(Letters From Kalien)

We have now lived a rather isolated and contrarian life in the mountains for one month. The stories are plentiful and some are painfully funny. Perhaps the best way to illustrate them is to list a few things we realize we’ve taken for granted.

1) Hot water. The 240 square foot well worn RV in which we are living does not have hot water. The heater is broken. A splash in the face each morning with ice cold mountain water is invigorating to say the least. Washing dishes with cold water leaves much to be desired (pardon the pun). And there is the slight matter of a hot shower each day after hot sweaty work such as cutting firewood and clearing the land.

Fortunately, a new invention provides a fun alternative. The Eccotemp Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower has been a miracle for us. I didn’t believe it would work despite the amazing reviews, and in fact, the first one we received did not. It was defective. But customer support promptly sent another and presto—hot water! You could hear the Hallelujah Chorus echoing throughout the mountains that night after eleven days without a shower.

2) Washer and Dryer. After wearing and smelling the same clothes for several days (especially with all the rain and mud this very wet spring), we had no choice but to seek out a laundromat (my Mom calls it a washateria). One of my most hated memories as a child was wasting away beautiful sunny days while sitting for hours at a smelly dank washateria.

Let’s just say things have not changed. Except the prices. Having no cash, I blearily stumbled over to a change machine with only a $20 bill. Thinking I would get a $10 bill and two $5’s, imagine my shock when the machine began noisily dispensing twenty dollars worth of quarters. In Las Vegas, everyone would have applauded, but the distinctly ethnic clientele just stopped their chatter and gaped at me. In the “you could hear a pin drop” silence that suddenly pervaded the establishment, I almost threw up my hands and yelled “jackpot”, but I somehow realized that would have been rude and thoughtless.

While $20 did not seem like much to me with my pampered and entitled past, I realized to most of the people present, it was a full day’s hard manual labor.

As I said, some things never change. I still hated the washateria.

After telling this story to one of our new acquaintances from down the creek, she asked why we didn’t just hook up a washer out at the back of our RV. Gina and I asked in surprise, “You can do that?” Said neighbor went on to school these two tenderfoot mountain dwellers, “Sure, you can. Just get a used washer, find an old extension cord and water hose, wash your clothes, and then dry them on a clothesline.”


Created by Randy Elrod

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