I have been worried about my well pump for more than a year. It has been running constantly; I would hear a quiet hiss when I passed it. Yes, I know that this is bad for the pump. I was told by Damon. I was told by my contractor. I was told by my electrician. However when I called the well company last summer I was told it would cost $400 merely to send a man out to assess the problem, and over $2000 to replace the pump and in-well tank. I didn’t have $2500+ and it was not yet a crisis — and I was dealing with so many crises at the time. I pushed the pump problem to the back of my mind.
However it remained on my list, so yesterday I forced myself to call the company again. The original owner has retired, but his office manager, Cathy, still has my file from 2008, when they drilled the farm well. Again she went over the chilling litany of probable expense, and reminded me that they do not take credit cards. Feverishly I ran through scenarios in my mind, juggling dollars. I did not want to have a water failure in January at 30° below zero.
My mind stuck at the $400 charge to come out. Could a local electrician fix it? Not likely. Another well company? The other well company was only ten minutes closer. I was too far from everyone.
“We hardly ever get calls to your town,” Cathy said regretfully. “Though, actually, I have someone up there today.”
“Would it be possible for your guy to stop by to look at my well, while he’s up here — just to diagnose the problem?”
“I suppose… but he’s hard to reach. He has terrible cell service.”
“Oh, would you mind trying?”
She agreed. Five minutes later she called me back. “I’m sorry. I can’t reach him. He’s probably already on his way home by now. Or he might just be in a dead zone for service.”
“Really.” I sighed. “Where was he working?”
She paused to look it up, then named the road.
“Oh my goodness, that’s our road! It’s only seven miles long! If he’s still here, he’s five minutes away! Can you tell me the number?”
She gave the number, and the name. The technician had been working at my friend Marie’s house!
I told Cathy I would call her back, then jumped in my truck and drove over. At first sight, my heart dropped. No well truck. Rats. I’d missed him. Backing the truck to turn around, I caught a glimpse of a van behind the house. I jumped out, ran over, and tapped on the passenger window. A teenaged boy rolled it down.
“Cathy has been trying to call you!” I exclaimed to the driver. He was startled but kind. They had just finished work on Marie’s well. I explained the situation and a half an hour later he and the boy were at my house.
Naturally, after two months of drought, it now began to pour. “If we all put on our raincoats,” I joked, “the rain will stop.”
I stayed with them as they took the well cap off and worked to find the problem.
It turned out that a small hose to the pressure gauge had cracked and was spraying water, freezing the gauge with rust and keeping the pump running. The young technician thought the pump itself was fine.
It took two hours to cut out all the bad parts and replace them. The teenager and I were the nurses passing tools and holding hoses, electric wires, and the flashlight as the technician doctored my well.
At last it was done! Marie and her husband, George, drove in just as the tech was packing up his tools. The three of us were damp with rain and smeared with mud and rust. Marie and George, immaculate and smiling, looked like advertising models from another planet. They hugged me anyway.
My well is fixed! $300. I am very lucky. Thank you so much, Marie, George, and the Universe!