Back in the old house in Ames Avenue, the “central bathroom” was down the back of the house, next to the kitchen. The spot where the microwave oven lived was only about 3 metres from the shower. And the microwave we had at the time included a countdown timer. So when water restrictions came in and everyone was encouraged to have four minute showers, we were sorted: the microwave counter would be set to four minutes, the showerer would jump in, and a beep would go off when the time was up.
This winning combination was lost when everything changed.
Since moving (I can’t believe it’s over three years ago now), the kitchen is further from the bathroom. The microwave got upgraded to a model I didn’t choose, which has no countdown timer. We got a kitchen timer, but it’s useless for showering because it doesn’t beep just once when it reaches zero, it keeps beeping. And in fact after about ten seconds, the steady constant beep (which is annoying enough) gets really shrill and urgent (and thus even more annoying).
That’s no good for the shower; you’d (a) kill yourself trying to get to it to press the button to switch it off, and (b) get water into the works, breaking it.
The microwave shares similar beeping attributes. It beeps when it’s finished cooking. Then if you don’t attend to it, it beeps again after about a minute. It keeps doing it.
Both the microwave and the timer thus nark me somewhat. BLOODY MACHINE, I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME. I’M BUSY DOING SOMETHING ELSE. JUST SHUT UP, I’LL GET TO YOU IN A MINUTE.
So anyway, with no effective shower timer, I’d noticed everyone’s showers getting a little longer. Not super-excessive — the water bill still indicates we’re pretty damn water-efficient — but certainly longer than four minutes.
Then I spotted a deal for a free shower timer in the newspaper. Just go to their web site and fill in your details and they’ll send it to you. (It has to be a Victorian address.)
Fantastic! I filled it in.
A few days later it arrived in the post.
It’s an hour glass. Well, a four-minute-glass, to be precise.
Ahh. This is not quite what I had in mind. I’m not saying it won’t work, but I had foolishly assumed it’d be some kind of electronic beeping device. You know, that gives you an audible alarm.
Obviously an hour glass has to be watched. Whether that’ll work for people or not, I don’t know. I guess we’ll give it a try and see what happens.
If it’s no good, I’ll seek out an electronic one. Though I won’t go to the extremes of this device, which actually stops the water.
(For my future reference: These are for $20 — but need to make sure they beep only once!)