Thursday, April 23, 2015

When Clyde Strikes

So much discussion about prepping revolves around worst case scenarios. EMP. Terrorists. Martial law. Pandemic. Aliens with reusable anal probes. It's understandable, after all there's nothing exciting about getting together with buddies and beer and talking about the possibility of dumbass Clyde down at the city getting crazy with the backhoe and digging up a water main he was tasked with merely uncovering.

The reality is that we're far more likely to encounter the Clydes of the world than we are a Book of Eli landscape, a fact I've been annoyingly reminded of over the last 18 hours as Clyde and his pals try to figure out how to patch up the 10" main they destroyed last night while "fixing" a minor leak. Last time I drove past they were all standing around a Buick sized hole (1976 Buick in case you're wondering) and scratching various body parts and getting nothing done as usual. Oh I don't know for sure that's what happened, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit.



Last night I went to the kitchen to rinse out my coffee cup and noticed our water pressure was weak. Within an hour the water had stopped. It was back on this morning though we're all on boil water notice, and I got word from a friend that it will be going back off at 5. Won't that be a treat for people coming home from work?

I keep 20 gallons of drinkable water in the house, 2-7 gallon Aquatainers and 6-1 gallon jugs. I did have 40 but my husband swiped half of them for his aquarium and never bothered to replace them, grrrr. I have another 150 gallons in the garage now (talk about timing!). There's also another 500+ gallons outside that's fine for washing and what not and could be drunk if you don't mind a trace of Roundup in your Earl Grey. There's just the two of us so that'll keep us in coffee and tea for a long time.

I told the friend who clued me in to the afternoon shut-off that I was filling some buckets in the tub to set by the toilets. She lamented that she wasn't able to do that because she was at work, and it got me to thinking about all the people who get those Water BOB things that you fill in your tub, or who keep empty jugs around thinking they'll just fill them all up when a crisis hits.

Chances are when a crisis hits, whether it's the zombie apocalypse or your town's version of Clyde, you won't be home to fill those up. Chances are you will come home, turn on the faucet, and get nothing but a hiss of air. If you're lucky the water will be back on in a few hours and you'll be spared anything worse than leaving pee in the toilet for a little bit. But if you're not? That tub sized water bag is going to sit there empty and mock you.

Hey I admit, I've been guilty of the same thinking. Eh it's water I'll just turn on the tap and fill a few jugs. But today it really hit me. I know they'll have our water back on in a day or so, but who is to say it won't happen again? I've worked for water departments where the underground lines froze solid for a week, and when they thawed again there were busted meters and burst pipes all over town. Residents went two whole weeks with NO water coming through the lines. What about power outages? The tower can drain in an alarmingly short time and it only stays full if the pumps are running. Does your town have adequate backup generators? I know mine doesn't. Do you have enough water set aside that you can rest easy if the water suddenly stops flowing? Is there enough for your pets?

I look at that water tower I built the other day with new found respect. Three barrels and a pile of lumber never looked so valuable. I should have done it years ago but water storage isn't nearly as fun as stashing boxes of ammo or buying a new gun so it just kept getting put off. It's like Clyde vs The Golden Hoard. Everyone likes to fantasize about the Hoard but it's the Clydes of the world that get you every time.

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