To the outhouse

This is our eighth day of having only a semi-functional toilet in our house.

Thus far, I’ve refrained from writing about this, because most likely no one wants to read about a broken toilet.  But I think I’m on the verge of having post traumatic stress flashbacks to our early days of living in a small hotel room here in Vienna.  This is completely different — we had functional bathrooms in both of our temporary apartments – but for some reason it brings me right back to that sense of transience and instability.

Our toilet isn’t actually broken.  It works just fine.  But in order for a toilet to perform as required, it must have access to water, and the water can’t get to it, because the supply pipe is frozen.  And has been, since last Friday morning.  We haven’t had a temperature above freezing here in about 2 1/2 weeks, which is unusually cold, even for Vienna.  The insulation in the attic (I don’t know why the water comes in via the attic) is apparently insufficient for this kind of cold.

We have only one bathroom in our apartment, so you can imagine how this might be a problem.  On the plus side, I’ve never been so grateful that Benjamin isn’t yet using the potty.

We can pour water into the tank ourselves, which, of course, we’ve been doing (what would be the alternative?) but the design is very strange and the toilet tank is actually BEHIND the tile of the bathroom wall, which makes all of this even more difficult than it would otherwise be.  Like when we first arrived here, it’s no big deal to ”rough it” for a little while.  But at some point, carrying your own water with you to the bathroom gets very old.  That point was about 3 days ago.

They can fix it, and they assure us that they will.  The only way they can get to the pipe to fix it is through the roof . . . and it isn’t safe to go up on the roof with the snow and ice that’s up there, so they have to wait for the temperatures to get above freezing.  Of course, at that point, we won’t actually have a problem anymore.  (Until the next time it’s below freezing for over a week.  Have I mentioned that we live in Vienna?)  We have friends coming to visit next Friday.  I imagine they’d like to use the toilet without having to bring their own water.  I hope they get to.

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