Our water heater is still not working. It died five days ago and I hadn't had a shower since. I could have heated water on the wood stove and taken a sponge bath, but I could not bring myself to do it. We lived in Laos for a year with no running water, much less running hot water, so I'm perfectly capable of taking a sponge bath. But it was warm in Laos. It's cold here except right next to the wood stove and I didn't feel like standing in the living room stark naked. And, face it, I've become spoiled.
The handyman who will replace the water heater just returned from California yesterday and informed me he could not replace it before I left, in my turn, for California tomorrow. Desperate for a hot shower, I called friend Velta who said, "Sure. I won't be home but come on in and make yourself at home." Velta doesn't live super close to me but I see her more often than my other closer friends and I felt odd calling one of them and saying, "Gee, I haven't seen you in quite awhile. Mind if I come over this afternoon? And, by the way, may I use your shower?"
Another possibility was leaving for California this afternoon instead of tomorrow morning and stopping at friends in Ashland for the night... and a hot shower. But the last time I showered at their house, I twisted their shower head right off the wall (I'm not good with modern fixtures), then brought the towel bar crashing down when I tried to hang my towel up. I never did get a shower.
So I drove to Velta's. She had laid out a lovely fluffy towel, hand made soap, and a washcloth in the bathroom that has a shower stall. After greeting her two house dogs, I happily closed myself in the bathroom, stripped, and turned on the water to let it warm up. It didn't. Her shower has one of those new faucet thingies with just one handle. I'm used to the old-fashioned two handled jobs. But one side of the back thing was red and the other blue so I turned the handle to the left toward the red thing. I always turn faucets left for hot water. It was cold. I let it run awhile. Still cold. Then I turned it the other way in case it was hooked up backwards. Still cold. I tried the water in the sink. Immediately hot. So much for my hot shower.
All was not lost as Velta has a bathroom with a tub across the living room off the hall. So I gathered up my dirty clothes, clean towel, washcloth, bar of soap, and the shampoo that I'd brought from home, and traipsed across her living room to the other bathroom. The tub had the same sort of faucet. I turned it left. Cold. Then, it slowly occurred to me that maybe the bottom of the handle needed to point to the red portion. So I turned it the other way and waited. It gradually but definitely warmed up. Aha!
I gathered all my stuff again and walked back across the living room to the shower bathroom. On this trip I looked out her huge windows to make sure no one was looking in. Fortunately, Velta lives without close neighbors and the only beings outside her living room windows were her llamas, and they were paying no attention to the naked human marching back and forth through the house. Velta's two dogs were watching me quizzically, however.
Once again in the shower bathroom, I turned the handle the other way and, although, it took a little longer than the tub had, it did warm up. I had not waited long enough the first time. Duh. Shower fixtures are not my strong point. But now I was going to have a hot shower at last! Except I realized I'd left the wash cloth in the other bathroom. So back I went again, grabbed the washcloth, and made trip number four across the floor, (this time detouring through the kitchen to look at a pretty orchid I'd noticed in bloom on one of my treks. By now I was quite comfortable walking around naked in Velta's house.)
I had left the lovely hand made soap in the other bathroom but there was a bar of quite satisfactory soap in the shower stall and I wasn't about to make another foray across the living room. I should probably pay for Velta's water bill this month as I took a long time washing my hair and enjoying a good long shower, a wonderful shower, a cleansing and relaxing shower, a heavenly shower. Not to mention all the water I ran down the drain waiting fruitlessly for cold water to turn hot.
Tomorrow I'm off for California and my friend Ruth's house... and shower. I've been there before and she did have to come in and show me how to turn on the faucet. But maybe I'll remember this time...