We never know the worth of water ’til the well is dry

Our story so far: We acquired hook-ups for electricity, natural gas, heat and wifi in the old Methodist church we plan to turn into our dream home.

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Our next hurdle was like parting the red sea. We needed something close to a miracle. You might think water service would be as easy to get as electricity—register your name, your credit history and your first born with the utility, and voilà, power. Water in a property formerly used as a church is a different story.

The Methodists had been getting unmetered water for the past eighty years (or however long they had indoor plumbing). After all, the church was only in use once a week plus an occasional funeral. Some former members told us a few bachelor pastors in history had actually lived in the church, but they were bathing elsewhere because the bathroom had only a toilet and a sink.

In order for us to get water, we needed a water meter, and by code, the only person who could install a water meter was a plumber licensed in Wisconsin.

This was a trick. Tyler called at least a half-dozen plumbers for this seemingly simple task. If they called him back (a big if), they frequently couldn’t fit us in the schedule until February.


Tyler took to snapping pictures of plumbing vans he happened to drive by in the area and calling the numbers advertised on the side panels. He asked everyone he encountered for referrals.

Finally, two weeks after we closed on the church, a plumber showed up when he said he would and installed a water meter. Now the village allowed us to turn the water on, and look at that, the toilet flushed. This was all well and good, except one couldn’t wash one’s hands because we still didn’t have a bathroom sink (and we wouldn’t be getting one for many more weeks).

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The title of today’s post is a quote from Thomas Fuller, a 17th century English churchman and historian.

Tomorrow: Contractors can be flaky. If you didn’t know. Read about it here.

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