It’s been fun around here, pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. The water authority in our city had a filter malfunction and spewed some 2,500 gallons of improperly treated water into our pipes. We would have been blissfully ignorant of this disaster until our bodies began to eject disease and pestilence from uncomfortable portals except that my father, who doesn’t even live in the same city, called to warn us that we needed to boil all water used for dish washing, teeth brushing, drinking, and food preparation.
Of course my immediate reaction was something like an oh-brother-y groan, but I quickly realized how blessed we are to have access to clean water at any moment of any given day, and adjusted my attitude accordingly; even our now compromised water was heavenly compared with what people in underdeveloped areas of the globe are forced to drink. Besides, I assured myself, this could be fun! If viewed with the attitude of adventure, of course.
It turns out that boiling enough water for drinking, brushing, and food prep isn’t so bad. Trying to figure out how to boil water for dish washing, however, is a pain in the patootie. If I filled all of my pots and pans with water to boil I might have enough to fill one side of the sink; or perhaps it would be best to boil just enough for a splashing rinse, so as not to totally deplete my stock of safely boiled water. Better yet, maybe I should just hold my breath and hope for the advisory to be lifted quickly, and leave my dirty dishes to degenerate for the time being.
For the first evening and the following day I did just that: I left the dishes unwashed in the sink. So as not to fill the porcelain sink any higher we used all manner of paper, plastic, and Styrofoam plates, forks, and cups. We probably slew an entire forest of lush greenery. On the second morning of my Laura Ingalls Wilder experience I could stand it no longer and attempted to wash at least a portion of the dirtiness. It wasn’t easy, and after I saw how quickly the boiled water was disappearing I gave it up.
Going out of my way to ensure safe, clean water by boiling it in kettles and pots really didn’t complicate my life all that much. What I did find challenging at first was remembering to not use the water out of the tap. Thankfully I didn’t poison anyone in my family with unsafe drinking water through my forgetfulness. I have to say that I’m also thankful that the advisory was lifted this afternoon after only about forty-two hours. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the three pots full of boiled water still on my stove.
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