Patience, Hot Water and the Mayor

I was told a couple of years ago never to pray for patience, because God would give you the opportunity to be patient.  Since then I have never prayed for patience; I think God has given me plently of situations where I’ve had to be patient (or at least tried).  Well, somebody out there must have prayed for me to have more patience and when I find out who…… 🙂

As you know, I’ve had a hard time getting the apartment set up.  Half of the lights didn’t work, the water meter runs backwards, the gas wasn’t installed and a number of other minor problems.  My frustration with this has just turned into hilarity and a lesson in how this side of Romania works. 

Before going to Oradea last week, I stayed at the apartment for a few nights.  I had to stay here during the day waiting for repair etc.  Well,  I needed  to bathe, but the thought of icey cold water made me shutter.  My mom suggested heating water in the coffee pot, add cold water and a take a bucket bath.  I did this; its not too bad.  And all the floating coffee grounds just added a nice color to my hair.  Lovely.  This could work, but I still wanted running hot water. 

Then I had to go to Oradea where I enjoyed many hot showers!  When I returned, there was still no hot water.  But after driving for 9 hours, I really wanted a bath.  So I took Mihaela’s suggestion, which was to use hot water from the washer machine.  The washer machine is in the bathroom and the draining tube can easily be put into the tube (in fact many romanians do this daily when washing clothes.)  So I set the empty washer to 90′ Celcius and went about unpacking while the washer heated the water.  I didn’t realize the 90′ cycle took over 2 hours, but after about an hour, the power went off.  No kidding.  The power was out for the whole street.  After about 2 minutes, the washer unlocked and I was able to open the door on the front. Some water spilled out, but I was able to scoop out the almost boiling water with a cup and pour it into a wash tub.  I added some cold water and was able, yet again, to have a bucket bath.  An hour and half later the power came back on just as I was falling asleep. 

Two days later, the gas man finally showed up!  Joy of Joys, O happy day!  I could finally cook a hot meal and have a hot bath.  After the gas man left, I realized the Immergas, which provides hot water and the heating in the winter was not plugged in.  No problem, except there was no plug, just bare wires! I called down to the landlord, who shaking his head at his horrible decision to rent to an american, came up to fix it.  Only, he couldn’t.  So he called his father, who happens to be the mayor of Ipotesti, the village/suburb where I live.  Mr. Mayor put the plug on the Immergas and the gas leak alarm and turned on the Immergas.  Hot water at last!

But NO!  The Immergas was installed incorrectly and started leaking.  Mr. Mayor turned on the water and started taking apart the unit.  He turned it on again and water leaked into the computer panel.  He took that apart and  spit on it.  When that didn’t work he started drying the circuit board with an old towel.  While doing all of this,  Mr. Mayor asked if I had a boyfriend, when I said no, he told me there were many fine men in Ipotesti and I would have to make one of them my boyfriend.  Great, Mr. Mayor is not only a repairman, but a matchmaker too!  Mr. Mayor finanly finished drying the unit and put it all back together and plugged it back in.  Surprise, Surprise, it didn’t work.  He told me to leave it for a couple of hours let it dry and later that night I could have a hot bath.  Well, I went to the grocery store and came home and had a hot dinner of tacos!  After dinner, I turned on the immersgas, and it still didn’t work.  I decided that I really wanted a bath, so I tried Mihaela’s washer machine trick again.

I turned on the washer machine and went about tidying and then some Bible study.  I checked on the washer to see if the water was hot and noticed soap suds in the machine.  Then I saw some cleaning rags that I had put in there earlier in the day.  When the water drained, it was hot, but blue.  It was late, after 11pm and I was tired.  So yes, I took a bath in blue water and no my skin did not turn blue.  

Mr. Mayor returned the next evening and took apart the immergas, spit on it some more and declared that he could not fix it.  The next morning (yesturday), he returned with a repairman who declared the computer unit needed to be replaced.  This would happen either in the afternoon or the next day.  I was meeting with some people in the evening and wanted to clean up before going.  I went back to the coffee pot method of bathing, much easier.

Finally, this morning, another repairman showed up with the Matchmaking Mayor and fixed the immergas and I have hot water!  The water was a nice yellowish brown going through the pipes for the first time, but it was hot. I let the water cycle through a bit and  I took a hot bath and feel like a million bucks!

I did realize something through all of this.  The families in Stroiesti don’t have running water and have to get water from the well using a bucket.  When they want a bath, they have to heat the water on the stove and take a bucket bath.  Had the hot water been working from the begining, I wouldn’t have ever taken a bucket bath, but now I have a better idea of some of the struggles the families in the village have.  But I’ll still take the hot running water, thank you very much.

9 Responses

  1. I love the story … especially the matchmaker bit.

  2. Dear Melissa,

    Remind me to tell you how I used to take a bath when I was a child in London. I had almost forgotten the tub in front of the fire or having to walk to the public baths on a Saturday to bathe, so I would be clean for Sunday morning services.

    Thanks for reminding me and giving me the chance, like you, to be so grateful and offer thanks for all we have.

    Your prayers and great humor will see you through.

    Aunt Ami

  3. You have a roof over your head and gas to cook with….You will need to practice your cooking skills for all the men the mayor will be bring by to meet you. It is good to know there is a Romanian Uncle Mel there to find you a mate. Just remember why you are there and rinse the grines out of the coffee pot before you heat up the water. Love you sweet.

  4. Dear Melissa,
    I chuckled all through your story. I do believe you were meant to experience the trials of obtaining hot water as it helped to further develop those patience skills and gave you the opportunity to meet Matchmaker Mayor. :>)
    Most Americans have no idea how fortunate (and spoiled) we are with the many conveniences we take for granted. I wonder how many of us, when counting our blessings, think to be thankful for running water, let alone HOT running water. God bless you as you continue to do His work as there is no doubt you are where He wants you to be. Thanks for sharing the trials and tribulations of your daily life. I truly love living vicariously through you.

  5. We love reading your adventures. Maybe someday you can write a book of your stories. Laney and I pray for you and the children whose lives you touch nightly. God bless.

    Perry, Emily, Laney and Kiah Allen

  6. This is a great story! However, I find it hard to believe that spitting on the computer didn’t work. This method has been found to be almost full-proof. Also, when your mother suggested taking a coffee pot bath perhaps you should have cleaned out the pot first and then use it to fill the bath but perhaps hair that smells like coffee is appealing to Romanians but I wouldn’t know. We miss you!

  7. Aaaahhhh, eastern european livin’!!! Thank you, Lord, for the hot shower I just took. Great eye opener to what so many of your neighbors in the village go through. Love you!!

  8. Just to clarify, I did clean out the coffee pot before using it to make hot water and I took out the coffee filter, however, because I use a reusable filter (yeah environment), the coffee filter basket gets extra coffee grounds in it and while I do wipe it out, its impossible to get all the grounds out. But I don’t need to worry now, because I have lovely hot (even if its yellowish brown) water now!

  9. hi melissa, i’m sorry you had such a struggle, but honestly i was cracking up!! the LORD does have a sense of humor and you do too. i shall think of you everytime i have coffee.
    we are sooooooo spoiled…we’ll await news from Mr. Mayor, a/k/a matchmaker…

    love to YOU!!

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