It comes right out of the taps! It's clean and clear and safe to drink! You don't have to carry it! You can even change the temperature dramatically on a whim! To see how a 21st-Century woman with a middle-class American upbringing can possibly be so amazed by indoor plumbing, let's lay out the Running Water Timeline of the past few months...
Weeks 1-2 No water at all on site. It is discovered that a pipe to the house burst over the winter, so enormous holes must be dug and earth movers must work their magic before any water becomes available. Water to rinse rags and paintbrushes is brought over in buckets in the back of a pickup truck. Water to drink is brought from home. The bathroom is either the great outdoors or the home of another employee who lives on site and generously offers.
Week 3-4 Water is available from a pump in the front yard (see photo above) and is carried in buckets to the house, a distance of approximately one block, depending on the city. Bathroom and drinking water situations remain the same.
Week 5 Indoor water! After all of the outdated plumbing is replaced, cold water is available through the line that will eventually run into the washing machine. No drain, of course, so buckets are necessary. Still no bathroom/drinking water options.
Weeks 6-8 Oh my goodness me, a toilet! An honest-to-goodness indoor flushing toilet has been installed. I am giddy, and wish I could share my good fortune with the heroines of all the old-timey books I've ever read. Hands are washed at aforementioned laundry line held over a bucket.
Weeks 9-10 Kitchen sink and shower are installed, releasing beautiful water that flows into a glorious drain. The water remains cold because it would be wasteful to keep the water heater running while we're not living there. The water remains non-potable, as the burst pipe necessitates completely flushing all of the plumbing before it will be clear of debris.
Week 11 I have failed to mention that because we can't yet do the pipe-flush, we also can't yet install the water softener and anti-rust agents. This means that the water is colored by rust and dust and, though the water itself is incredible, it is a long way from perfectly see-through drinkable water.
Week 12-Present Have you heard about hot water? On command? It is the most amazing thing, and it comes right out of the kitchen sink and the brand-new bathroom sink.. Oh, the joy of cleaning things with hot, hot water. The shower is also installed, though it is yet to be used.
And that is how things stand: a flushing toilet, hot water and a drain for cleaning things, especially our hands, all right indoors. I can't wait to drink the first glass of clean, clear water out of my very own pipes in my very own home — like drinking stars.
(As mentioned, I've been working on the new house 20 - 36hours/week, while actually living in a completed house with electricity and water and everything, so I truly am one of the luckiest humans to have ever lived. I've given to clean water charities in the past, and am highly inspired to do so again. Please name your favorite if you have one!)
(Image credits: Bethany Nauert)