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.
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...