I was on my knees at the back fence of my Vermont Street home, in the dirt among mosquitoes and dog-doo, sucking on a dirty hose with my head as low to the ground as I could get it, painfully trying to syphon water from my bathtub to my avocado tree. “What the heck am I doing?” I thought to myself.
My spouse and I have always been conscience of water usage – not running the spigot while brushing our teeth; taking brief showers – but in the current drought this awareness has morphed into guilt anytime water flows from anywhere. Now we save the water from boiling eggs or making pasta so we can irrigate our drought-resistant plants. The dog’s drinking water gets thrown into potted plants. We take only one bath a week and we both take a bath.
I almost lost the avocado tree late last year from neglect, and had to hire an arborist who helped nurse it back to health. If I could just get all that left over tub water to it. I stood up, brushed the dirt from my pants, wiped my mouth, and thought of Plan B: grab a bucket and scoop the water from the tub, carry it up a half flight of stairs over carpet and hardwood, outside over the deck to the trunk of the tree.
I found an upside down bucket that was very dirty. I thought it should be sprayed out, but that requires water. I grabbed a broom and did my best to wipe out the cob webs and leaves. I managed to carry the first load out without spilling too much, although now the tub water had globs of dirt floating in it.
On the second try I noticed that my bucket had a crack in it; it’d take me about 30 trips to get this done. By then I’d need to have the carpet cleaned and get the tub sprayed out. I had somewhere to go. I pulled back my shirt sleeves, aimed my fingers for the drain and, like running a red light or stealing a pack of gum, opened the tub drain. Down the water went.
Plan C: get a new bucket.