The landlord showed up yesterday afternoon while my roommate was at home. ("The landlord" usually includes both the landlord and his wife; they are a package deal. He makes nice conversation with lots of big gestures, and she laughs at our bad Spanish.) They explained that the meter man had called because the water meter was running incessantly. After examining the house and being convinced that we were, indeed, not flooding, they figured that perhaps something was leaking underground--maybe where the pool used to be.
(Yes, our back patio once housed a pool. That was before they covered it up with wood. It's just as well--I've heard that the swimmers who utilized it most were rats, and they usually had such delightful little swims that they just stayed in the pool until they drowned. Really, I'm okay with the wooden floor.)
So, Ruth and I are now following this awesome routine in which, every time we need to flush the toilet or shower or brush our teeth, we must run out to the front patio, flip the water lever, and remember to flip it back the other way when we're done. Rats, broken toilets, mystery water, telemarketers who ask if you speak Spanish and,when you say that you don't, ask in English if you speak French--our house is like one big Indiana Jones adventure! Why waste time going to theme parks? It would be far wiser to cash in your Disneyland fund and buy a plane ticket to Spain, where you can sit in our house, watching the meter spin while admiring our vast array of colorful knick-knacks (including one waist-high Greek column. Bathroom decor.).