A lesson in preparedness, ingenuity, and realizing you are tougher than you think!

This post is taken almost verbatim from an email that I sent to my sister this morning. It details what happened at my apartment and with my family after a 12″ water main broke about a block away, and we were without water from about 1500 hours on 3/25 to 0530 on 3/26. I think it will be good for a laugh, in parts, but more importantly, I hope it serves to show that in a situation, any one of us can rise to the challenge and do something besides sit and bemoan how awful/bad/terrible/unfair it is. I believe it also shows the value of being prepared ahead of time, or to have a plan in place when the time comes, which is something I have posted about before on The Takedown.

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Ok, here’s what happened. As of late I have been doing some introspection as I have been alternating between two books; one has been on the life of Martin Luther and the other is called Warrior Mindset and deals with developing mental toughness and resiliency. Yesterday it paid off when the boys came home and asked me if I knew that a water main had broken. I didn’t know Jack nor Squat about it, and they said they’d heard about it in school. I put in a call to the front office and sure enough, a 12” water main had burst about a block down the road from our apartment complex. Most, if not all of the complex was without water until they got it fixed. I then put in a call to our local Water Works (No, Mr. Monopoly didn’t answer) and they said that they had no ETA on it being fixed as they couldn’t start until the other utilities came and marked off where their cables, etc. ran, and as of then no one had done so.

I kind of shrugged at first and thought “Oh well, we have bottled water stored in the house so we’re o.k.” and went back to what I was doing. Then, suddenly, I hear this R. Lee Ermey-like voice in my head, saying, “What the hell’s the matter with you, numb nuts? You’ve got water to drink, but what are you going to do about flushing the toilet? That’s going to use up your drinking water in a big damned hurry, now isn’t it? Who knows how long it’s going to take them to get that main fixed? GET OFF YOUR ASS, GET MOTIVATED, AND STOP WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO FIX THE PROBLEM FOR YOU!”  Coincidentally enough I had been reading in Warrior Mindset about the things people use to psych themselves up before a mission or something they need to do; whatever reason my brain had for pulling THAT particular voice and manner out of the bag on me, it WORKED. I was charged and ready to rock and roll, in SPADES.

 In the background, the Mission: Impossible music starts playing and I start thinking. I look out the window and I see this:  (the picture is grainy but they are drainage pipes that carry water from the pond across the road to keep the water level – well, level)

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“Huh,” I think. “Now if I just had some way to get it….” Then I see this on the porch, (what used to be a plant hanger that I had jury rigged to hold my ham radio mag mount antenna) and this as well (our garbage pail):

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and just like that, an idea comes to me. I tell my oldest son to get his shoes on, I pull my boots on, grab the bucket from the bathroom and he and I go out to the pipes. I grab the plant hanger and bend it into the shape I need, which is the shape shown in the picture (My son’s mouth was hanging open – I think he didn’t realize that it wasn’t THAT hard to bend, but I didn’t tell HIM that!) I put the bucket handle on the crook at the end of the plant hanger, hang it over the fence into the flow of water from the pipe and within a few seconds, I have a full bucket of water! “Dad,” he says, looking concerned, “we can’t DRINK that…” I grinned at him. “We’re not going to, son. It’s for having water on hand to flush the toilet and such with. We could use it to wash if we needed to, if we let it set until the dirt settled and then boiled it, but we already have drinking water.”

It took a number of trips up and down the hill to the pipes, (you can’t see it as well in the picture but that hill was STEEP) but we ended up with ¾ of a garbage pail full of water, and the means to flush the toilet throughout the evening.

I also used it as an example to the boys of being prepared in that yes, there WAS a good chance they’d have the pipe fixed relatively quickly (in point of fact, it wasn’t fixed and the water back on until 0530 today) but rather than sit around and hope, we could do something proactive to be ready in case they didn’t. It’s the same principle as having extra food in the house or extra water; you have it just in case. It doesn’t take a major disaster to disrupt things – sometimes even small things like this can do it.
They understood and it was a grand adventure. I got the backs of my pant legs covered in mud going up and down the hill and got a damned good workout, but more importantly I discovered something about myself in that I still have it; I still have the drive to DO and to be proactive when I get off my backside and do it. Sitting around is my enemy; I need to keep myself engaged and active. Yesterday was a great encouragement to me, and a good lesson for the boys as well, I think.

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How about you? What can YOU do to get prepared? Get motivated? Rediscover that lost energy and drive, that zest for life that you may have had once but don’t seem to any longer? Start by focusing on the positives, and get motivated. It works! I heard a lot of people complaining about the water being out, and that’s all they focused on. I don’t mean that to sound like I think I’m all that and a bag of chips, but I do know I felt better in not only looking at what we still had even though the water was out, but in taking steps to counteract what I could so long as it was out. 

I think you’d find it will do the same for you. 

Enjoy, and God bless today, my friends!