Chris Rose: Boil alert

With the kids off school today, my reverie of sleeping late was broken by words you never want to hear your child say:

Daddy, did you pay the water bill?

Then my head snapped off the pillow. Oh, Lord! The water bill!

Then I realized: I don't pay my water bill. My landlord does.

I was relieved, but only temporarily.

Because it suddenly occurred to me that – since there was no water in the taps and toilets – my kids' first suspicion was that I didn't pay the bill.

Do they worry that much about my finances?

Or worse: My responsibility?

I don't even want to think about that.

And I didn't have to for long, as I soon realized that everyone was out of water.

After reassuring the kids that we were not in arrears to any utilities – at least, not today – I dutifully walked to the corner store to get some water.

But by the time I returned – lo and behold – the water was back on.

Spittering and sputtering, yes, but running all the same.

So my three children showered and brushed their teeth and I made them lemonade from the tap with ice from the ice maker.

Five hours later, I found out that residents of the East Bank of Orleans Parish – that would include my family – should not bathe, brush teeth, drink or make ice with our tap water without first boiling or otherwise disinfecting it.

The Water Board notice contained two words you never want to associate with your kids: Bacteriological contamination.

Why it took so long for the water board to tell us what they had known since 8:30 – that a dangerous drop in water pressure had put the entire system at risk – is still a matter for scrutiny, debate and, I suppose, outrage.

My family had already done everything we weren't supposed to do, long before we were told not to do it.

So now, like a lot of folks around town, I fidget and fuss around while waiting to see what bacteriological adventures might be afoot in their precious little bodies.

Angry, yes.

Scared? A little.

Relieved that my kids' faith in their father's competence and responsibility is restored?


At least, until the cable bill is due.