Water, water but nary a drop to drink

By Karl Terry

Temperatures dropped Friday night and the drought got worse.

At least it seemed that way Saturday morning as all of Portales woke up without water in the taps due to a water-main break.

I got home late Friday and it was cold and sleeting dry stingy flakes of snow in my headlights as I pulled into the driveway. Those flakes weren’t going to help my thirsty yard or the wilting wheat fields around the county at all.

I went in and turned the electric blanket to 11 on the dial and got under the covers. By the time Jay Leno’s Olympic-delayed monologue came on the satellite I was hungry and the electric blanket was getting toasty so I went to the kitchen and dipped a big bowl of fat-free, no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream and drowned it in sugar-free chocolate sauce. A compromised midnight snack I know, but it was pretty good back under the blanket.

I finished about the time Leno cracked the last joke. I set the bowl aside and laid down. The chocolate sauce left me a little thirsty but the blanket was warm and I ignored my thirst and slept. Bad idea.

I woke up really dry. After quickly visiting the toilet and flushing I got out my morning medicine and as I did I noted the flush sounded strange. Opening the sink tap, I got nothing but air.

After determining the water was off in the kitchen too, I took orange juice out of the refrigerator to down the pills I was carrying around in my hand.

Our circulation manager had left a message on my cell phone a little after 7 Saturday morning to let me know the streets had been flooded and the water was off.

I had slept through the call and apparently slept through a conversation with my wife who had heard the police scanner reference flooding and sandbags before daylight. My wife said I talked to her but my answers didn’t make much sense so she gave up and went back to sleep.

I think I can be excused for not waking up. Usually when you hear water is running through the streets of Portales it’s a good thing because we’ve had a good rain. What better dream could there be than rain on the plains?

Nope, the drought’s just gotten worse.

My wife and I got out late in the morning to see what was going on with the water-main break and look for some coffee. Every minute without coffee Saturday morning made us both progressively more irritable. Wagon Wheel and McDonalds were both closed. Allsups didn’t have any coffee or fountain drinks. I was suddenly struck with the desire to buy bottled water and purchased us a couple of bottles.

I’ve never been a fan of bottled water and very rarely buy it myself. When I do I refill the little squirt bottles from the tap later. Why should I pay for bottled water when I have a tap full?

After an O.J., a bottle of water, a soft drink and a blood pressure diuretic pill, I now have another problem. I wonder how many of those little bottles of water it will take to fill the toilet tank?

Karl Terry is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4483, ext. 33. His e-mail address is: