On Monday morning, October 22, 2018, our Houston-based daughter called to make sure we knew not to drink the water. Yeet! she said.
The Pots Were On the Stove
All of our cooking pots are on the stove, full of almost-boiling water, I assured her.
We’re fine. Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang. We be good. Don’t worry, be happy. All’s well. It’s all good in the neighborhood.
Or so we thought.
We Were Boiling Our Water
Unprecedented flooding in the Texas hill country had precipitated a water-boil mandate from the City of Austin. The City couldn’t promise that its filtering systems were keeping up enough to ensure that our water would be safe enough to drink.
Nor could they forecast exactly how long we might need to live without the convenience we were so obviously taking for granted. A few days, probably.
Okay, we’ve got this. It wasn’t our first water-scare. Remember Y2K?
However, that was definitely different. We might have been storing water in the basement, but it never stopped flowing safely from the tap.
It also never kept us from having coffee at the office.
No Coffee at the Office
Oh, what a rude awakening! Management had taped signs to the coffee machines. Of course, they had no choice in the matter, and it was the right thing to do. But, people have routines, you know, and people need their coffee. Especially at the office.
No Coffee Down the Street
And then, the reports started coming in that Starbucks wasn’t even selling any morning brew. What? You could feel the pangs of panic rising and you could hear the angst in the voices on the elevator. Yikes. NO COFFEE, even at Starbucks?
People Were So Nice
It was so nice of the rest of the world to worry about us during this time. Relatives called. Friends texted. Are y’all okay? Do you need us to do anything for you? Be careful!
After a few days, Austinites had adjusted to the new normal, and businesses did all they could to make sure no one went without drinking water. In the scheme of things, this was merely a bump in the road, and no one got too high behind.
I mean, Texas has had much bigger weather-related occurrences, and no one even dared really complain. It wasn’t a hurricane, we were all still at work, and no one was going hungry.
It was just a little weird.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Lady Bird Lake was full to the absolute brim of her banks. From offices on the upper floors of downtown buildings, we looked down at the dark water, churning and flowing its way southward.
We drove over bridges and stopped to video the water gushing through floodgates. Everyone shared Instagram photos and Facebook posts from neighboring towns like Llano, Texas, where the flooding was so wild and so scary.
The store shelves were empty of water bottles, restaurants were serving it scantily from water bottles themselves, and water fountains were rendered unoperational all over town.
Seven Days Later
Finally, after seven days, the boil-water notice was lifted, and life got back to normal.
But, don’t think this gal wasn’t counting her blessings.
Growing up in the Texas panhandle makes a person appreciate every drop. I even made a New Year’s resolution a few years ago to not leave water in my glass anytime it’s served to me at a restaurant table. I drink it all, thankful for the chance to do it. Free water. Cold water. Clean water. How wasteful we are to let it be thrown out, glass after glass after glass.
So Many Blessings to Count
It was so good of our daughter to call that morning to check on us. And, even though it was kind of a first-world problem, it was good to bond with our coworkers as we made it through the water-boil crisis of 2018 together without our morning mugs of java.
But what really merits placing that week in my Top 10 Experiences of 2018 is this.
When there’s water, water, everywhere without a drop of coffee to drink, there are still so many other blessings to count. We weren’t going without heat. We had gas in the car and food in the fridge.
But someone, somewhere, in another part of our small world, was also going without good drinking water, and probably a whole lot more than that.
Let’s Be Good Stewards
Do you save your rainwater? Are you mindful of how much water you waste? Would you like to join me with a resolution like mine?
May we be good stewards of this precious resource in the new year!
Your devoted encourager,
PS: Here are links to my other Top 10 Experiences of 2018.