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Wednesday, July 20, 2011



I’m sure that most everyone is familiar with Coleridge’s poem “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.” It’s a poem about a seaman on a ship and there is no water for drinking. The seaman is parched and says later on in the poem “Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink!” If that weren’t bad enough, an albatross swoops down and hangs onto his neck! [No doubt where that saying of having an albatross around your neck came from!]

But on Sunday night in my neighorhood area [of 1600 people in total] the water went off at eight at night. Not a drop. At first I thought “Did I pay the water bill?” And yes I had. Called my next door neighbor and they had no water either. Checked with people up the street and no, they had none either. Later, I went to bed thinking that the water would come back on. When I woke up on Monday morning, no water. Not a drip. Nothing. Phone calls again and no one had water and none of us had been notified by the water company. That’s when panic set in: You can’t live without water. I did have Pepsi in my fridge which helped for a while.

More calls were made by others and me and we were told that the water would soon be on. Guess what? It wasn’t. Then the emails started flying back and I was one of the writers; none of us knew what to do. Neighbors had to miss work due to many reasons: Babysitters didn’t have water either, no showers and other reasons. We found out that the huge water tower up on the hill had leaked out and was empty. Were we told about that from the get go? No! And so more emails flying back and forth as to what to do. So many people helped me and others for they either had bottles of water or went out and bought gallon jugs of water.Strange going to the sink to turn on the faucet for it is a force of habit; worse was nothing coming out and the realization that yep we had no water still! I think I went to wash my hands more times that I could count forgetting that there was no water.

By Monday night we were told by the water company that the water would be on by midnight. Midnight came and went and that’s when real panic set in for not only does everyone need water but there are many elderly and sick people around as well as young children—and we had no water still! Luckily my son as well as friends brought me water [I live on iced tea but had no ice] and others went on pursuit of gallon jugs of it. Stop and think that you can’t cook most meals without water or wash dishes, clothes or take a shower or bath and that leaves you in a mess. And if you have pets, they have to have water in order to live and not to mention that it was also hot outside.

Come Tuesday morning we still had no water and by this time, everyone I knew was not only livid but getting the runaround about when we would have water. The emails started flying around again and we [my friends and neighbors] decided to call the health department as it was a crisis if ever. I was fortunate to speak to a woman there who agreed that we needed help and she contacted agencies and the fire department. We also called our mayor’s office [the water company here is not owned by the city] and the mayor took action in getting water to a place where all could go get it in containers that they brought. By this time, I was more than hysterical as was everyone else! How many days can you live without water unless you go out and buy it or retrieve it from a source such as above? And the huge water tower had to be refilled to the top and that took forever.

During these days the television stations did report our plight as well as the newspapers but we never received one notice from the water company—none! By one o’clock on Tuesday the water came back on; I really thought I was imagining seeing it come out of the faucet! But the bad thing was and is that a boil water advisory was issued for three days. Boiling water to brush your teeth reminded me of an episode on the tv series “Monk!” I didn’t boil water but used the bottled kind instead.

Today is Thursday and I am not boiling water yet [we can’t drink it still for it has contaminates in it] because I would be worn  out with doing it and for me, it’s not worth it. Luckily, I still have lots of gallons of water to use. Run the dishwasher? Can’t unless you use boiled water to put in it. I know I am not alone in being worn out and frustrated to the nth degree for we had water in the river [no way would anyone drink that!] but not a drop to drink! Thank heavens for being able to buy bottled water is all I can say and I live in a big city but unfortunately in the affected area. You don’t know what you have till it’s gone or not working. And during these days it didn’t rain a drop; I had made up my mind that if it did, I was going out and stand in it!  Water water everywhere and it is the bottled type—works for me and others. What a saga!

Sherry Hill

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