Monday, October 17, 2011

Floodgate

Texas is experiencing the worst ‘one year drought’ since rainfall records began in 1895. It was a bloody hot summer – with temperatures above 40°C for weeks! Most of Texas is experiencing ‘exceptional drought’ and the remaining areas are ‘extreme’ or ‘severe’, It got so bad that by June, Houston launched ‘stage 1’ of their plan. This is a voluntary stage where residents were asked to refrain from non-essential water use such as ‘washing cars or boats’ and only water their lawns twice a week, avoiding mid day. How will Texans cope? Seriously tough measures for the lowest rainfall on record.
Don’t get washing your boat. No point! You can’t take your boat out to the lakes anyway. There’s a drought – numpty!
In August Houston Public Radio reported that boats were getting stranded on sand bars in Lake Houston. Sgt. Tolan Harding who runs the police boat patrol on Lake Houston had the answer. ‘Pray for rain.’
I appreciate that the stereotypical Texan is likely to be a republican evangelical, full on God slotter, and let’s face it – I only deal in stereotypes (they are the only Americans I ever meet). They must have followed Sgt Harding’s advice as law abiding citizens. It would appear that the Texan prayers were answered last weekend. I had been in Houston 3 days when it decided to make up the lack of rainfall for months in just a few hours. The rain was torrential.
It was indeed a ‘godsend’. The house we are renting has a pool. I felt it was the least I should demand for being dragged around America. Given the temperatures in Houston, I was hoping to extend the ‘holiday’ feeling of this mad adventure I find myself on. I can pretend I am on a long holiday. A very long holiday- which will make going back to work a bit of a killer. The pool had been leaking 6” of water a week since we took over the lease and we were waiting for it to be fixed. I don’t know if stage one drought planning meant that you should refrain form topping up the pool but it did say ‘non-essential’ use and the pool is ESSENTIAL!
After the mini monsoon the pool was full to the brim of water… and debris. Like swimming in soup. I felt I was really conserving water and a huge amount of money by turning off the steady stream to replace the leaking water. (Leaking, I assume into little puddles where the mosquitoes who have bitten me relentlessly since I arrived, are breeding). Apparently I can claim from the water company for the leaked water as water that was not usable! Only in America!
We ventured out during the downpour to find somewhere to eat (our furniture was still on a truck in Louisiana) and as we backed out of the drive way I noticed the sprinklers were on. On in the middle of the day. On in the pouring rain. You have to pay for water here on a meter! Note to self – work out how the sprinkler system works and turn the f**ker off! I started to get concerned about how many clauses of the voluntary water cessation I was breaking. What if i-neighbors reported me for excessive (albeit involuntary) water use?
My best water violation however was yet to come. I’m not sure if the timing of Hubby’s business trips is random. I had been in North Carolina a week when he buggered off to Sweden. I have been in Houston a week and he’s HAD to go to Poland. Perfectly timed at the point of my ‘WTF am I doing here’ meltdown. Coincidence? He knows if he isn’t here I have no choice but to get on with it. I prepared myself for visits to Wal-mart ALONE! I did it! I felt that I was a winner in so many ways when I won a $5 Wal-mart gift card at the Wal-mart MacDonald’s on Sunday. Reward for my bravery. I chilled! I let the kids watch Netflix all afternoon. Loudly! That is why I didn’t here the flow of water until it was too late! We reported to our new landlord that the upstairs loo mechanism didn’t work so the toilet constantly filled with water. Not a problem til your 6 year old fills it with poo and paper. What is it with little kids that they can use that amount of loo roll and still have shitty arses? Your toilet was blocked (but it’s alright now – for any aficionados out there you’ll know where that is from!) and it didn’t stop filling. Like the little porridge pot overflowing. Overflowing until I thought someone had turned my shower on (for some reason the master bedroom is downstairs). It was water flooding through the light fittings, walls and ceiling! I quickly, if a little hysterically, turned the water off and used a dust pan to scoop the flood upstairs into the bath. It was free from poo as the poo was well buried under all the loo roll… That is until I flushed the toilet again. I know, I know! Only someone who needs sectioning would do such a thing. I thought it would flush away. I can’t tell you the despair I felt when it overflowed onto the recently cleared floor. This time, full of poo particles. I stopped the flow in the cistern and I got my dust pan again, a little over zealously. I can’t describe the subsequent despair I felt as I dried the splashes from my face and went to the third bathroom to shower for a very long time.
I have violated the water plan on so many levels. Mostly not on purpose but my final violation is one that goes against all my Greenpeace credentials. Short of flooding the bathroom (again) in the stuff and bathing in it myself, I have used a shameful amount of bleach in the last two days, cleaning up floodgate. I wonder if Houston has any laws on the use of harmful chemicals. If it is anything like their water guidelines I think I only have my own conscience to deal with!



2 comments:

  1. It could only happen with hubby away Nothing like that ever happens when he is around.

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  2. oh boy. I have a feeling my last will be dumping that kind of adventure on me. He is fascinated with the roll of toilet paper already. My only kid too. I think I need to buy locks for the bathroom.

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