By Monday afternoon, we had our water back. By Monday evening, we had lost our heat. Early Christmas morning, I awoke to find that we had no water again, but - and this is a big but - I was able to prime the pump and get it flowing once more. Merry Christmas! 
     By Thursday morning, our hot water heater was no longer making hot water - something to do with the tank not being full enough to submerge the upper heating element. Luckily, we still get hot water from a separate tank out in our guest house, but it means trekking out there and back in the icy chill, sporting wet hair on the return trip. 
           Meanwhile, we keep our house barely above 60 degrees with a round the clock wood stove vigil. For the last 4 nights, I've slept on the couch so I can feed the fire every two hours, and that's where I'll stay until January when I have enough money to hire a handyman to come in and fix everything that can be fixed.

Update: January 13, 2014

Our furnace was 27 years old, which in furnace years turns out to be, well, dead. Thirty-five hundred dollars would have us back in heat and have me back upstairs in my bed instead of sleeping on the couch so I can feed the hungry fire all night, but short of my someone helping us out, or finding way more bottles and cans in the recycling container than I imagined, that isn't likely to happen. 
     My three kids, barely young adults, have taken it mostly in stride, There's been the occasional seethe and the amused wondering if someone has put a hex on our house, but all in all, they've been my heroes, and it breaks my heart to have them trapped in the chaos of my failure.       
     Ooh baby, it's cold outside! The temperature fell on Thursday night and so did the snow, blanketing our world outside with millions, billions, even trillions of one of a kind (so they say) snowflakes.  My three 18 year olds pulled out their ski clothes, bundled up, and along with several of their friends, entered the winter wonderland right outside our door. Until the sun set and even a few minutes longer, they sledded, built snow men, snow ladies, snow hockey players, and even snow polar bears. Reveling in the fun of it all, they tracked slush in and out and back into my house and left piles of damp clothing on my wood floors. Not finished yet, they struck out the next morning with renewed vigor to enjoy a freshly fallen layer of snow. 
     But, nothing being purely one thing or another, that cold-enough-to-snow weather turned dastardly, and sometime in the wee hours between Saturday and Sunday as the temperature plummeted to a measly 4 degrees, our pipes froze and the housing of our well pump cracked, leaving us without water. 
     Yes siree, 10 days without running water. But, thanks to the kindness of family and friends, we were able to shower every few days and to lug home bottles of water for drinking and brushing our teeth. Paper plates, pizzas, and pot pies kept us fed, if not satisfied, and we even managed to keep our Christmas tree from dying of thirst. Still, our spirits waned as the days wore on; the reality of 4 adults, 2 toilets, and an assortment of other numbers, was, well, you do the icky math.
     Hallelujah! One week before Christmas, the plumber arrived and fixed 4 burst pipes, restoring our water. That night, we bathed, we showered, we ran the dishwasher, washed the clothes, and gratefully used water in all the ways we had before taken for granted.
     Then, 24 hours later, it was gone, gushing from some busted pipe we couldn't see. 
     Now, we wait for our plumber with more anticipation than children wait for Santa Claus, hopeful that on Monday, 2 days before Christmas, we'll have the early gift of water.


KarenGrace Reflections of an Invisible Woman