and hoped that the showers would be usable before we left, but in the meantime, I refused to get the water any where near me or the kids.  

Gordy, on the other hand, is not afraid of a little orange water and he took showers daily - two times a day if he had exercised.  After the first day of showering, the kids and I noticed that Gordy was starting to look a little bit like a butternut squash.  

"Gord, " I said, "There's something weird on your face.  It's ORANGE colored."  Gordy wiped the spot in question and a large rust-colored stain appeared on the cloth.  Of course, that just revealed a flesh-colored spot under a whole lot more orange.  Gordy was COVERED in rust.  (or iron deposits, whatever.)

Gordy's clothes were covered in orange as well.  Any spot of fabric that came in contact with Gordy's oompa-loompa skin, turned orange.


I didn't need any additional proof.  I was glad I brought enough clothes for the kids and I to wear all week and I started rationing the use of our white bath towels.

Without showers or clean, running water, we were forced to rough it .... City Girl Style.  I may be a hard-core city-slicker, but I know how to make due when I have to.  There was no other solution then to use gallons of bottled water to sponge bathe and wash our hair.

A beautiful island, a gorgeous house... and showers using bottled water.


Just like camping, no?  I've never spent the night outside or in the wilderness, but I imagine camp-side bathing to look some what like this.  Right?  All you campers lug spring water in gallon jugs up the mountain so you can wash your hair... what?  Am I wrong?


Luckily, it was hot enough that the kids didn't object too loudly to having cold water dumped on their head daily.  I actually thought the water felt pretty good.   My skin didn't really think so - I didn't get really clean and sun-tan lotion free until I got home on Sunday.


When they get older, my children will be able to talk about the time they "roughed it" on Block Island.  When their college room mates talk about camping in New Hampshire or the time they backpacked through the Colorado Rockies, the children Elliot will say "Well, you think that was hard.  Try washing your hair using gallon jugs of cold spring water!  That's what I had to do on Block Island one summer!"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haha I'm glad you're family made it through such an ordeal! How do you think you would deal with bathing in a lake or stream? Or not at all! Heck I've been on trips where the closest thing any of us got to a shower was swinging in my folding hammock to air out haha. At least you were smart enough to find a way around your problem and enjoy your vacation. Great post! Gave me a good laugh :)

Martha said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Anonymous! I still get a good laugh out of the experience too! You are much, much braver and more out-doorsy than I am, that's for sure. I'm pretty sure that "airing out" would not be my favorite bathing technique! However, after using bottled water to bathe, I think I would prefer bathing in a lake or a stream! At least the water would be free and plentiful!

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Come back soon.

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