3. This is one hard-water town, Mabel.

Showerhead and pipes in old bathroom
Maybe I could sell it on eBay as a vintage plumbing fixture?

The water here is terrible. Technically, with all the softener chemicals added to it, it’s potable, but I don’t know anyone who drinks it out of the tap. Well, I used to know one person who did. She was a pretty tough cookie; one of my heroes. She also ate apple seeds, cyanide and all. And thrived.

Sediment builds up in all my fixtures and water-gulping appliances. Thick white salty crusty layers coat my dish drainer. The showerhead, old and rusty, plugs up all the time, then the faceplate flies off its stem. I’ve got the original, no-frills wetbath. If I notice the problem before the disc loses its grip, just as water starts to spray out from the perimeter, I can take a nail and a toothpick to open the holes. First I have to unscrew it and clean it with vinegar. This is, unlike rolling canned goods in the kitchen, not my idea of fun, particularly.


I look longingly online at beautiful showerheads that promise a selectable perfect-pressure flow, lit by a soothing palette of colors. With a nice handheld attachment. I’d need a custom-machined adapter of some kind because this one cannot be removed without cutting it off and replacing the pipe with new threads. Since all the water pipes in the house are exposed, this shouldn’t be too hard, but I’m not a plumber. Plumbers are hard to come by in these parts. Most people here try to do their own work. And learn the hard way what not to do. I’m not going to tempt fate. Even if I could find some encouraging You Tube tutorials, I don’t have the tools.

The bathroom door doesn’t fit anymore because of the floor-slope situation. There are big gaps top and bottom and on the sides of the door. It’s homemade out of beadboard. When I was a child visiting here in the summers, it latched. Recently I screwed in a hook and eye to hold it shut to make guests more comfortable. A friend sawed off some of the sides and bottom to make it closeable; too much, unfortunately. So now there are gaps. The hook and eye are too high for the grandkids to use, but at this stage they’re not too picky about privacy. They’re not due for another visit till next summer, so I’m not going to sweat it.

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