Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The simple things in life

Hello devoted fans. We just finished our first week back from Christmas break. We started school on Wednesday, but had Saturday school, so we still got in 4 days. Not me, I took a sick day because I was sick. We're passing a cold around, and it's taken me this long to realize that the school will function without me for a day, and I can be off if I'm sick. I mostly rested, and called my mom. That's what one does when they're sick, right?

Also, I took a shower. Now, this may not seem like such a big accomplishment, but it really is. Especially now. As some of you may know, our water is stored in a giant tank at the other end of the village. Twice a year, a hose is run to the school/city, and our tanks there are filled up. When we need water at the house, we run a hose to our own tank, in a little side-room off the arctic entry:

This is one of the biggest tanks I've seen. It's 500 gallons, and will last us quite a while. You may remember the day someone else overflowed the tank, and I had to stand there with my hand over that hole in the side, to keep the water from all spilling out, while little kids ran around with buckets and pitchers to collect the overflow.

Normally, this water pump keeps the pressure in our house up. It just hangs out there behind the tank, kicking on whenever we need more water. But now it's broken. It had been dying since October, when they ordered us a new one, but it has finally given up the ghost, and we can't even use it a little. 
Also, that is a window on the left, which used to go from the bathroom to the outside world, but now goes from the bathroom to the storage shed, and actually has been blocked by the walls of a shower. This house was built in bits and pieces. I have a similar window in my bedroom, which looks out into a storage space. 
Since the pump died, we were trying to figure out how to scoop or syphon water out of the tank, so we could function. Denis Davis, a man in the village, was over getting some eggs, and he noticed that there was a spigot on the bottom of the tank. We were able to attach a short hose (10 feet) to the spigot, and can now pull water out whenever we need it. However, it is cold out in those sheds, and I don't want to have to put on shoes every time I need water. We were going to fill up our big pot, some of the larger bowls, and all the water pitchers in the house, when Denis pointed out that we had two coolers, and they hold water very well. So we filled those up instead.

The water coming out of this hose is pretty clean right now. The big tank has been sitting, undisturbed, for about a week, and all the particulates have fallen to the very bottom. From here, we can scoop out of these coolers and get water for our day to day needs.

The distiller heats water up in its internal tank, and the steam collects on the top, condenses, and drips clean water into containers, so we can pour it into our 5 gallon tank, and have clean water for drinking, and cooking with.
Here it is, being heated on the stove in our biggest pot. I'm so glad we have this giant pot. It's enough water for one quick wash-down, or a sinkload of dishes. 

And then I get to take a shower. Or, more appropriately, a sponge bath. Also, if anyone remembers what it was like to wash our hair on pioneer trek, they'll understand what I'm going through. Also, I don't know where those yellow lines came from, there wasn't anything wrong with the iPad I was using to take pictures, or the tub itself. Huh, weird.