Wednesday, January 28, 2015

our well saga ~ and small changes in the kitchen

 We have lived in our house for almost 25 years. There are still so many things we want
and need to do both inside and out, but that's another story for another day. We like the
area we live in...a small town about 45 miles northwest of a major city. But the one 
drawback has been having a private well instead of city water. Sure, we don't have a
water bill - that's a positive. But with all the maintenance, upkeep and repairs that a well
requires, we don't feel it's worth it. Not to mention getting used to the taste and odor of the
water when we both grew up with city water. The taste of the water is fine when the water
system is working right. We keep our drinking water in a Brita pitcher in the refrigerator.

Lately, our water has smelled funky and I could even tell it had a different "feel"
to it. Thinking it was our water softener, we had the guys from the water softener
company come out a couple of times to check things out. They said the water softener
was fine and suggested perhaps it was the water heater. Nope, that's new. We put
more salt in the tank for the water softener and set it for an extra cycle. Didn't make a
difference in the water. So we finally called a well company. Long story short, it turned
out to be a pressure leak in the tank bladder. And the tank had standing, stagnant water
 in it (which our house water was going wonder our water was awful!). There's
not supposed to be any water in the  tank. The shut-off valve was leaking, too. So, we 
ended up having to get a new tank, valve, pressure switch and gauge, and have the
well shocked/chlorinated.

Not only did this set us back a pretty penny (we won't be getting our fireplace surround
and mantle after all), but we didn't have any water for over 24 hours. Once your well is
chlorinated, you can't run any water for 18-24 hours. And then the real fun begins.
First thing this morning, Brian had to hook up hoses to all four outside spigots and 
let the water run for a couple of hours into the street. Not fun hooking up hoses when
it's 17 degrees and there's snow on the ground. Once that was done, we then had to
start indoors. The tub had to run until the chlorine smell was gone. Then the shower.
Then the bathroom sink. Then flushing the toilet several times. Then on to the next
 bathroom. The kitchen. The downstairs laundry tub. The washing machine had to be
run without any clothes in it. Then the dishwasher had to be run without any dishes in it.

Of course, it wasn't that simple. From well water sitting for 24 hours and then being run
"fresh" again, sediment then comes through all the faucets. Which means all the little
screens on all the faucets and shower heads had to come off. Sinks and tubs had to
 be cleaned out and scrubbed. Same with the toilets. For whatever reason, the water going
 into the washing machine still looks dirty after five go-arounds. Poor Brian had taken the
 hoses and screens off and cleaned the out each and every time. We have finally given up
 for the night. After all, Brian does have to get some sleep. He gets up at 3:45 a.m. for work!
 He is going to call the well company in the morning to ask them about the washing
 machine. Another concern is that if there's still chlorine in the water and I take my
 shower tomorrow morning and wash my hair, because my hair is color-treated, will my hair
 turn orange?! I'm now so paranoid of that happening that I think I will just take a bath
 tomorrow morning instead and leave my hair alone. If I have greasy hair for a day, so be it. 

 I don't want this post to be all Debbie Downer-like, so on to more cheerful stuff.
I bought a new rug from Target for the kitchen, but it didn't look good in here, so
it's now in the living room where it looks better. I'll show that to you at another time.
I'm just leaving the area around the table bare for now. I'm actually kind of liking the
no-rug look. I took the too-modern teak chairs from around the kitchen table, put
them in the storage space in the basement, and brought up two of the more country
style chairs. I painted one of them white last year but only did one coat. And it needs
another. So yes, it's only half-painted. That seems to be the story of my life with stuff 
around the house...half done. ;-) But I can see by having the white(ish) chair at the table,
 that it looks so much better than the brown. Especially in a kitchen that already has a
lot of brown. And yes, I know my tablecloth needs ironing. With all the other
stuff going on right now, don't care! Not on my "important things to do" list right now.

 More little changes...I took down that formal painting with the red frame that my aunt gave
me and good thing I did. When I took it down, I discovered the nail it was hanging on
 was almost ripped out of the wall. That painting would've fallen at any time. And  it was
 heavy. With glass on the front. That would've broken the lamp on the table beneath 
the painting, plus the glass in the painting itself. I also took the white stool with the plant on 
it out of the kitchen and moved a chair into that place.

"Before" pic with the painting and the white stool (not that there's anything wrong with
this "before" pic...I actually like it better than the after! But sometimes things have to
be moved around):

 "After" pick with a piece of canvas art that had been in that place for years and
a blue chair from the living room. Why the blue chair? Well, that new rug that I
 bought for the kitchen is also a bright blue. But a little bit of a different shade of
blue than the chair. So the chair and the rug totally clashed. The chair can be used
as extra seating at the table. Oh - and that bright neon-yellow doorway you see in
the background? That is the doorway that goes downstairs. The walls are not that
vivid yellow! I don't know if it's my camera or what, but in person the walls are much

As frustrating as today has been, I know that this too shall pass and that next time
I "talk" to you all, our water problems will be over. I hope. Positive thinking!  


  1. Funny, I hit my blog roll and there you were!

    Gosh...I'm so sorry, and really amazed at all this work your well has involved. In spite of having had the well at the lake for so many years, I always left that up to A, and the talk was totally foreign to me. He learned from the locals how to deal with it. I was going to ask you if you had an alternative for drinking water. We used bottled or gallon jugs of water of it at the lake, I sometimes saved plastic juice bottles, filled them with water here in Chicago and brought them up on weekends. Then we got a water cooler... bad idea. It sat for many weekends when we weren't there. Ooh, stale water. We have a Brita here, just because all of our plumbing and pipes are so old.

