It feels like time to start having water problems.
Now, I don't really know why water problems only happen when the temperature is so scorching that the idea of going without water makes me have dreams of skeletons baking by an empty pool. With the amount of rain and snow we have had two years in a row there could hardly be a drought. But there are water problems for a few days every summer. Having to do with broking pipes. With old infrastructure. With being the last house on the water line -- which means ours goes out first and is the last to get water back after the problem has been repaired.
Things were going well. We were battling the heat two days ago, but staying on top of the laundry and cleaning. My assistant was in the kitchen and I told her I could clean a bowl that I had used for the bread dough with the hose outside. As soon as I turned on the water, she yelled out, "Manca acqua!" Manca acqua indeed. I looked at the measly stream coming out of my hose, and got on the horn with AMAG, our local water authority.
The boys from AMAG came up quickly, jiggling the pipes around our water meter. Niente problemi, they declared, someone down the line must be filling a pool! They left in time to make sure that mama did not have to keep their pasta waiting.
The miserable trickle continued. Our guests reacted with calm and patience, but doing wash and filling the pool became impossible.
The next day I figured it was time to call again. This time, the lady at AMAG told me that there was a leak in the system that they were working vigorously to find and repair. I thanked her, a little surprise at the speed with which she informed me. Normally they have to check the area you are calling from. But she just spit out the words as if they were written down on a flash card.
This morning, when I once again awoke to hardly any water pressure, my patience snapped. I called again, this time telling myself not to accept any pool filling, undiscovered leaking excuses. This time, the lady patched me through to the guy in the truck for my area. He swore and said he'd be right up. Five minutes later, he was here, half his body in the cavernous hole where the meter is located. He bashed his head and blood spouted out as he continued to curse and sweat and as we looked on, scared that he had absolutely no clue what he was doing. Water sprouted out like a geyser. " You don't have a problem with pressure," he yelled up from the hole, "There's plenty of pressure! What were those idiots talking about when they were here day before yesterday?" The same question crossed my mind, but I thought it would be better to stay quiet. He seemed to be talking to himself at this point.
More swearing. More water. More sounds of clanging pipes. I thought the water would be out for a month. I was hearing the sound of reimbursed reservation deposits and feeling a little sick to my stomach in the hundred degree heat.
Finally, he reappeared, wiping the blood from his brow.
"Tutto a posto," he declared.
What do you mean, tutto a posto? my look clearly communicated.
"Vai controllare," go check, he said. Micha ran up the hill. Came back to the drive way with two thumbs up and a bottle of wine for the AMAG dude.
What happened? I asked. There was a stone caught in your pipe, reducing the pressure, he told me. But they told me there was a leak they were trying to find, I said, eyes wide open.
That, signora, is why Italy is going to hell in a handbasket, is the best way I can translate his next words. He laughed, thanked us for the bottle, and went to solve the next disastro del giorno.
So now, the high pressure situation of low water pressure is resolved, the pool is full, the wash is done, and we can relax and greet our next guests with confidence that showering won't be an issue.
Va bene. So add stone in the water pipe to the list of things that can happen on a hill in Italy. How did it get in there? I have no idea. I don't want to know. And it does not matter. It's out now.