The benefits of indoor plumbing

2016-10-05-08-39-09I love to start my morning with a steaming cup of coffee, don’t you? I stumble down the stairs, still half asleep, resolutely headed to the kitchen and the carafe of elixir my husband has gloriously brewed earlier in the morning… While I slept.

Poor Rose. Such is not the life for her.

First, it would be her task to get the coffee started. Which would include:

  • Getting the wood stove lit
  • Pumping water outside and carrying it indoors – no matter how flippin’ cold it was outside, maybe even having to unfreeze the pump to get the water going
  • Setting a pot on the stove to boil… after the wood stove was going good
  • Follow any of a number of procedures on making the perfect cup of brew (publications of the time are rife with suggestions, like this newspaper article on making good coffee) while she gets hubby’s breakfast started

And all that is just for the first cup of coffee!

After that cup, when the coffee does what it does to one’s digestive system (you know… don’t make me actually name it), poor Rose would have to run outside to the privy. Or worse, use a chamber pot… which then would have to be washed. Ewww.

Her day has barely started, and already I’m exhausted. But she has more to do.

After she cooks breakfast, she’ll have to wash dishes. So, out to the pump she goes for more water that must be heated and then another bucket she can use for rinsing. If she’s fortunate, Harold has rigged a plug in the dry sink that lets the used water drain outside. If not, she gets to haul the dirty dishwater outside, too.

Assuming it’s Monday, she has laundry (that’s another post all on its own). Ugh! Awful even today. But, thankfully, no lugging of water required.

Then she must wash vegetables for supper -> haul water.

Or getting ready to can produce -> haul water.

Or mopping the floors -> haul water.

Even just washing her face or hands… Yep, hauling more water.

So far today, I’ve turned on the tap or otherwise used indoor plumbing ten times. And it’s not lunch yet. I’m so happy I don’t have to haul water or go out to a pump, each time.

I bet Rose has some awesome biceps. No doubt, though, she sometimes wishes she still lived with Mummy. Servants. Indoor plumbing.

If you suddenly found yourself in Rose’s situation–living beneath the means you had grown up with–what item of luxury would you miss most? And would it be worth trading for the person you loved?

3 thoughts on “The benefits of indoor plumbing

  1. Zan Marie says:

    And that’s why my mother’s family celebrated the indoor pump over a sink that drained outside. I’d be crazy before breakfast at this rate!


  2. I love thinking about stuff like this. Especially when I’m thirsty and I turn on the tap and all this good-tasting water comes out. Or when I’m brushing my teeth and forget to turn off the water as I brush, and I feel super guilty.
    I suppose people had to make a lot more choices back then. Use the last of the sugar for breakfast muffins or save it for a special occasion? Wear the stockings one more time or wash them, knowing they’ll take long to dry? Trade the wool for cloth to make plain working clothes or for cheese and sausages?
    Some things seem easier and some more difficult in a trade (vs cash) economy…


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