Friday, September 28, 2007

Dry cabins

Part of this blog is for reporting on Fairbanks life, so today we are going to talk about dry cabins. As in, cabins with no running water. There are quite a few around here, and they are for the most part lovely, bright, and well-insulated, and rent is cheap. Many of them are near campus (close enough to walk).

They are ideal housing for students except thatwaitnorunningwater?!? Seriously, call me a snob, but I just couldn't live without running water. I like to wash my hands frequently and cook most meals at home. In fact, I wonder if the inconvenience of cooking and washing up from bottles makes you eat out more, and thereby cancel out what you saved in rent. But there are other motivations to live in dry cabins. For starters, they are far, far more comfortable in every other way (as I said, lovely, bright, etc, etc) than some of the absolute bungholes that apartments in town tend to be. And when I say bunghole, I do mean bunghole! When Dan and I were searching, we actually came across some that had corrugated tin walls. We saw one that had an "extension" built off the back of spray insulation over chicken wire! We saw one with plant life coming through the ground in the living room! Serious bungholes.

So many people live in dry cabins around here that showers are treated like coffee--that is, you can purchase a shower in many places, and your workplace and/or school are expected to give you showers for free. UAF has plentiful free showers for its students, not just at the gym, but in miscellaneous buildings on campus.

So we've covered the kitchen, the showering, and... gee, what else to people use water for? Oh yes, people who live in dry cabins have outhouses. Yup. In fact, our little cabin here has an outhouse, which was used before my landlords (bless their hearts) put plumbing into this place. But last year, we still had to fill our water tank from town every couple of weeks or so. Over the past year, the landlords (bless them!) had a well drilled, so we have water here. But it's still not a transparent water supply that we can just ignore and depend on. We still have to fill the water tank from the well. But of course, now it's just connecting a hose and flipping on a pump, NOT driving to down with a tank, filling up the tank, and then driving back and transfering the water from the mobile tank to the house tank, sometimes multiple times!

It's struck me as rather insane that in the one city in the US where it would be least hospitable to use an outhouse, outhouses are common. To think about it now, if you asked me to use an outhouse in the Bay Area, I'd be shocked at first, but after a while, it wouldn't be a big deal at all. Here... when it's -40 outside... yeah, I would be quite unhappy! I honestly don't know how those guys do it!


B said...

does the water tank freeze?

Arvay said...

It's inside the closet and heated. :)

mudder said...

You asked "How did they do it?" They freeze their butts