Last updated: February 16. 2013 5:25PM - 368 Views

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Remember when water was free?

Well, sort of?

Neither do I, but I do remember when it was kinda-sorta cheap. When it didn't cost an arm and leg to drink the sustainer of life – or wash the dishes, clothes or body. Now, well, let's just say the envelope that carries the water bill is just one of the unpredictables that make me cringe each month.

Sometimes its arrival even calls for an examination of conscience.

How many times in the past month have I:

• Not turned off the water while brushing teeth?

• Washed a half-load of dishes because I wanted to put favorite glasses or coffee mugs back in the rotation more quickly?

• Took too long in the shower for no good reason? (Side note: Did you know a prisoner gets three minutes and the whistle blows and it's out, now? A corrections staffer recently told me that, and for some reason it fascinated me. Enough to keep me on the straight and narrow anyway.)

Well, regardless, a recent realization/revelation prompts me to share – and seek commiseration. I think it's all but official anyway: I now pay more per month to Pennsylvania American Water for extras and add-ons than I do for actual, good old-fashioned H2O. So let's call the "water" bill a misnomer.

Case in point: Almost half my bill goes toward insurance, the purchasing of the peace of mind of knowing that if water ends up in places it doesn't belong or should other water-related mishaps occur, I'm covered. If pipes clog or burst, if rain issues from the ceiling, if I leave the hose out too long and Old Man Winter tells me what he thinks of that … (OK, maybe not that sort of neglect.)

Anyway, you might have heard this little rant before, but now I want to let you in on a little secret: Nothing's going to happen. Why? Because I'm paying for all this insurance.

Make it stop! Please, someone …

'Tis what I told myself when considering whether it made sense to add to my prized papers collection some coverage for this mine-subsidence business. (The subject's made headlines lately. Been paying attention? We even published a little map.)

"Do you live in the zone?" someone asked me. Of course. Seems I live in "the zone" for everything. As if residing in Lady Susquehanna's crosshairs isn't enough, now I find out this dandy domicile also stands in a part of town where the earth apparently can suddenly open up and swallow it.

Maybe swallow us, too. (In which case, who needs insurance?)

Smart people wouldn't talk like that, I know. Especially when the price is right. That seemed the consensus. But you know what? I think I'm drawing the line. Rolling the dice, as it were.

I'd say enough is enough, but I won't say there isn't other coverage I'd consider, if anyone's offering.

Garbage-disposal insurance. (I swear I put not so much as a single potato peel in it this time, and still … ) Plant insurance. (If it dies, carrier will revive or replace, no questions asked.) Laundry insurance. (If it shrinks, stretches, rips or otherwise goes amok, carrier takes me shopping.) Shoe insurance. (If they feel great in the store but five days later I can't walk in them, I get two new pairs, one as compensation for the bait and switch.)

I could go on but won't. The point is I really would pay decent money to protect against all these eventualities, but mine subsidence? Eh …

Oh, who am I kidding? I know me. I'll cave eventually. (Get it, cave?) Suddenly, I have this sinking feeling …

Reach Sandra Snyder, the editor of At Home, at 831-7383 or ssnyder@timesleader.com.

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