A few mornings ago, after three loads of laundry, the water ran out again.
I ran downstairs to start the pump and send water up from our lower reservoir to our tank on the roof, and wouldn’t you know it… once again, the pump refused to cooperate.
Though I brought out my cross-stitch floss, some heavier thread, my wrenches and even an old rubber washer I had saved from some previous auto repairs (it fit the primer valve plug perfectly!), my efforts were all in vain. Regardless of my chanting, cussing and even my imitation of Fred Flintstone’s famous muttering (“Brickin, brackin, bricken, brackin…”) the grumpy jinn in the pump just couldn’t be exorcized.
Oh ~ how my pride hurt! My gut told me the problem was not with the primer valve ~ but with the stopper valve at the base of the pipe submerged in the reservoir itself. Upon moving in to our rental place almost 3 years ago, the valve spring had been rusted. As a result, water would not remain in the pipe when the pump was stopped and an air-bubble would then keep water from being sucked up when the pump was reactivated.
Enter into the scene my trusted friend Sarwardeen, a talented gardener, electrician, plumber and dashing poet. As a young man in his village, Sarwardeen apprenticed to learn is trades, giving him a wealth of practical knowledge that I was denied as a young man in North America ~ where young minds and hands are class-room confined and text-book tethered. So tragic to see youth bombarded with book facts, brainwashed to think exam scores equal mental capabilities and taught to shoot for the moon ~ with nobody really knowing what the hell to do with it it once they get there. Two years my junior however, behind his dark eyes and handsome features, Sarwardeen thinks ~ then acts ~ with the methodical wisdom of an old sage. After just a few moments, he had discerned what it had taken me several days to deduce: that the problem was with the stopper valve in the reservoir and not with the striped primer valve on the pump itself (which, it turns out, I had threaded quite substantially…pat to my own back.)
Together Sarwardeen and I broke the cement around the line from the pump to the water tank, retrieved the pipe from the reservoir, removed the stopper valve and immediately saw our “jinn“. A piece of string had found its way into the valve and was twisted around the internal spring ~ lodging it open and thus making the valve inactive.
Sarwardeen cleaned the valve, replaced the piping and I mixed up the cement to re-position and secure the pipes. My daughter drew her initials into the wet cement, Sarwardeen and I enjoyed some chai with cake and the water flowed once again. All was again at peace in the universe, just in time for another two loads of laundry.