I glanced out the front window as I was picking up the toys scattered around the living room. A muddy stream of water was running down the street. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “They must be flushing out the hydrants.” But then the stream grew wider, and I grew curiouser. Shoving my feet into my shoes, I stepped outside. Water was not gushing out from a hydrant. It was gushing up from the ground and the whole street was quickly filling up with water. Neighbors were standing out on their lawns, trying to call someone who would come fix what was broken. Those who were not on the phone were in the water with rakes in their hands, clearing the sewer drains from fallen leaves. The school bus arrived and drove slowly through the water, causing waves to lap up people’s driveways.
And the water kept gushing up from the ground.
I had to go pick up the girls, so I walked away from the gushing water and toward the school. I could hear people yelling at cars to turn around. The water was getting way too deep. Just a few minutes later a police car arrived. The officer blocked off the street and yelled a cheerful greeting to the girls as we walked home. A fire truck soon pulled up. The neighbors, police officers and firemen all stood around and watched helplessly as the water shot out of the ground. The muddy swirls were mesmerizing. There was nothing left to do but wait.
Finally, the water company arrived. They had to shut off the water slowly so that no other water mains would burst. Someone advised me to go fill up buckets with water while I still could so that we could flush the toilets when the water went off completely. The girls and I went inside and filled up buckets and even a couple of pots. It was kind of like telling someone to go and boil water when a baby is about to be born…it occupies one’s time but in the end is unnecessary. The water was contaminated so we couldn’t use it for anything but flushing the toilet, but we weren’t without water for long. The water company worked well into the night, keeping me awake with the generators, trucks and bright lights, but having the water back on in the morning was well worth a little lost sleep.