Paying the Water Bill

March 7th, 2008

Moving to the country has resulted in some unexpected chores of which I am none too fond.

In order to face these unwieldy, difficult, troublesome chores I have to first, get up my strong.

I put honey in my coffee.  From what I understand this is a simple way to save the world as I am giving underemployed bees a job.

Unfortunately I add regular old half and half from a regular old cow on top of my politically correct honey, thus destroying all my good work.

Never the less, I am drinking this concoction to strengthen myself for the coming task.  For it is time to pay the water bill.

Which means I have to hike way out there, beyond the pond, clear up by the road. Once I get up there I have to root around in the frozen grass for the water meter. Then I have to haul up the heavy metal lid, yank out the spider encrusted insulating foam pad, and attempt to read the meter. Except that I can’t seem to read the meter. It is weird and confusing and complicated.  You are supposed to ignore certain numbers and NOT ignore other numbers and I can’t ever remember which ones are which… so I made the decision a few months ago to just start estimating our water use. Because – IT IS FREEZING and I am not going to go up there and READ THAT STUPID… DUMB… STUPID… METER.

So I wrote a short note to the rural water district saying I was just going to estimate our bill based on our past usage. I explained that the directions for reading the meter were too complex and I couldn’t figure them out so here is my money and look I will even pay a little more… thank you… goodbye.

The rural water district has now responded two times now by sending a fresh set of complicated directions explaining how to read the meter and at the bottom of this set of directions they angrily scrawl out a note IN RED INK stating that I need to read my meter and record the numbers properly.  Between the lines, what they really seem to be saying is that everyone else can read THEIR meters, WHY CAN”T YOU STUPID LADY!!!

So I tried to read the meter again, but got confused and I was kind of shaky and nervous over all that red ink and so my bill looks like this…

It’s all messed up and I still don’t know what numbers to write down.  And you know what – who cares?

When it came time to choose a stamp for the mean people at the rural water district I had pick either the ugly brown liberty bell stamp or the pretty flower stamp.

That’s what you get mean rural water district people.  Ugly bell stamp for you!
That ought to show them!


  • chocolatechic:

    I give all my ugly stamps to bills too!!!

  • chocolatechic:

    I give all my ugly stamps to bills too!!!

  • KathyLikesPink:

    OH my gosh I know exactly what you mean! We live in the country in an old house, and we have propane tanks, as our stove and clothes dryer is gas (no 220 voltage for us).I screw up the propane thing ALL THE TIME. I can’t tell you how many times we have run out of propane and I’ve had to pay extra to have a special delivery (because they only deliver to our small town one day a week and charge you through the nose for it any other day).It drives me NUTS.

  • Julie:

    You go girl! I don’t blame you, that’s crazy they make you read your own meter. As much as I would love to live in the country, I’m a bit too much of a city girl!! LOL

  • Renovation Therapy:

    I’m supposed to read mine too…but it’s in the basement…and it’s GROSS down there. If you don’t report your usage, you just get an estimated bill for water & sewer of $60 quarterly. I don’t know if that’s high or low…I just pay it for the convenience to NOT go into the basement.

  • kssnflwr:

    For a CD and a cup of coffee (minus the honey) I’ll help you figure out how to read that dang thing :)

  • Jenny:

    We (we’re CDW’s next door neighbors) also have a little trouble reading the water meter. For our first year of living here, we’ve only paid when we received a nasty letter…about every two months. They usually include $10 in late fees, but we insanely don’t care, because it keeps us from having to read the meter! I have a nasty letter right now as a matter of fact. My new plan is to pay something each month and let THEM come read the meter once a year or so and tell me what I really owe. Do you think that will work???

  • Maria:

    I’m having a fit, country or not, that you have to read your own meter!! If you worked for the state you’d get paid for that! Do they give you a discount. Never in my born days (and I’ve lived in the country. Well, okay, it was sort of a suburb) and I have NEVER had to read my very own meter. I mean, how much can our municipal personnel ask of us?? That is craziness. Truly. And I’m serious here. Meanwhile, you need some raw milk or cream to go with your honey. Help some cows w/out jobs. And the ugly stamps my bills get? American flags. What does that say about me? Only friends get Northern Lights stamps.

  • Jenni:

    If you read your own meter, how do they know you wrote the right numbers in there? That’s just crazy. I can’t believe there’s no meter reader. We have well water, so there’s no water meter to read, but some guy comes and reads our electric meter even out here in the country. I say write some random numbers in there and pour yourself another cup. Or send them a photo of the meter with the numbers clearly visible and let them figure it out.

  • MissAnna:

    You could always go the (mildly) obnoxious route, take a pic of the meter dials and just send that to them. I don’t know how you’d actually pay your bill though.Maybe if you just start underpaying they’ll send someone out to teach you? We had to read our electricity meter growing up (in the country) but it only had one dial…

  • Alisa:

    Another reason to like you! You get your revenge the exact same way I do! Even down to the ugly stamp.We were considering moving to the country, at least here in CA if we did, we wouldn’t have to ever read our own meters. The water co. would never trust californians that much! We’re always out to get whatever we can for free. I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the fact that gas is $3.99 a gallon right now does it??

  • savannah:

    That’ll show them!!!

  • marye:

    I never heard of them making you read your own meter…wow.I would just tell them I only used a cup.:)

  • Jenny:

    Jenni, you have the right idea…random numbers…plain, ole’ made up numbers! Slightly exagerated, of course, so you’re paying at least what you owe. If that doesn’t work… pleading, cajoling, wishful thinking, the husband into sticking HIS hand in the spider hole every month.

  • Tami:

    why would you have to read your own meter? That is crazy! Your water company is L-A-Z-Y!

  • Nan:

    We have a well, so I don’t have to worry with that, but we do have to read our electric meter, I let my husband do it!!!I agree with Jenni, take a picture and let them tell you what you owe them. I take it they don’t accept on line banking payments? I haven’t used a stamp to mail in a bill in ages, actually the stamps I am in procession of are old, from before they raised the price. Oh well, if you are interested in contests/I have one on my blog all month long, today there is a one day contest that ends at 11:00 tonight, followed by the week long one that ends at midnight. I make purses out of recycled stuff, kind of neat if I do say so myself. I don’t think you have ever visited my blog, but if your curiosity is up, come on over.

  • Sarah H.:

    You call yourself a Western Kansas girl and you’re afraid of a few spiders?!!? Jenny has an excuse ‘cuz she’s from the city. C’mon, put the “Country” in “Country Doctor’s Wife.” Here in Nowhere USA we read our own stinkin’ meters so we don’t have to pay other people to do it. Keeps the costs down for everyone. (I guess that’s their rationale. If you want some stories about RWD #2, put on a pot o’ joe and I’ll be right over.)

  • Marilyn:

    Ah, Rechelle, one more reason to just move the new old farmhouse to Lawrence.I use old “Happy Birthday” stamps (leftover from last year’s birthday party) to pay bills; I figure it confuses the hell out of them. :)By the way, my word verification is “chvvuru,” which sounds like a Punjabi appetizer.