    Well, I hope it all works out. And I love the changes you've made. You sound like me...if something doesn't work in one room, try it in another. I love your kitchen, I never saw it from this have a lot of counter space for all that good cooking!

    Jane xxx

    1. The talk about wells isn't foreign to me at all...I guess because I've lived here for such a long time and the well is part of our home/property. Our water is finally fine and dandy today. I even tasted it from the tap - not even filtered through the Brita pitcher - and it tastes wonderful. Very clear and no odor. Hooray! I didn't realize you never saw my kitchen from that area. Yes, I do have a lot of counter space. I just need to get rid of that huge microwave (all we use it for is to heat up leftovers or my coffee as it gets cold sitting in my mug) and get one installed above the stove. That will free up that small space of counter where the big micro now sits.

  2. Oh my goodness, that is a saga. Sorry you've been dealing with this. We're on city water here and I'm very glad. It's not perfect and we have to use a Brita pitcher for drinking water too - mainly because of the chlorine and mineral sediment. I got so tired of having a layer of scum on top of my cup of tea. Blah. And I can always tell when they've flushed the lines and put chlorine in, it smells like bleach throughout the house for a week even if I haven't used any. We have very hard water here but water softeners are fairly unusual in this area, I guess people just live with it. I do like soft water better myself. I hope your water issues are settled for good now. Your kitchen looks very nice! I love that blue chair and your tablecloth is so pretty. I hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Drinking water is a tricky thing, isn't it? Guess it doesn't matter where you live. Thanks for the compliments on my kitchen. You have a wonderful weekend, as well!

  3. Hi Melanie, your well problem sounds horrible and I am sorry.
    I always worried about our well when we lived in th country but we never had any real problems, once lightening struck the pump, exactly 1 month before the 5 year warranty expired and the seller replaced it free.
    Our well was different from yours though, no holding tank, it came straight up.

    About the comments on my blog, I went to blogger because j could not comment on some blogs without using it. My comments just never appeared. I would much prefer to use something else but I can't figure it out. What settings do you use?

    1. That is too weird about lightning striking your well pump - but the positive was that it was right before the warranty expired! As for the blog comments, I don't remember exactly what settings I use (I went into my layout/dashboard and couldn't find it), but my blog is not connected to Google+. I've never had a problem commenting on anyone's blog though.

  4. Wow! We have our first well with our new little country home and we know nothing about wells. A lot about living in the country, we are learning as we go. Your well story gave me the creeps . . . as in what might be waiting around the corner for us. Well, I am just not going to worry about it until it happens. Then I might be emailing you with questions about what we should do :)
    I hope that your water will soon be better and taste fine.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Connie :)

    1. Oh dear, Connie - wells can be tricky things! I don't mean to scare you, but I suppose it's best to be aware that problems can happen. Finally - today - we're all good with the water.

  5. Oh, Melanie, I sincerely hope all is better as I type, re: your well saga! I like the new print in the kitchen, and I never noticed your beautiful wood floors before! What I DID notice is your Billy Collins and Robert Frost works in your little pile of books. I love these two poets; have been collecting Billy Collins for about two years now, and studied Robert Frost in university. Have you had these for a while or are they new?

    Happy weekend!


    1. Yes, I've had those poetry books for a long time now! Two of my favorite poets (Collins and Frost) besides Mary Oliver. My oldest son, Phil used to love me or my mom read him Robert Frost poetry when he was little. He'd lie on the couch with his feet up in my lap, just relaxing as I read the poetry to him. :-)

  6. Hi Melanie; If it doesn't rain it pours! I am so sorry to hear of your well problems, we had a well years ago and it was a lot of work. Sure was glad when city water came thru. I love where you put the blue chair, it looks so much better there in my opinion. I couldn't find your email address so I commented on your first post about the monkeys, hope you get it! Hope things will run smoother from now on! Love and hugs, Nana

    1. I wasn't too sure about the blue chair, so I'm glad to hear someone likes it there. My email address is in my profile (right-hand side of my blog, near the top). Yep, did get your comment about the monkeys!

  7. You had mentioned before that you had well water. And I was thinking: But they live in town. I didn't realize that that could happen I guess.

    1. Oh, yes - it's common out here in these smaller towns or in unincorporated areas to have a well.

  8. So annoying for you about the water. At least it is fixed - in terms of the tank and so on - but how annoying for you about the washing machine and so on. I hope that is sorted very soon and that you can get back to drinking and washing and so on as normal. I am very glad for mains water - and drains! xx

    1. I just did a new post - things are better - and I think just about fixed. I hope!

  9. Gosh I never realize well water could be such a hassle? I do remember my aunts live in Indiana on a large lot, where they were holding their daughters wedding, a few days before their whole well had to be replaced, such a mess and what stress it caused them. I hope you get all the water flushed out soon. I also like your changes to your kitchen, moving things from room to room can create a whole new like besides fitting better. Have a great weekend Mel!

    1. Oh yes, having well water is definitely a hassle. And can be a huge expense when things go wrong. Glad you like the changes in my kitchen. Happy weekend!

  10. I had to live without running water two years ago when the plumber ripped the pipe that goes from Cottage to the city system... Fun memories! I understand how frustrating it is, especially when you wanted to use the money for funnier things!


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