Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are You Drinking the Water?

The Robo-calling started last night but we didn’t get our call until 7 a.m.
As one of the last to get the green light on using water that was contaminated by a chemical spill one week ago today, Mr. H. and I spent some time this morning engaged in the “flushing” process.
In talking with others who’ve already flushed, I haven’t encountered a single person who says she intends to drink the water – at least for a while.
While we’re grateful to have this week-long inconvenience behind us, it does give one pause that the water company has issued a recent warning that pregnant women should not drink it. Not to mention that it still smells horrid!
One friend told me she doesn’t even want to take a bath or shampoo her hair in the “stinky stuff.”
I tend to agree.
For the first time in a week, I washed some clothes and ran my dishwasher. (It was packed!) It’s a great feeling to do normal things again, but I can’t help but feel a little uneasy. When you think about 7500 gallons of a questionable chemical floating around in your drinking water – the water you bathe in, cook your food in and use for numerous other things around your house, it's a little disconcerting to go back to doing those things in only seven days as if nothing ever happened.
But what can we do?
Water is a vital nutrient! We need it to maintain life. It contains many of the minerals our bodies need in order to live.
The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. The body is made up of 50 to 75 per cent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones. As the body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, and urine. 

Nobody seems to know what the long-term effects of using the contaminated water may be. And worse – we have no idea how long we were drinking it, bathing in it and washing our clothes in it before we were finally told to stop using it for everything except flushing our “johns.”
Everyone is still a little nervous.
And rightly so. We are at the mercy of those who now insist that the water is safe. (For everyone except pregnant women, that is). 

Is it? 

Time will tell.


Monday, January 13, 2014

The West Virginia Water Crisis

Like everyone else who is a West Virginia American Water Company customer, we have been trying to muddle through as best we can this past four days or so without using water, except for sanitary purposes.

All of us have been terribly inconvenienced. We're unhappy. Agitated. Some are complaining more than others and lawyers are walking around with big smiles on their faces because of all the suits that have already been filed against responsible parties.

But nobody died. And only a few people were admitted to hospitals with symptoms that might be related to the incident.
It’s not right. It shouldn’t have happened. But the fact is, that under the best of circumstances, accidents happen.
Always have. Always will.
Everyone pulled together immediately and started taking measures to fix the problem and alleviate everyone’s distress as soon as possible. State officials worked diligently to set things right and citizens helped each other.
The president declared a state of emergency and, as of Saturday, FEMA had delivered nearly 1 million liters of water from its distribution centers in Maryland. FEMA says it will continue to deliver supplies to the state for distribution, as needed and requested.
We are thankful. Or at least, we should be.
These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote when it looked like we would lose the American Revolution, and some people were walking away because times were getting tough. By saying "These are the times that try [or test] men's souls," he was saying "This is how we'll see what your spirit is really made of."
I think West Virginians have shown what we’re made of time and time again. We may fight amongst ourselves, but when times get tough, we always pull together and help each other.
Times like this always make us think, too.
I’ve thought a lot about how things were when I was a very young child of a coal miner. We didn’t have a fraction of the conveniences that we enjoy today.

And we were happy.
I actually remember not having a refrigerator. The ice man delivered ice so we could keep things cold in our ice box. It was fun in the summertime for kids to follow the ice truck down the street a ways hoping there’d be some small pieces of ice dropped so they could collect them and eat them.
When I was about six years old, my parents bought a Westinghouse refrigerator. That was a big day in the neighborhood. Everyone came over to check it out. That old Westinghouse lasted until long after I was grown. They don’t make them like that anymore!
Can you imagine summer without air conditioning? We had none. People spent summer evenings on their front porches fanning themselves and praying for rain so it would cool things off and make it easier to sleep.
TV?  Computers? Telephones? I-Pads? I-Phones? Automatic washers and dryers?  Nonexistent!
Oh, and by the way, we didn’t have running water in the house either. We had to go to an outside pump and get buckets of water when needed. My grandmother caught rain water in a big barrel for shampooing her and her children's hair.
Things were much different then. Makes me appreciate the countless amenities we all enjoy today. Even when we have an unexpected mishap like the recent one, that inconveniences us for a few days, we’re still many times better off than we were a half century ago.
We’ll survive this. We’re stronger than we know. Sometimes it takes a crisis to make us realize just how tough and resourceful we are.
But are we grateful enough?


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Alien Ornament - 2013

Yesterday was defrock day for Mr. H. and me.
In plain language, we took down the Christmas tree and other decorations.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for at least a year, knows that we always find a little surprise when we take down our tree. This has been going on for about seven years now.
While removing ornaments, we never fail to find one that we didn’t hang when we put the tree up. Odd thing is… nobody in the family admits to adding it. So, while we have our suspicions, we’re still not certain who the culprit is that blesses us with a shiny new ornament every Christmas.
This year, we discovered the one you see at the top of this post. If you’re interested in reading about former years, you can look here:
I only started telling you about my alien ornaments with the fourth one, so I don’t have pictures of the first three, but next year – assuming I’m still here – I’ll take pics of them and make my Alien Story complete.
Perhaps someday, I can reveal the person or persons who have been giving us surprise ornaments all these years.  (Thank you!)
But I think that might spoil the fun. Don't you?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January - Nobody's Favorite Month

The cruelest month has arrived.
After the excitement of the holidays, January can seem cruel, indeed. We never know what this month might bring. We could have anything from sunny days to strong winds and deep snowfalls to dark, rainy days. Several in succession. And just when you feel you can’t bear another gloomy day, you wake up one morning and the sun is shining brightly.
Totally unpredictable... this first month of our new year. I don't know anyone who says, "January is my favorite month!"
When I awakened yesterday morning – the first day of January – my bedroom was bathed in sunshine! Surprised, I said, “Wow! What a nice welcome to 2014!”
Typical for him, and reminiscent of my mother, Mr. H. answered, “Well, enjoy it today; it’s suppose to snow tomorrow.”
“Thanks for that,” I said. “Could you be any more like my mother?” My mother, when told it was a nice day, almost always replied, “Yes, but look at those clouds. It’s probably going to rain this evening.”
That started me to thinking about a question asked by a psychology professor I once had. “Does a girl usually look for a man like her father to marry? Or like her mother?” he quizzed. All twenty-some people in the class confidently answered, “Her father,” and were stunned when the Prof said, “Wrong! A woman looks for a husband like her mother.”
We pretended to accept the veracity of his statement, but I don’t think any of us truly believed it. I know I didn’t.
Until after I was married for a while.
I started to notice that Mr. H. agreed with my mother a lot more than he did with me.  And if I tried to talk to her about an argument we’d had, she almost always agreed with him. It began to hurt my feelings.
But after a while, I accepted it. What else could I do but admit my old professor was right. I had actually married someone like the mother with whom I rarely agreed! It was going to be an interesting life!
And it certainly has been! Mr. H. and I are opposites in every way. I say, “black,” he says, “white”; I say, “hot,” he says, “cold”; I say, “stay,” he says, “go.” I love music. He prefers TV.  And on and on and on…
Total opposites!
But guess what? We’ve been married more years than I want to say on this blog. Something about us works. We’ve shared children and the problems that come with them. We’ve been up and we’ve been down, and there were times our relationship was as unpredictable as January’s weather, but we’ve stayed the course, weathered the storms and we’re still here.
I can’t even imagine spending my life with someone just like me! Think how boring it would be if there were no disagreements. No arguments. No making up!
He lets me be me and I let him be he – and it works!
No matter what January – or any other month – throws at us.
For the record - Mr. H. was right. It's snowing today!