As you all might assume, water is somewhat important out in the desert. There is the drinking, and the watering of plants, and the house cleaning, the flushing, and cat hydration. All of those are things we have not been able to do since almost the day we got this place. It is a funny story…..
So, the woman that owned our place was stealing electricity from Edison. She had jumped power from the electric pole into her fuse box, bypassing the meter with car jumper cables. Besides a possible fire hazard we didn’t want to get tagged for being electric thieves, so as soon as we got the house we called Edison and they cut the power. Good citizens us.
Being city folk we didn’t realize that our honesty and fear of fire would come back to bite us in the ass... like a scorpion hiding in your shoe, which would actually bite your toe and not your ass, but anyway... it seems that that power line worked the well pump and that there were two fuse boxes. One for the house and one for the barn/pump. So by doing the right thing we cut our water supply and sealed our non-watery fate.
The guy who cut the power told us it would take about two weeks to get a new electric panel, but he assured us this was simple and we could have things up and running after that. That was 10 weeks ago. Since the house is so old and pre-records, there is no paperwork showing that we had a legal meter and Edison doesn’t like having two meters on a single property anymore. Well, that took seven weeks to get sorted out. Still no water.
Each time Anna and I went up to the property we had to drive to the JT tourist center in 29, fill up our single and 5 gallon water bottles, bring them all back to the house and then water plants, flush toilets, put out water for the two cats that live in the crawl space below the roof. Then we would drive back and do it all again before they closed. Two trips a day for water just for the basics, like pioneers. I actually had to drive out to the desert once just to make sure the cats had water. A five hour round trip.
Last week we were told that the power was fixed, so we had the well guy come and update the well. Once that was done we flipped the switch only to find that the meter was never turned on and we still had no power. So our weekend was once again filled with trips to get water and no way to wash the dishes that have been piled up in the sink, or anything else. We were getting tired of driving to the tourist center for a working toilet.
Yesterday, after calling Edison again (I've called every 2 days for a month), begging for someone to come deal with things, some guy came out and said, “Oh, no one turned on the meter. They could have done that from the office. I'll turn it on." He flipped a switch on his tablet and amazingly, power was on. Finally.
So now we have water. The cats have a four gallon tank on the patio just for them for when we are gone. All is right with the world, except for the scorpions and the remaining trash. But that will be gone soon. The trash, not the scorpions, I mean. Oh, and the snakes. We're waiting for them to show up.
Below are photos of the old well, and the new well. Neither of which look very well-like. Ideas to improve?
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.