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It’s true that today was a sandstorm day. Sand blowing ankle-depth in the streets, gritty in the crevices of your elbows and throat, crunchy between your teeth. But I spent today as I have spent the past several days—worrying about something to do with water.

Our water supply has been fine since the Intrepid Twins plumbed the depths of the cistern. The water heater in my bathroom has been fine since it was disabled Saturday morning. But when the plumber was there dealing with the heater, he noticed the Song of the Toilet,  which began with a charming sort of hum and built in a gradual crescendo before leveling off with a sort of throaty shriek to signify a full tank once again. It’s always done this. Sure it was annoying in the middle of the night, but you felt that the toilet took great pride in a job well done. There was a sort of satisfaction to that shriek, a sense of completion.

The plumber, however, wasn’t impressed. He muttered something about old pipes, took off the lid and started fiddling with things. He announced that some orange part needed replacing, so my friend Tim promised to take care of it.

Tim came back Sunday afternoon with the new orange bit. (If you want technical terms, call Jodi—her husband’s an expert) He replaced it and flushed. The water poured and dripped and poured and dripped. It didn’t sing, but it didn’t stop either. The floater floated, the water poured, and soon came the ominous drip! drip! of an overflowing tank. I rushed for the mop again.

We spent the better part of 2 hours watching the tank refill. It would overflow; he would adjust it. It would fill ¼ of the tank, too little for flushing; he would adjust it again. Finally he needed to go. I told him I’d fix it later, enjoying the mental image of myself as Fix-It Woman. But I couldn’t find a screwdriver. Finally I used the one off Elliot’s mini-Leatherman’s tool that he got this summer. With great effort, I adjusted it; it overflowed. I adjusted it again; it overflowed again. Eventually, with many threats about goats and garbage dumps, I gave up. (Oh, like you don’t threaten inanimate objects?)

This morning, when I got up, one of the lenses fell out of my glasses. I couldn’t find my glasses repair kit (I can’t find anything without my glasses! That’s the point!) but I was able to renew my damaged image as Self-Reliant Fix-It Woman by using, again, Elliot’s mini-Leatherman’s tool. (I want one of my own for Christmas) This image lasted until I started my washing machine and noticed that instead of filling up with water, it was pouring all the water out the bottom. So Tim got to spend the morning here again. (Overseas, you always call a friend before a professional, especially since your professional may not have a clue what he’s doing) He managed to fix it, but the toilet is still awaiting a new floater bit.

Maybe tomorrow everything in the house will work.

On the other hand, maybe some defensive pessimism would serve me better.

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