A Profound Look Back at the Week: April 20-24

‘Twas the week when some oil prices turned negative in the latest unprecedented global event, which has made me decide to name the word “unprecedented” Word of the Year. Can’t wait to see what else unprecedented is coming our way.

The forecast era

You may think we’re living in a pandemic but beneath the viral surface we’re actually living in forecasting heaven. The amount of predictions all sorts of people are making for the economy, the planet, the economy, and the economy again (doesn’t matter which economy) is truly stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it. You may call it unprecedented.

It’s quite interesting to watch, to be honest. Besides interesting, unfortunately, it is also depressing, with the depression creeping up slowly as all the data sinks in. I wish I could avoid reading all this stuff but I can’t because it’s my job to read it. I appreciate the fact I still have a job so I’m sucking it up and trying to focus on the interestingness of it all because there is no silver lining. Except for the planet. What’s bad for humans is good for the planet, so let’s rejoice. What? Didn’t we all want cleaner air? Well, now we have it. There.

Meanwhile, the global economy is going to pieces and the only thing people we refer to as analysts and experts can’t agree on is how small exactly the pieces would be. It’s a little like betting on horses only these horses are called U-curve, V-curve, Tick-curve, Depression, Recession, and Collapse, among others. Maybe there are people who are actually betting, I don’t know. The only outtake from all this that matters is that the world is going to hell at an accelerated pace. I knew I did well in planting all those vegetables.

Intruder in the garden

I woke up the other day to see my onions trampled. The rows looked like someone had been dancing in them. Or fighting. And I know who it was. We have a cat in the garden. It’s huge, orange, and extremely arrogant. And, it appears, he’s not alone. When I complained about the onions and suggested we try to win his favour by setting leftovers outside, my husband informed me that one, we had not one but three cats using our garden for their battles (the orange one, a black-and-white rival, and a third one whose colour he mentioned but I forgot), and two, that I was free to set food out for all of them as long as I did it outside the fence. Otherwise, he argued, they’d start coming into the house.

I love cats. Little C loves cats. Big C, as you may have gathered, not so much. He can take them or leave them, and when he has them, he’s as caring as I am, including to the five cats of our friends he used to take care of when they traveled. The friends travelled, not the cats. I married a selfless man. Which is why I’m inclined to agree on the cat feeding routine, especially since those nuisances are feral and even if I wanted to coax them into becoming our pets, my chances of success would have been slim.

The situation is escalating, however. This morning I heard cat love songs not from somewhere far in the garden but from right outside the door. Yep, there was the orange nuisance screaming at the top of his lungs right outside my door. When I went to ask him politely to take his mate-finding business elsewhere, he darted away at admirable speed given the fact he’s not your average lean and mean village warrior. He’s quite plump, surprisingly. He probably has three families who feed him, per The Unadulterated Cat. I don’t mind us becoming Family #4 but if he tramples my onions again I will chase him, I will bait him, I will catch him and I’ll make him eat an onion.

20 hours and counting

As of noon today, we have been without water for 20 hours. The latest from the water utility: the crew is working. They don’t know when they will be done. The pump has broken down or had some other problem.

There are times in life when you feel like the universe is testing you to see if you’re fit to continue living. Lengthy power outages when you’re racing towards a deadline are among these times. So are lengthy water outages. I once had an internal debate about what I’d rather do without, power or water. Power won. I have a gas stove to cook on and I’d rather be clean than warm… No, I wouldn’t, strike that. I wouldn’t choose water over power if we’re talking about the winter. In any other season? I’d take water over power any day.

There were water problems when we came here, six weeks ago. Weak pressure, occasional stops, more weak pressure, etc. It turned out there’s a series of major repairs going on, so we sighed and decided to be patient. Then, about ten days ago, all problems went away except the occasional pressure weakening that we attributed to the neighbour watering his garden even though he has a water well. And then, yesterday afternoon, the water stopped, ruining an otherwise perfect day.

Today has been no different. There was some water collected in the pipe for me to wash the dishes from last night and that was it. I can’t say we were unprepared. We are always prepared after a series of water outages some 20 years ago, which left a lasting mark and also because we have plants that need watering so we have rainwater reservoirs.

We also always have bottled water in abundant supply since the local water, while perfectly good for cooking, is not particularly tasty because of high mineral content. We have really hard water here. Vinegar is not just a condiment, it’s a must for those calcium buildups everywhere calcium can build up. It also stops ant invasions.

So, we have water, it’s not like we don’t. And yet it’s not the same. Showers are an impossibility. Teeth are being washed with water from a glass and while this may be commendable, it’s also nice to be able to rinse said glass from the foam after you’re done washing. Hand washing requires the participation of two people, one pouring the water over the hands of the other.

Cooking is not as pleasant without running water because, when it comes to cooking, I’m the polar opposite of celebrity chefs that generously smear, grease and otherwise befoul all sorts of utensils and then leave them for someone else to wash. Okay, maybe they wash them but later. I wash during cooking. Can’t stand a sink full of everything. Life without running water is depressing. It is also educational.

I was stunned to find, for example, that we still had power and an internet connection this morning. It’s funny how the brain assumes that one disaster must necessarily be accompanied by a couple more. The “Bad things come in threes” rule is strong, apparently. The weather is nice, too. I can’t water the plants because we need to conserve the water we have but it’s warm and sunny. I’m trying my hardest, people. It’s not working particularly well but I’m trying. One day without a shower I can endure. Two would be one too many. It will make me evil.

P.S. 22 hours and counting.

2 thoughts on “A Profound Look Back at the Week: April 20-24”

  1. The agony of choice ? Endless sun, set up solar power for computers ?
    Or water – for staying alive?
    250 m up in the hills of northern England.. Until yesterday evening, no rain since early March, Hamlet not and has never been on the mains.
    Dammed the watercourse at the bottom of our garden nearly three weeks ago, to collect buckets of water – essential for operating a WC.
    Filling up’s now so cheap, might come free with baked beans – but we ‘re not allowed to go to the office, which has mains water and fast broadband…
    Or if we did, wouldn’t be allowed home.
    Last night, for a five minute light shower – we went out, to enjoy every minute.
    Mysteriously, so did the cat… (b&w)


    1. I’m thinking about a larger rainwater reservoir. Won’t be much use during the summer drought but still good as a backup. Water supply was restored two hours before we left for the city. Of course.
      Water-positive cat? Interesting, very interesting. I’m a fan.


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