Good till the Last Drop

Just another day living the lake life:

The son was down at the lake last weekend. He called me and said the water ran out mid-shower. I’m fourteen states away at the time and can’t just hop right over to investigate.

We spend an hour on the phone attempting remote diagnostics only to conclude it should be working, but it ain’t.


Sigh, time to call “the guy” and get the checkbook out.


The Guy arrives and proceeds to tell my son that the entire house needs re-wiring along with most of the neighborhood block and, of course, he’ll be happy to do so.


My son is nobody’s fool and lobs a few well-aimed questions at him in response. Shortly thereafter, “Oopsies, there’s just a wire that came loose in the switch box on the pump which was obscured by the box cover.”


Water flows again.


I arrive at 12:30 a.m. as exhausted as if I’ve sprinted all the way from Boise to here pulling a

semi-trailer with a shoulder harness. I go to wash my hands. Nothing. The faucet is useless as a management consultant.

A few expletives later, I wash my hands with bottled water and go to bed readying myself for the challenge of the morning.


Daybreak: Check all the breakers. All on. Try the faucet again hoping for a miraculous overnight healing. No dice.


Figure it’s the pump switch going on the fritz. Pull out the manual to find the part number to buy a replacement.


Google "pump supply stores open on a holiday" and find the closest one is back in Boise where I just sprinted from.


Meanwhile, the wife is getting distressed about the loss of indoor plumbing. So, I’m reading in the manual that if I attempt to replace the electrical switch myself and do something wrong, I will not only give myself the electric chair treatment but also single-handedly take out the entire national electric grid and my fried corpse will be arrested and charged with domestic terrorism. Sigh.


I begin to think about calling The Guy back again and calculating how many years I’ll need to delay retirement to pay him to come on a holiday weekend. I’m sure it’ll be enough for him to buy a French villa in Cannes.


On a whim, I check the pressure gauge -- 40 psi and holding. I then see the hose bib in the pump house and, out of curiosity, check it. Water flowing. Hmmmm. Delayed miraculous healing? Back to the kitchen faucet. Still nothing.



Now I'm concerned I’ve got a busted supply line underground. That means two French villas.


I sit and think of ending it all right there, but then go back to the pump house looking for divine inspiration. That’s when I notice that a barely visible butterfly valve on the supply line is sitting at an unusual angle. I twist it back into normal position and the kitchen faucet roars to life. Every toilet and shower gets exercised in celebratory conquest.

I love a hot black cup of coffee in the morning. It tastes like....victory.


This article, written by guest columnist Paul Patton, was published in the May-June 2021 issue of Lakelife.