Friday, July 22, 2011

AR is Not in a Third World Country

This drought reminds me of a story. After we moved to AR in 1991 we needed to rent a house while we debated our options. One of the scientists at Winrock was preparing to go to Harvard for a PhD and said she'd rent her house to us for 4 years. When we went to discuss it I fell in love - the house was darling, newly designed by an architect, barely lived in, nestled into a wooded lot on the edge of town....tiny, but we could make it work. Excy was concerned that the only water was from a well, and asked her many questions about it and whether or not she had ever had a problem. She assured us she never ran out of water.

After she left town we moved in. The house may have been new but it was filthy. After cleaning two days and moving in, and running two loads of laundry - You guessed it - we ran out of water. Zip. Nada. Excy primed the well pump and did all the voodoo one has to do and concluded we were out of luck. Driving to friends who also worked at Winrock so we could fill bottles of water from their tap (they were in the city limits) that night, they told us that this happened to X "all the time," and she had been to their house for water or had heard about it happening at least 2-3 times a week. On the second day Excy ruined his truck's transmission hauling a heavy water tank up to the house, and livid, called X yet again -- she wasn't returning the messages -- this time telling her she had until the end of the week to make a decision: we were moving and canceling the rent check if we didn't hear from her within the afternoon.

When she called, she said she had no intention of paying for another well, and thought what we should do is put up devices on the roof and rain barrels so we could catch run-off and use that. She had "discussed it with another employee at Winrock and he agreed it would be a sensible solution." Okay, I knew she was odd, but BSC??? Number 1) AR doesn't tend to have much rain in the summer. This didn't solve our immediate problem. Of. No. Water.

Number 2) I didn't really see the necessity of living like we were in a third world country when we were not in a third world country.* She hemmed and hawed. We stewed and argued -- then we realized there wasn't a way to bring a person back to earth when she was so far-out of range. So we told her we'd be moving on Monday, having lived there for seven miserable days (well, five, since the first two days were fine).

Sunday night she called and said she'd pay for another well on the property. Duh, she'd have to do it anyway regardless of who moved in. This 'ole boy came and witched it and taught me how to witch, too, and we found a spot and it was a great well. Never ran out of water again, though it did turn brown at times and stained the porcelain in the bathroom, but her well did that, too.

We paid the rent on time and never contacted her again - thankfully never had reason to -- but this left a bad taste in everyone's mouth and she really got back at us. I'll tell you part two in another post.


*yes, I know it's correct to say 'developing country' now - then it was accurate lingo.

13 comments:

Ms. A said...

My (non-paying) renters were having trouble with the well on the Carolina property. Seems the pump went out. Thank goodness he's handy, since he's never paid a lick of rent.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, you were more patient than I would have been. Thank goodness you didn't buy.
I once got to witch a well and it was facinating. I was told by the old professional witch'er that I was a natural.
Guess we have an alternative occupation if we need.
Looking forward to part 2.

SP said...

This post back good old memories for me from home. Water cuts all the time - me from a third world country :)

ReformingGeek said...

The nerve of some people.

As you know, be careful of doing business with "friends" and/or co-workers. A friend tells a story of renting a house to a co-worker. It turns out the co-worker was always late paying the rent and had moved her teenage children into the house unsupervised. Needless to say, they wrecked the place. What a mess.

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Looking forward to part 2...it seems that some people don't believe in what goes around comes around. Just not nice! Thanks for dropping by my blog and the compliment for my son and the encouragement on my photography... I appreciate both.

maddyrose said...

Having lived in a third world country I know how it is living without running water. I'm glad things worked out for you and can't wait for part 2.

e said...

I'm glad she put in a second well. Sorry to hear she was the vengeful sort.

Ruth said...

I am on well water and it has gone dry. Not fun. It is also not fun when the power goes out and the pump is electric. You have to hand pump a bucket just to flush the toilet.

Chris said...

That place did seem to attract the crazies. Except for you, of course.

Belle said...

Don't you wonder what makes people act like that? I have got to stop wondering as it does no good. Loved the story and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

I see from your profile you like Rear Window and Notorious. Two of my favorite movies.

Mrs. Tuna said...

Our last house in NJ had a well, many a time the Big Tuna had to prime the well. Love city water lines.

Retired English Teacher said...

This was a very interesting story. I agree with Patti. You were kinder and more patient than I would be.

Can't wait to read part 2.

Traci said...

Gee wiz, you guys really have to deal with some winners. I'm glad that you're both a good team to protect each other from people trying to get over on you.