The high temperature yesterday was 23 degrees. Curtis was enjoying his nice hot shower when it suddenly stopped and that was the last of the water we had for the next 14 hours. We have a well and it's in a submersible pit, encased in metal, outside behind our house. Metal isn't a very good insulator and what we discovered several hours later is that a part of the pressure pump had frozen.
We were unprepared. I hate to admit it, especially seeing how we strive to "Be Prepared" at all times. We had food! Just no water. I found 2.5 gallons of water on top of the fridge that I'm not sure how long had been there. We had no bottled water anywhere else in the house. We couldn't flush toilets, wash hands, dishes, laundry, or floors. Never mind we had nothing to drink as well, and 2 gallons of water goes pretty fast with six thirsty people. Not to mention how disgusting a toilet can get in that time with six people.
I'm sure that no emergency arises by scheduling it for you, otherwise we wouldn't have ear infections at 2:00 a.m., car wrecks on the way to work, a house to show to a realty company after a weekend of illness and the house looks like bomb hit. Yesterday's "emergency" didn't really take effect until 5 p.m., after having gone an entire day without water, the plumber not finding anything wrong and the rental company unable to return calls after 3:30 p.m.
This was the state of things when the water stopped working:
9 loads of laundry that mysteriously appeared in two days.
Dishes in the dishwasher were clean, but after lunch, we were running low on plates, utensils, pans, and cups. I had no paper or plastic products on hand.
Joshua decided to dump wassail all over the kitchen, dump peach juice in his hair, have a poopy, leaky diaper, and very little clothes left to change into.
Phones were dying. Thankfully I had electricity, but it was getting annoying playing musical phones as I tried to make and receive calls.
We had no money, not even in savings, set aside for if we had to vacate the house.
We had 72 hours kits set aside with most essential items in them, including a water bottle...that was empty.
By the end of the day:
House was trashed.
The kids had played outside and soaked through the few pairs of pants they had left that were not sitting in the laundry. When it came time to pack for the hotel, they had limited clothing to take. Joshua had 1 outfit left.
Dishes were piled up, counters were dripping with stuff, crumbs everywhere, and toilets reeked.
I had the boys fill up a bucket with snow, hoping that would melt and we could use it to pour down toilets to get them to flush. It took 9 hours for one 5 gallon bucket of snow to melt, and it hadn't even finished melting at that point.
We were all dehydrated. We finished up the last of the milk in the fridge, but had no other means of making other beverages and had none on had that were pre-made.
Most of our food preparation required some kind of water.
These are the things I learned:
Have water on hand, no matter if you live off of city water or well water. You never know if it may freeze up, become contaminated, etc.
Keep up on laundry.
Have some kind of foods available that are pre-made and don't require water to prepare, or very little if necessary. Canned foods, frozen foods, etc. are easier to just pop in an oven or heat on the stove/microwave. Usually they come in food containers already, so no need to use your pans you may not be able to wash again.
Melting snow is a waste of time, and it's usually dirty.
Prepare for your pets. They need water and food too. Have a plan for them if you have to vacate the home.
If you have water available to flush toilets, fine. If not, line a 5 gallon bucket with a trash bag and use that as a portable toilet. Dispose of the bag, and that way, it's not something disturbing and gross to find in your bathroom.
Have cloths packed and ready to go in your 72 hour kits. Unfortunately, I had felt prompted weeks ago to prepare those like that, and dismissed the prompting.
Have money saved! Squirrel it away somewhere that can be accessible! Let me rephrase this. Have cash on hand. At least enough that can cover a tank of gas, a motel room, and a few meals. I could not access our account last night at a drive through ATM and hotels do not like to use your debit card.
If you have to vacate to a motel, ask about emergency rates. Most are good about giving you one, but be aware they may charge extra for a crib or roll away bed.
Keep up on your house cleaning. It was miserable yesterday and I felt out of sorts. The kids fed off my stress and made even bigger messes than they normally would have. Cleaning the house will help time pass, keep everyone occupied and when you return home, you don't feel like it's a bigger job to recover from an emergency. (I realize if a tornado came through, this is a useless tip).
If anyone has things to add to this, please feel free to. It's never fun to go through these things, but they certainly keep you on your toes.