Sunday, August 29, 2010

Water Woes, Reflections on Mothering, and Raw Brownies

So, this entire past week our city has had a 'boil water advisory'.  It began on a Friday, yet we (and many others) didn't find out about it until last Sunday.  At that point, we had already been drinking and otherwise using water that was contaminated with e. coli.  Terribly disgusting.  Thankfully, no one has gotten sick from this water problem, and with three young children we are counting our blessings for that.  But, still, I am angered by the lack of notice we received as residents, and now feeling bitter about the matter not being resolved, or the problem even properly identified.  Plus, we are spending the better part of our days boiling water.  Boiling water.  Cooling water.  Boiling more water.  Cooling more water.  Buying bottled water.  Lots of bottled water.  Recycling bottles.  Boiling water again.

My husband has been a star through it all, and again, thankfully, had chosen this week for some vacation time.  I don't know how I'd manage it all if he wasn't here to help.  He is a boiling water super-hero I tell you!  Plus, a few days ago our garage looked like a landfill with the bottled waters ready for recycling, and he took care of all of that.  We aren't using our tap water for anything - other than to boil.  Hubby and I are taking showers, but we are using boiled/cooled water to sponge bathe the kids, because we don't want them ingesting water from the tap.  And, we aren't using our dishwasher because there isn't any clear indication that the heat cycles are effective to kill e.coli on all dishwashers.  Naturally, my food prep has been greatly affected this week.  It is a huge amount of work to hand wash a lot of dishes, especially food processors, blenders, pots/pans, etc, without your tap running - just think about it!  Actually, it makes you realize how much water we DO use on a daily basis.  How much water it takes to fill up a sink to wash some dishes - and we never fill it all the way - usually just about a 1/4 sinkful.  And, how much water it takes to rinse those dishes, and to do a sponge bath.  It's quite eye-opening.

I spoke to my mother about it yesterday, and she told me that in the early years of her childhood, her mother would have to boil water for everything, for cooking and bathing, and also washing clothes, and that it was pretty much full-time work.  It had to be.  My mother comes from a family of nine children.  It's hard to imagine how laborious mothering was in those days.  Our current day of mothering is busy and hectic, 'muli-tasked' to the heavens, but it's not heavily laborious beyond vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, and mopping floors (though, many days any one of those chores feels laborious enough).  The hectic nature of our mothering is based on how much we are trying to accomplish in a day with parenting, working, and social commitments, how much our children are 'under our watch' and not as able to run and play freely, and how much we are juggling activities because our children don't have that carefree play.  My mother had six children (all girls) herself, but didn't have her driver's license until she had me, the fifth in line.  We all played outside with our neighbour friends, roamed the streets on our bikes, played 'spotlight' in the summer, and our parents rarely worried.  Our parenting is so very different, and this week has made me reflect on how much we actually have to make our lives more convenient (WATER, heat, appliances, computers, cell phones and more), and yet how overwhelmed and overscheduled most of us still feel.  It shouldn't be.

Yeah, I'm having deep thoughts this morning.  But, that's what a week of water boiling and washing your hands with a cup next to the sink will do to you!  And, I'm itching to get back to some baking and proper cooking.  My fridge is pretty much cleared out with any food prep I have managed to squeeze in here and there.  There are a couple of these brownies sitting in a container that I made before the water woes struck.  These are my B-raw-nies (what did you expect, you knew I'd get geeky with the naming!).  Now, I did post the recipe on true/slant some months ago.  But, I've since tweaked the recipe, and I think they are much better in taste and texture with a different combination of nuts.  Also, I added a 'frosting', which really sends them over the top!  Our middle daughter LOVES these brownies, and how can I not love giving her a treat that is so healthful?  So, I think I'll post this recipe for you, so you can bliss out on healthy brownies too.

There, I'm feeling a bit better just thinking about these brownies.  It has distracted me, temporarily, from the water boiling that is about to begin...

13 comments:

Inside My Mind said...

My youngest lives in WR.. she didn't know about the water boiling until I told her! I had heard it on the news....there has to be a better way to get at least the residents of said area alerted quickly to such a potential disaster!

Donna

tweal said...

Some very deep thoughts indeed - thank you for sharing. I often think of how different our lives are from our parents, or grandparents, or great grandparents; how many conveniences we have that they didn't, and yet, we all feel stressed and overworked and unable to manage (yes even non-parents can feel this way too!). It makes me very grateful for all the things we do have that make life easier.

veganspoonful.com said...

Ooh, I'm eagerly awaiting the recipe for those amazing-looking brownies! I LOVE the idea of a raw frosting. Wow!

And so true how we don't truly appreciate the things we have until they are taken away. Hope your water situation passes soon!

alissa said...

my girlfriend works at the hospital there... i feel bad for the staff!!! eww... looking forward to the b-raw-nies recipe!!!

HayMarket8 said...

Sadly, I have not had the best luck with raw desserts but your brownies appear to be fantastic! Were they rich?

Dreena said...

Donna, I find the whole matter offensive... but I could go on and on about it!

Haymarket, they are rich but not sickly, if that makes sense. When I get the recipe up, I'd love for you to try them out and let me know if they work out for you!

Thanks guys... I sure hope the water thing is resolved soon too - like tomorrow!!!!

veggiefoodforfive said...

I can't wait to try this recipe, they look delicious. Yum.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you were unaware of the advisory and maybe haven't received full instructions on when boiled water is needed (i.e. your comment on the dishes) demonstrates that messaging around this event has been inadequate.

I encourage you to contact Fraser Health (either the local office or a drinking water officer) to inform them of your experience. Without formal complaints, no improvements can be made to BWA notifications.

A report available on the Ombudsman's of BC's website describes many problems surrounding drinking water in BC and amongst them, notifications around BWA.

There are some detailed Q & A available here
http://www.epcor.ca/en-ca/about-epcor/operations/operations-bcp-pnw/white-rock/Pages/BoilWaterNotice.aspx

Anyway, love the blog and didn't realize you live in the Lower Mainland - I'm in Van.

Jessica said...

Sorry to hear about your water troubles. You're right when you talk about how much "stuff" we have to make parenting easier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Can't wait till you post the brownie recipe...they look heavenly!

jessyburke88@gmail.com

Gree said...

Those brownies look really great, I have tried some raw brownie recipes before with no luck so I will try yours now!

Anonymous said...

Where can one find the recipe for the brownies???
-Michele

London Mabel said...

Interesting post. It sometimes feels like something has gone wrong, when we've exchanged work for more work.

I remember a little exhibit at a museum that showed the difference between a room lit by flame, gas, and then electricity--and the commentary was about how the move to electricity made housekeeping more difficult because you could see so much more dirt than in the days of gaslight! Doh!!

Good luck with the water. Hapoo.

Phoenix's Muse said...

I started reflecting on the same thing when I had a bout of serious eye strain (which is what got me to finally stomach green drinks - which I hate the taste of, but drink for my health daily now). I wasn't able to use my computer, or read, or do anything of the things I loved doing because of my eyes being in so much pain. It made me realize how convenient everything is these days, and how my body generally just functions the way it should now (although it certainly didn't growing up.) Great blog, I'm going to certainly follow. Perhaps you'll follow back if you like my blog. :) *hugs*