Flushed with Civic Pride

Because of the ongoing drought here in Texas, our little burg went to Stage 4 water restrictions a few weeks back.  That meant that folks are only allowed to water lawns and landscaping on certain designated days.

Those days are determined by the residents’ street addresses:  those ending in a 1 or a 2 have Mondays as their watering day, and so on through the week.

No one is allowed to water on the weekends and, no matter what your day, there is no watering between the hours of 10:00 am and 6:00 pm because with the temps. hovering at 100 degrees (or more), the water would just evaporate and be a complete waste of that precious resource.

People being what they are (“Don’t Tread on Me” douche nozzles) you can imagine that there have been a number of violations of this city ordinance.

Lawns in some areas have been suspiciously green.  So much for the honor system.

It was time to kick butt, so the city sent out their enforcers who started giving people citations for breaking the “What part of ‘no watering’ do you not understand?” law, to the tune of $250 per citation, with repeat offenders facing the possibility of having their water service cut off.

Suddenly, more lawns became brown and crispy.  The sign of a true patriot.

Or, someone who has to take a direct hit to his wallet in order to become a good citizen.

The other day I was at Walmart, my second home, and I felt nature calling.

Okay, I had to pee.  So I went to the restroom at the back of the store.  You have to walk along the faux flower aisle to get there and I saw that they have all the Fall decor out.  Everything was a rather loud array in shades of orange, brown and yellow.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind seeing that.  But since all of the countryside is already in hues of desiccated oranges, dried-up browns and parched yellows, this was not something I wanted to linger around and enjoy.

I headed straight to the bathroom, and upon opening the door I was immediately met with a loud whooshing sound.  In fact, I could hear it outside of the bathroom and from some distance.

At first I thought it was one of the wall mounted hand dryers that blast out a stream of air, since those things are pretty loud.

Get your hands dried and lose 25% of your hearing all at the same time.

Pretty quickly, though, I discovered that the sound was the continual flushing of the toilet in the handicapped stall.  I went to investigate and was somewhat amazed at the velocity and volume of water that was, literally, being flushed down the toilet in a wasteful fashion.

The toilets are the kind that have a sensor that detects (I’m assuming) when your hiney blocks out the light and then gives you so many seconds before the automatic flush kicks in.

There is also a little black button on the wall behind it so you can “do-it-yourself” if you’re so inclined.  So I pushed that a couple of times just to see if maybe that might reset the mechanism or something.

Nope.  Niagara was still churning away.

So upon leaving I snagged an employee who was walking to the storeroom area adjacent to the bathrooms.  She was taking off her name tag so she probably was done for the day.

To her credit, she only looked slightly annoyed when I stopped her.

I told her what was going on in the ladies’ bathroom and her expression changed right away to one of concern.  “We can’t have that!” she said and then she told me she would find someone who could take care of it.

Today we got our local paper which has been reporting the state of the water wells for the city every week.

This week’s amount of water being pumped on any given day was 3.6 million gallons.

We figure 550,000 gallons of that came from the ladies’ room handicapped toilet at WalMart.


How Dry I Am

It is soooo dry here in Central Texas.

How dry is it, you say?

Here’s the sad evidence:

And it’s sooo bad that Gov. “Goodhair” Rick Perry has called on the populace to pray for rain—while he’s out campaigning for the job of President which, of course, he says he’s not seeking.

*Wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

And it’s sooo bad that the wildlife around here are getting desperate.  The deer are eating stuff that all the plant gurus say they “never touch.”

Yeah, right.

We’ve had to put plastic buckets over our plants at night because just covering them up with old sheets wasn’t doing the trick.

The deer would pull the sheets off faster than Dominique Strauss-Kahn can drop a hotel towel. 

At least they don’t chase us down the hall.

And the raccoons.  They’re pretty brazen most of the time anyway, but now they’re getting particularly clever.  We have some that have made it a habit to come up onto our front porch and finish off the outside cats’ dry food at night.

Except now, they don’t even wait until dark.  We’re like the drive-thru of McDonalds—open 24/7 for your dining pleasure.

So we took up the food and brought it inside last night in an attempt to foil the crafty critters.  Around 6 o’clock in the evening I peeked out the door.

One of the raccoons was standing there impatiently staring up at me like

“Dude, where’s my Happy Meal?”

And we had a young coon ensconce itself up in the engine compartment of my husband’s truck where it refused to come out.  It was right next to the fan, so operating that vehicle was out of the question until the critter decided to exit—hopefully with all body parts intact.

We left it alone overnight and in the morning he had vacated the premises.

Probably mad that he didn’t get a Continental breakfast and free Wi-fi.