Monday, September 2, 2019

The Night the Well Ran Dry

Discovering the Berkshires: Well, last week Mr & Mrs Abq Jew did discover the Albany International Airport (ALB). Which, it turns out, makes our beloved Albuquerque International Sunport seem ... well, gigantic. Who'da thunk?

Except for waiting for our homeward-bound flight to depart, we spent almost no time at all discovering Albany (see Discovering Albany). But it was enough. Instead -

We discovered the Berkshires.

Our Base of Operations - for the whole family, in one glorious house, all seven of us together! - was

Coco's Airbnb Berkshires Getaway

Located on 19 acres, this large unique chalet style A-frame mountain home sleeps 8 and is great for Autumn leaf peeping & apple picking. In Winter, it becomes a cozy winter wonderland and is less than 20 minutes from top ski resorts! Situated on its own small mountain, with total privacy, the sweeping views of Lebanon Valley make this an ideal getaway for any season.

Sure, you can hang around the house (pool, TV, ping-pong, knock-hockey, and a fully-equipped kitchen) - or you can take the 20-minute drive across the state line to beautiful

Downtown Pittsfield, MA

where you can visit the family-friendly

Berkshire Museum

and then relax - with the kids! at

Patrick's Pub

And then - and then! - on another day, you can take the 20-minute drive across the state line to beautiful

Downtown Stockbridge, MA

where you can visit the family-friendly

Berkshire Botanical Garden

and then relax - with the kids! at

Michael's Restaurant

Yes! It's all a lot of fun! And then ...

The well runs dry.

You, Abq Jew's loyal readers, will surely recall the really, really funny story (see Two More Nights) that was finally a competitor to James Thurber's 1933 humor classic The Night The Bed Fell. As a reminder - 

It started with Abq Jew Googling "roomba dog poop".

I suppose that the high-water mark (pun fully intended) of our vacation in the Berkshires was the night the well ran dry. It makes a better recitation (unless, as some friends of mine have said, one has heard it five or six times) than it does a piece of writing, for it is almost necessary to throw water buckets around, shake doors, and bark like a dog, to lend the proper atmosphere and verisimilitude to what is admittedly a somewhat incredible tale. Still, it did take place.

First, you have to understand that it wasn't Coco's fault. Coco owns two Berkshire properties - our delightful Airbnb Getaway, and a habitable, tenant-occupied barn just down the hill. The two properties share a well.

Of the sharing, Coco assured us - and we believe her! - that, in the many years she has managed these properties, only twice has the waterflow temporarily ceased. One time, the pump died. And one time, everybody in both houses decided to take a shower at the same time and at the same time that they were doing the wash. Both times, the waterflow was quickly restored.

But the third time was the charm.

Shown above is a 2-inch Universal Longest Lasting Toilet Flapper with Microban, which you can purchase at Home Depot for $3.63. Don't know how to replace a toilet flapper? There are about a zillion YouTube videos (with literally hundreds of thousands and millions of views!) that show you how.

However. Coco's down-the-hill barn tenants (remember them?) failed, for days, to realize and/or report that - because the toilet-flapper in their one and only toilet was broken - said toilet was constantly running.

How far could it get? Abq Jew hears you ask.

You guessed it. Just a bit after 5:00 pm - COB (Close of Business, as we who worked used to say) - the water in our kitchen faucet, which had been flowing so beautifully, suddenly gurgled, splat, and harrumphed.

And that was it. We contacted Coco, who recommended a few things for us to try - things that had worked before. Nothing worked this time.

It was by then much later, and the only remedies available to us were (for cooking and washing) a couple of bottles of seltzer we had in the fridge; and (for other purposes) buckets of water hauled in from the pool.

It was not a fun evening.

So about those other purposes. In the bathroom on the lower level of Coco's Berkshire Getaway was installed a conventional American Standard toilet that was (sans a fresh supply of water) capable of but a single flush.

But that was OK; all you had to do was shlep a bucket of water from the pool to refill the tank. And voilà - another flush! Then repeat as needed.

In the bathrooms on the main and upper floors, however, were installed super-modern jet-powered toilets. Which could not accept a fresh supply of water, and were therefore unflushable. But still, in a sense, usable. Just remember to close the lid afterward.

What Abq Jew is trying to convey here, without coming right out and grossly stating what may in fact be obvious, is that

The faucet was only a small part of the problem.

But then morning came.

And with the new day came every plumber, electrician, handyman, technician, and pool guy in our small patch of Berskshire heaven. Coco had been up late the night before (or early on this new day) and had made the phone calls that placed everyone in town with even a peripheral knowledge of water resource management at our doorstep at 8:00 am to save us.

Now, it took everyone (they were all professionals) only about an hour to figure out what the problem was. And it took one of them (we're still not sure exactly who) only about 15 minutes to fix the problem. At the tenants' place.

But then - we had to wait for the well to refill.

So we went to the store and stocked up on water. Water in bottles, water in cans, water in multi-gallon containers. Lots and lots of water. And Imodium. Just in case.

We had been warned not to turn on the pump until (perhaps) late afternoon or (better) early evening, lest we cause further damage (?) that would only further delay (?) the restoration of our waterflow.

So we waited.

Until 7:00 pm. When, we figured, come heck or low water, we would bravely flip the pump switch and see what, if anything, happened.

The well had refilled.
The well pump worked.
We were saved.

Rarely had a gush of water from a faucet sounded so good to Abq Jew. Even better was the sound of a super-modern jet-powered toilet.

We had been without flowing water for about 27 hours. To commemorate our Excellent Adventure -

Coco reimbursed us for two (2) nights.
Without even being asked. She just did it.
Yes, we're thinking about rebooking next year.

Downtown Fall River, MA

If you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, have come to the conclusion that Abq Jew is, to some degree, obsessed with bathrooms - you would not be far from correct.

Do you remember Abq Jew talking about the Chad Mitchell Trio and Michael Brown (see A Song For The Right and Fall River Now And Then)?

Well, before Michael Brown hit fame with the Trio, he made a very nice living, thank you (his and his wife's generosity gave Harper Lee the time to write To Kill A Mockingbird), by writing industrial musicals.

There is now a documentary film about such writers of industrial musicals.

Bathtubs Over Broadway premiered on April 21, 2018 at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The film's director, Dava Whisenant, won Tribeca's Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. 
Comedy writer Steve Young’s assignment to scour bargain-bin vinyl for a Late Night segment becomes an unexpected, decades-spanning obsession when he stumbles upon the strange and hilarious world of industrial musicals. 
Tribeca Jury: “The winner of the Best New Documentary Director goes to a film that we chose for many reasons. The story, the specific subject, the journey into a world we never knew existed. This film also has an element every great film, doc, and story needs...heart.” 
Described as "the most feel-good film event of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival," the premiere featured post-screening live performances, including a duet about motion-activated faucets that reunited the stars of American Standard's cult favorite industrial show The Bathrooms Are Coming!

You can watch the Bathtubs Over Broadway trailer here; or visit the film's website here. You can now stream Bathrooms Over Broadway on Netflix, too - which is how Abq Jew discovered it.

Yes, Abq Jew does indeed love bathrooms. Always has. And because he suspects that - secretly or openly, covertly or overtly - you, his loyal readers, may love bathrooms too, Abq Jew proudly presents -

My Bathroom

Created for New Year's Eve 1958.
Recording of My Bathroom is from an industrial musical called 
The Bathrooms are Coming, produced by the American Standard Company
in 1969 and included in the book and accompanying CD, 

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