Unresolved Issues

I tend to worry about things, especially those I can’t do anything about, which makes sense because if I can do something about an issue, I would do it and not have to worry. A case in point: this current situation with the water meter showing that I am using water at the rate of 1000 gallons a day. I’ve already set things in motion to find out what is going on, but I can’t follow through. It snowed for almost twenty-four hours straight, and we’ve been dealing with below zero temperatures, so there’s not a whole lot of probing for outside water leaks that can be done. Nor can anything be done about the meter until it’s been shown there is a problem with the meter itself (which the water company vehemently denies.)

So I worry, but not the anxious or frantic or agitated or feeling mental distress sort of worry. The worrying I do is the more insidious kind — pushing thoughts around in my head, continually going back to them to see if there is a different way of looking at them, and touching the thoughts the way one probes a sore tooth. When I do manage to put the thought out of my head, I feel it in my body, a sense of forgotten things left done.

But nothing changes. Nothing can change until the snow melts at least partway ant the ground warms up a bit.

Because of this tendency to worry, I’ve always been one to charge at problems. I don’t like unfinished things, the sense of having forgotten things, or feeling as if things are hanging over my head, so I try to do whatever I can to resolve these things. I don’t know if any of this — the worrying at things or the charging in to fix problems is good or bad, and I doubt it matters. Life goes on either way. (Well, life goes on until it doesn’t, but that’s a completely different discussion.)

I’ve been doing well keeping things out of my head and learning to deal with unfinished things since there are so many unfinished things to be done around the house and the yard, but this water meter thing has me flummoxed.

In the end, I’m sure, it will all work out. Meantime, it’s just one more unresolved issue in my life.

In a way I should be glad of such issues — it gives me something to blog about. Otherwise, all I’d be discussing is shoveling the snow and it’s bad enough having to do the work without having to talk about it.

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Meter Mystery

I’m dealing with a bit of a mystery today. I got my water bill in the mail, and it showed that I used 19,000 gallons of water more than I did a year ago, and 11,000 more than last month when I was watering every day. (I didn’t water at all during this billing cycle.)

Apparently, when the billing people saw the hefty usage, they sent a meter reader here to check the meter to see if there was leak somewhere, but they meter wasn’t spinning, which showed no water being used. At first, I thought they were referring to the extra water I was using to water my grass, but when I got the bill, I saw what they did — a huge amount of water being used. Also, I found out today that when they reread the meter, just a couple of days after the first reading, I’d used an additional 3,000 gallons, which is more than I generally use in a month.

One thing they suggested (because their electronic readers supposedly have an accuracy rate of 99.9%, so it can’t possibly be a reading error) is that I have an intermittent leak. Huh? I’d think you either have a leak or don’t. Leaks don’t repair themselves temporarily. They also thought that perhaps someone was stealing my water, though I don’t see how that is possible, either. I only have two outside faucets, both of which are attached to hoses (because I thought I’d need to water my grass occasionally this winter). I also have the faucets wrapped in insulation, so it wouldn’t be easy to get to them to turn on the water. (It’s not even easy for me to get to them!) Besides, with the snow we had, I could tell no one had been in my yard. Their third suggestion was that the 19,000 gallons came from the faucet I let drip on the subzero nights, but I know for a fact that uses less than five gallons, not the thousands they said it could use.

I eventually ended the call, leaving her as bewildered as I am. She said she will check with the meter reader again (as well as tell him where I’d stashed the tool he left behind when he read the meter) and see if he can think of anything, though basically, all he can do is read the meter again.

Luckily, I have a contractor on call. He’ll send someone over this evening to see if they can find a problem I might not be able to see.

I did think of one possibility for him to check: the dishwasher water lines. I haven’t used the dishwasher for a couple of years, and I recently started again, partly because I wanted to make sure it would still work, but mostly because it’s easier to stash the dishes in the machine than to dry them by hand. I only use it every five or six days, so if somehow there is a 3,000 gallon per use leakage rate, that would add up to the extra 19,000 gallons. But still, wouldn’t I hear all that water swishing through the lines?

One way or another, the contractor will help me figure this out. Meantime, I have a dishwasher full of dishes that I’m afraid to wash.

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Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.