In case I didn’t mention it all the months ago when I arrived in Jordan, the city water pipes of Amman only run once a week. What day of the week it happens on depends on what part of town you’re in, and in the case of the cafe it’s Wednesday. I thought that we had taken care of all of our plumbing requirements first when Pat hooked up the hot water heater, and then when Abu Eid installed the new sink, but I discovered tonight while I was making burritos for some friends that we had completely run out of water. Why? The two 200 gallon tanks on the roof were somehow, mysteriously empty.

This being Tuesday night, I said to myself, “no problem, I can stick it out for a half day without the water, I’ll just get my shower at 1 in the morning or so, when the pipes activate at midnight and I can fill the tanks a little and heat some water.” I checked it expectantly at half past midnight, expecting to see the bottoms of the tanks filled with sweet my’ee (water) and ready for me to activate the heater. There was no water. The hose leading from the spigot outside wasn’t even dripping and all was completely, horribly silent.

So at around one  in the morning, I find myself on the roof, banging around with a wrench and screwdriver that I had found in the house and shed, trying to figure out what the problem was. It turns out that there is some sort of problem with the water-measuring device, a flotation device like in a toilet that can tell when the tank has gotten full enough to stop before overflowing. It has apparently been stuck in the “full” position for at least a few weeks, because without Philip here there’s no way that I can be using 400 gallons of water a week. That would be insane, even for my pleasurably long showers (which I’ve gotten better at weaning myself off of in this water-poor country). I knocked it around for a good hour, pulling on it and trying to release its connector from the pipe inside the tank.

I couldn’t figure it out though. What with the 2nd EGT graduation being tomorrow, I knew that I needed to have a shower for class tomorrow so that I could look my best, since I’d be wearing nice clothes and be posing for a million pictures with my students and IRD. Most worrying to me was that if I didn’t get this fixed in the next 22 hours, the water would shut off in the city pipes to me at exactly midnight the following night and I’d be completely without water for an entire week. There are water trucks that drive around the city, preying on situations exactly like that with their long powered pump hoses for roof tanks, but I didn’t want to find out how much those charge. We’ve needed to use them at the Ayn Al Basha office before, but that’s with 200 students to take care of instead of one resident.

So I came up with a simple solution – run a second hose up to the roof, stick it into the top of the tank, and just monitor it to make sure it wouldn’t overflow. It took another 15 minutes to find a hose that was either a) long enough or b) not filled with holes, but finally I had the length I needed, and it was a simple process. Except that the attachment is a tension/pressure instead of screw nozzle, which means that it blows off unexpectedly and the spigot blasts water all over the ground until I hear the noise and run downstairs to shut it off.

So I just got my shower now, at 4 in the morning. Hopefully, Galen and Ghalib, Philip’s plumber friend, can take care of this issue within the next 20 hours, or I’ll just have to hope that I can get the tanks filled properly from the hose this week. At least I know that I can go to graduation in 5 hours smelling like a neatly-showered rose instead of a greasy wahhsh (monster) that stumbled out of the woods.