Despite living in some disaster-prone places in my life (looking at you Seattle and your SIX* active volcanoes within eyesight), I’ve been fortunate to have avoided major catastrophe. I was in Seattle for their big earthquake in 2002 but other than getting a little nauseated from watching the pavement literally roll in front of me, I was unaffected. That lucky streak was broken a month ago when Colorado experienced the worst flooding in recorded history and while we weren’t in the hardest hit areas (although my sister was) we were right in the thick of it.
On Thursday, otherwise known as the day we all figured out it was raining too much but hadn’t yet realized exactly how bad it was going to get, I left my house to take my kids to piano lessons. On the way out of our subdivision, we found the road totally flooded out. I was surprised but turned around to go to the second – and only other – road out… only to find it too completely under water. If I hadn’t known there was a road there before, I would never have thought so, thanks to the river that had taken its place. Nevertheless, I decided to press on. Other cars were driving through it and since I’d made it through the floods in Minnesota a couple of years ago just fine, I went for it. (I will not admit that I was egged on by my boys who thought the whole thing was an awesome adventure and may or may not have been chanting do IT do IT do IT.) Halfway through the river, I felt our car start to get pushed sideways and realized what an idiotic decision I’d made. How would I get all four of my kids out of their seat belts and out of the raging flood waters if our car had been toppled?? Still, with cars in front and behind us there was no turning back – even if I’d been able to.
Thankfully through the grace of God we made it through, although I don’t think I’ve ever been so white-knuckled driving before. I was still shaking when we got to the piano teacher’s house. An hour and a half later when we tried to return home, I was saved from further stupidity by the police closing off the roads to all traffic. Yes, both roads into our neighborhood. I hauled the kids to McDonald’s (hush, it was the closest thing) and set them loose in the playland while I waited for my husband to come and help me figure out what to do next.
Once we did finally make it home, I stayed up all night frantically texting my sister and other friends who were in the hardest hit areas, checking to make sure they were okay. (They were, thankfully! Although an elementary school near my sister was completely wiped off the earth. “It’s just… not there anymore,” explained one official.) I also waited up, constantly refreshing the County sheriff’s site, watching as the evacuation line came closer and closer to our house, finally ending a mere 6 blocks away. It was a long night. That was the worst of it.
What I hadn’t been prepared for was what happened afterward. After the rains finally stopped, Colorado was left with one heck of a mess to clean up. Again, I am very blessed that our house sustained no damage and we were all alright. I don’t want to minimize the suffering of those who got it much worse – I tried to help with relief efforts by volunteering to work at the emergency phone center and babysitting for people who went to help shovel debris – but our lives were dramatically altered. For weeks afterward portions of both roads (and many other roads in our area) remained closed for repairs making driving anywhere like some insane game of Tetris – perfect for someone who gets lost like it’s my job. I swear I’m directionally dyslexic.
Anyhow, the main road just barely reopened last Thursday. Our school and other activities got cancelled. My mom had to cancel a trip out to visit because the road from the airport got washed out. Nothing life threatening – for which I’m very grateful – but still really inconvenient.
This road is just up the canyon from our home, one we’ve driven many times. I believe it’s still closed.
One of the hardest parts was after suffering from too much water, all of a sudden we were hurting from too little water. Well, good, clean water. At first, with the water stations so overloaded, we were told our tap water wasn’t safe. And then we were told we could drink the water but we didn’t want to – it smelled like rotten potato peelings.
At first, we all turned to bottled water – a fact the local Wal-Mart took full advantage of by marking up their cases by over a dollar apiece! (My son noticed this when he saw the old price sign showing under the newly taped up price sign. Thanks a lot Wal-Mart.) But as the weeks dragged on and our water still smelled like the galley on a carb-obsessed Navy ship, we all returned to our tap water. As noted by signs taped up over ever public drinking fountain, they kept assuring us it was safe to drink despite the color and smell.
It was at this point I got sent a sample of the Whirlpool® Water EveryDrop™ Water Filter. Now I’ve reviewed tons of water filters/bottles/products in the past and was honestly kind of over it. Until this happened. Never was I so happy to get a package in the mail! Thanks to its clever design, I could easily use it to filter the water not only for my kids to drink but for cooking, cleaning and even for our cat.
I was all set to show off the filter for you when my son pointed out I’d put it together wrong. Ok, no biggie! I’ll just flip this around and…
Aw crap. Have I mentioned my spatial skills are really bad? After way more time than I care to admit, I finally figured out I’d stuck the filter in upside down. Oops.
Wait, it goes like this? Yeah, I had to ask my 11-year-old if I’d done it right. (I swear I’m smart in other areas. Like Friends trivia. And balancing chemical equations. Priorities.)
It’s small enough I could throw it in my bag and take it with us to the park or rec center. And it’s fast enough to filter a whole pitcher of water in under two minutes. It even has a little storage case so I can keep it as part of our emergency supply should this happen again, heaven forbid. I should note that this isn’t a water purifier – it won’t sanitize dirty water – but our water was safe, just yucky. So it was perfect for what we needed! I kinda wished Whirlpool Water could have given all the people in the flood area one of the filters as it was so handy!
Maybe it will clean up bad thoughts too? Not that I ever have those, of course. I’m asking for A FRIEND.
Jelly Bean and I having a happy-tasting water moment. I love the little clear EveryDrop Filter bubble sticking out of the top of the pitcher – it’s feeling very Jetsons.
This is what I’ve learned: NEVER underestimate the power of water. It gives life. It also takes it away. It’s not just the power that everyone on Avatar and The Last Airbender thinks is kind of the wussiest out of the four bending powers. I also learned that I take having readily available, clean drinking water for granted. I am so blessed to not have to worry about this on a daily basis and this experience was a good reminder to me to be grateful for what we have (and to be better prepared for when we don’t have it).
Have you ever been in a situation where your water supply was contaminated or when a portable water filter would have come in handy? Leave me a comment to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!
*Mt. Ranier, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Baker, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Glacier Peak – just in case you were curious😉
Also, lest you think I prance around my kitchen like a 1950’s housewife in a Vitameatavegamin commercial, I feel like I should show you the OTHER side of my kitchen. So basically I’d cleaned off the table and… now you know how we really live. Maybe the filter can clean my kitchen?
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