Being relatively new to home ownership, there are few things that strike more terror into my heart than when something that is vital to my existence stops working. Such as power or water or my washing machine. Although I am inching my way toward total self-sufficiency, I live in a mild state of angst on a daily basis. Last Friday I woke up to - no water. I discovered this alarming fact at 4:30 in the morning - my usual rising time, but not on any repairman's schedule. The first thing I did was to check to see if I had left water running all night. And I had. I had broken one of my Cardinal rules - when running the hose in the sheep's water bucket, stay until it's full, then turn it off. So I turned off the hose and went inside to wait for the well to recharge (fill back up). And I waited. And waited. Still no water. It then dawned on me that it was not running for another reason. That's when panic kicked in. I grabbed the yellow pages and looked up "Wells Water Repair" and dialed the one closest to me. The "ahem" gentleman that answered the phone pronounced in dire basso tones that I had probably had my well blown out in the recent storms. First, the last storm was two days prior and I had had water since then. Second, if it was an electrical short, it would have tripped the fuse, which it hadn't. He then informed me that he would come out and look at it but, since it was 8:30 and they started at 9:00, it would run me $100 for an emergency call. In my best perky voice, I told him I didn't think so and I would call him if I was desperate.
Then I did what I always end up doing - I called my neighbors. That is how I found Keith. The first time I called, he was eating breakfast and would call me back. When he called back, he interrupted me mid-stream to say someone was in his yard and he'd call me back. When he called back again, he informed me, after some cursory information, that he had put in that very well some 6-7-8 years ago. Then we had to try and remember who owned the house so he could look up the file. That had me back on the phone calling my dairy farmer neighbor who knows everyone within a 40 mile radius. That settled, he agreed to come out. By then it was pouring rain and I trotted out with my umbrella to hold it over him and the well cap. After about 40 minutes of testing he discovered that the problem was my new pressure gauge. It had a cut-off mechanism that shut off when the water pressure dropped below 20 lbs. He showed me how to lift the little lever until the pressure rose to 20 lbs. then it would fill up on it's own. When I cringingly asked him how much I owed him for the call, he pondered a couple minutes and said, "$42.80." I was almost giddy when I got my checkbook. For $42.80, I had learned how deep my well was (very), how much water I had (not much), how they hit sulfur (surprise, surprise), how cheap Chinese parts were killing his business, how I should not let myself be talked into something I didn't need (new gauge), and how he thought the place looked like I really cared about it. Keith is now on speed dial.