Sam Bauman: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink



Life goes along easily most of the time in Carson City. But for more than 50 seniors last week there was a surprise problem: No water. Those affected live in the Sierra Ridge Apartments off Russell Way. I was one of them.

Sunday night I turned in after watching the fine series on PBS “Wolf’s Home,” all about Henry VIII and his chief fixer Thomas Cromwell.

During the night, something happened to the apartment water and when I got up for a drink there was no water. Didn’t worry about it but in the morning still no water. Ergo, no shower. Ate fruit and yogurt for breakfast, still no water, so no tea.

Then a note under the door from building management, telling me what I already feared. Building water main down, no word on when we would have water.

I was lucky. I usually keep two bottles of water in the fridge, but they were not enough to flush the toilet or wash the dishes. So I wandered about all day, feeling scruffy and not exactly clean.

Cooking dinner that night was difficult as dirty dishes piled up in the sink. Luckily, I had purchased a crate of a dozen cans of sparkling water, good for drinking but not much else.

Next morning still no water, and things were getting messy. I was learning how many times one goes for water for some minor things, like watering the basil plant or my mostly dormant orchid.

And, of course, the bathroom. The toilet was something I tried to avoid looking at. Brushing teeth with soda water wasn’t really very good, particularly when I tried to use the homemade baking soda and salt that I liked. No water, couldn’t get it wet so that it would stick to the brush fibers. Lunch and dinner were haphazard affairs, the dishes piling up, not ready for the dishwasher. And those many quick trips to the sink were frustrating. Habits die hard.

Wednesday morning, still no water. The bathroom was getting a bit foul. The morning shower I truly missed.

I did get a lot of reading in, particularly of the Sunday New York Times, which usually I rarely finished. No word on when we would get water.

Late in the afternoon three men burst into the apartment, saying the water was back on and they had to restart the heating system, which they did, as the temperature inside had fallen to 60 degrees.

So now things were back to normal. The toilet will flush, I could brush my teeth and rinse the dishes for the washer.

Such outages are rare in Carson City and it’s almost impossible to prepare for the loss of water.

To prepare keep a five-gallon jug of water around.

Chalk it up to seeing how many people around the world live every day, and how the Nevada pioneers muddled through. Or my childhood when we had an old fashioned hand pump in the kitchen for rainwater from our cistern.

We’re pretty much spoiled these days, except when lightning takes down our electricity or we run out of natural gas. Against all the evidence I hope global warming is just theory.

Most senior have already done this, but if not, now is the time to make list of emergency numbers by the phone. Start with 911 for catchall, then fire, water, gas, ambulance, doctor and hospital, family and friends. Make it big enough that you can read it without glasses.

Still skiing, but lots of rocks

Yep, the recent spring snow has kept the bull wheels turning at Heavenly and other resorts. I’m done, I quit a few weeks ago when I noticed that occasionally my left foot would drag. A trip to the MRI at Sierra Scanning showed nothing amiss, but I figure on taking the MRI reading to the doctor who replaced my right knee, which is still functioning well 10 years later.

Life at the Carson Senior Center

I try to lunch at the Senior Center in town at least once a week just to keep up with events. I try to drop in whenever Chef Joe’s BBQ ribs are on the menu. I did so last Friday after doing my income tax return. As usual, the ribs were fine (I take a small bottle of Tabasco since I like things hot.)

But one thing puzzles me. With a senior population in the thousands in Carson, rarely do more than 150 show up. For those that do it’s more of a social affair than mere lunch. Friends fill up a table and stay long after lunch. Dining room is airy and nice, food is healthy. No stigma attached and it’s free if you qualify. It’s 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sign in and dine and talk.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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