Mom! The water doesn’t work!

I was planning to publish the next installment of our adventures during Hurricane Ike, but a new adventure of sorts presented itself yesterday. It was strangely reassuring in some ways and worrisome in others. Please let me explain.

My daughter runs cross country with the local public school team and summer conditioning starts early to avoid the heat. My husband, morning person that he is, drives her to practice most days on his way to work and then I pick her up. Yesterday morning Jay and Sweet Pea (yes, I still call her Sweet Pea and she still lets me) pulled onto our street and noticed that it contained a small river. Following the flow to its source, they rapidly realized they needed to call the water company to report a break in one of the main lines. But they did not call me.

Back at the house, I got up and got ready for the day, grabbed some breakfast, and gathered laundry before heading out the door to pick up my runner girl. My son texted me while I was waiting for practice to end to ask why the water was off. I told him it wasn’t when I left and pointed out that he could find bottled water in the fridge.

Mom the water doesnt work title graphic

When Sweet Pea and I arrived back at home we found a notice from the water company on the front door explaining that the outage would be temporary and estimating it would take eight hours to make the repairs. I had a very sweaty teenager who needed to get cleaned up so we could go and run errands that required her participation. I keep a supply of baby wipes in the house even though my baby is hoping to make the varsity squad this year, so she cleaned up and the three of us headed out.

The water was still off when we returned. The kids were wondering about lunch. The power was on so cooking wasn’t a problem, but clean-up afterward would be trickier without functioning faucets. Thankfully I had pulled a cheese ball and some of my mother’s wonderful homemade venison summer sausage out of the freezer to thaw, so we had that to eat. If the sausage hadn’t been available I could have made chicken salad with home-canned chicken or even resorted to peanut butter sandwiches. After lunch I tossed the paper plates, wiped the counters with antibacterial cleaning wipes, and sat down at my computer to do some work.

We implemented the, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” philosophy, but eventually flushing toilets became an issue. I have long kept some 2-liter soda bottles that I’d refilled with tap water for just this sort of emergency. The occasional guest to my home, usually a curious child, who stumbled across the soda bottles might have thought me strange, but on days like this I’ll take strange! We flushed when necessary and refilled the tank from the stored water, saving the bottled water for drinking. Hand sanitizer was our friend, too. Had the water stayed off for several days, which has happened to us before, I had a five-gallon bucket, heavy trash bags, and kitty litter at the ready to improvise a toilet. Thankfully it wasn’t needed this time.

Having a few simple supplies on hand can help keep inconveniences from becoming problems.

Having a few simple supplies on hand can help keep inconveniences from becoming problems.

My son later told me he wasn’t worried when he realized that the water was suddenly and unexpectedly turned off because he knew Mom kept supplies in the house. A couple of cases of bottled water, some ready-to-eat food and paper goods on which to serve it, antibacterial cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and a few gallons of stored water don’t take up much space but most certainly alleviated a lot of hassle. I hate to imagine what I’d do if the water were off for a really long time or what a pain it would be if we lost power and water simultaneously. But I’m thankful for those who cautioned me that “life happens” and encouraged me to make some preparations so that inconveniences stay inconveniences rather than escalating into real problems.

Have you ever suddenly found yourself without water or power? How did you handle it?

I moderate comments manually but will get them posted as quickly as possible. Please keep your comments kind and if you must disagree please do so without being disagreeable. Rude or inappropriate comments will obviously not be published.

4 responses to “Mom! The water doesn’t work!

  1. Hello, some how I have ended up on your blog, I don’t remember how! Did you just start it? I only see the few entries. I do like the look of it, very much.

    Are you on city water? We have our own well. When electricity goes off we have a generator. We are in the country. If it seems like a protracted outage we will turn that on as needed. But we have a wood stove too, in our house and in the shop. We also have lanterns, battery and kerosene. Oh and little flashlight headlamps that we use for camping but are so handy for other times, too.

    My children all ran cross country too. They still like to run and they often get together to run in races. I have 5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls. You have a boy and a girl? Or more?

    Well, nice to meet you. I am actually having a cup of lemon tea now. Coffee in the mornings.


    • Welcome, Athanasia, and thanks for commenting. The blog is new and I’m glad you like the look.

      I am on city water, unfortunately. I grew up in the country with a well and a wood stove, but the church my husband & I serve is in the city, so that is where we live. The good news is that the church installed a generator a couple of years ago that will allow us to use the facility as a relief center to serve our community.

      And tea drinkers are always welcome. My daughter enjoys fruit-flavored teas, too.


  2. Pingback: Ike Comes to the Midwest – part 2 | A Chat Over Coffee·

  3. Pingback: What to Do When the Water Doesn’t Work | A Chat Over Coffee·

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