Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Something In the Water

According to Carrie Underwood......There must be something in the water. The song is beautiful, spiritual and a hit. However, here in Mulvane America, that something in the water is neither beautiful nor spiritual and it is definitely not a hit if the Mulvane facebook page You Might Be from Mulvane, KS if....... is any indication of the feelings of Mulvanites.

To be fair, Mulvane has had a sketchy past with their water at best. As a resident of this little utopia for the better part of 40 years, I personally know that there have been times after a big rain that you would turn the water on and it would run brown with what we like to tell ourselves was mud. The water has at times smelled bad and tasted worse and I remember one time my mother spent a week about to lose her mind with a smell in our kitchen. It was at the sink and she thought something had gotten in the pipes or down the garbage disposal and rotted. She cleaned, she scoured and she even took apart the pipes. When she found nothing and also found she couldn't reassemble the garbage disposal, she called a plumber. As he stood there looking at her disassembled sink and pipes and she explained why she had done it, he just shook his head and laughed. Why? Because he knew what every other long time citizen of the town knew. It wasn't her was the water! 

Before bottled water was a thing, we drank the water when necessary....but only when necessary. There were times when we would get notices to boil all water before using and other times where we voluntarily boiled the water because with the smell and taste, we knew something icky was going on.

Through the years, the city would get the occasional complaint if the smell got too bad or the water was too discolored and the city would always reply with the information that it was because of the water source and not because of anything the city could help. We all then just put on our big kid pants, held our nose, drank the water and quit complaining.

Over the years, the water has gotten better at times and then fallen back to worse. Since I know very little about water, I did a little checking. Mulvane citizens are allowed two kinds of water and well water. Well water is just that. It comes from an on property well. Many with in ground water sprinklers, pools or gardens have wells and many of them were dug years ago. The city has no access to these wells and therefore, after the initial cost of digging the well, the homeowner basically has free water. The main problem with wells is the initial expense and the possibility of ground water contamination. Because of this, drinking well water is NOT advised.

With city water, it is just that. It is water that the city owns and distributes to the town. The price of Mulvane water is not cheap and if you have a pool, garden or sprinklers, in the summer time your water bill can rival your electric bill (the two happen to be on the same bill by the way.) Our current city water comes from another town called Augusta and is piped in, treated and then piped on to residents and businesses. When Augusta first became our water source, there was a decided difference in the water. It was clear, it didn't smell and it tasted good. The side effect of this good water was a raise in our water rates. Then, the water started going down hill, while the rates continued to climb.

When we as a town voted for the casino which the city told us would be a boon for our economy and make many things better in our community, we had high hopes for everything...including the water. After all, you couldn't have a casino, restaurants, an arena and a hotel and have nasty water, so surely...... The revenue has at times been good, but apparently we traded $$$ for water. Since I am not a casino type person, I have never been out there but, those that I know have, say the water is good, clear and dare I say.....drinkable. So why the casino and not the town? Apparently it has something to do with the way it is filtered and the pipes going to the casino. Hmmm

Meanwhile, us town folk are having ever worsening city water issues. The other night on the Mulvane fb page, the water issue came to a head with residents getting frustrated and irritable to the point that fur was flying. It all started with one resident saying that her niece had been diagnosed with a kidney stone and the doctor had told her he had seen many of these of late from Mulvane residents. His diagnosis on Mulvane water? Too much calcium in it. I tend to believe this as I know of several people myself from Mulvane who over the last few months have ended up ER bound with kidney stones. I would say that is a pretty painful side effect of drinking city water. This one post about Mulvane water, led to the gates of frustration flooding open and people letting loose. Stories of babies bathing in the water and getting hives, people having stomach issues after drinking the water, dingy laundry, clogged filtration systems and local businesses having complaints on the water were flying every which way. So apparently.....Mulvane has a water problem. Sadly, up to this point, we as a town had become so complacent with the issue over the years that we had actually quit complaining.......until that fb post. 

It suddenly was as if a light bulb went on for all of us at the same time. Hearing these stories and realizing that it wasn't just that the water smelled or our laundry was never really clean, but people were actually having "real" health issues from this stuff, made many of us stop short and see that this is not just an annoying problem but a real and urgent issue that needed to be addressed. In that evening, Mulvane people did, what they do so well. They rallied, made a plan and decided on a course of action to fix this issue. Why should we be paying a big chunk of money every month for water that we really can't even use and maybe even causing us health issues?

If the city was used to a complacent community where this issue was concerned, things might be changing. We need to know some answers about why our water is so bad. So far there has been finger pointing and excuses, but no real answers. Why is the casino water so much better than town water? Why do some people in town have better water than others when all our water comes from the same source? Then, after we learn the real why's, we need to have some solution options. After all, knowing why your water stinks, tastes awful and is making people sick doesn't fix the problem.

The city seems to be listening as they are adding city council meetings to their agenda and giving open forums to Mulvane citizens who want to speak. Why wouldn't they? After all, they have to use the water too. People are asking for independent studies to be done on their water so that we don't just have the word of the city as to what is floating around in our water and for now, bottled water and filtration systems reside in many a Mulvane home.

Yes, there is something in the water here in Mulvane. It is a huge issue and we would really like to know what it is and how to fix it. If you are from Mulvane and want to know what is going on with the water issue, there will be a city council meeting Thursday, January 22nd at Mulvane City Hall at 7:30 pm. Our water is on the agenda. You can also keep up on what is going on with the Mulvane water issue on fb at Better Water for Mulvane.

Stay tuned. I am sure there will be future updates and maybe..... we will find out just what is in the Mulvane water.

Monday, January 5, 2015

'Tis the Season

I love this time of year. It is so full of promise. The holidays have been survived as has the first half of the school year. Just a few weeks of cold, maybe a sprinkling of snow and then it will be spring. I can practically hear the birds chirping and see the sun shining in my fantasy of this bright new year. It all looked so cheery and bright until.....the first sneeze from upstairs. It was quickly followed by the coughing bout from the basement that could be heard all over the house. Finally, I hear the mad dash up the stairs into the bathroom, toilet lid thrown up, and then I realized......the only thing different about 2015 as opposed to 2014 is....the flu finally found us. took them all at once. Double sigh.....

In all fairness, I'm really not that surprised. I mean after was bound to happen as many trips as we have made to the ER in the last couple of weeks. On our last trip, you could practically see the germs partying in the waiting room. There was a collection of hacky coughs, runny everything and people hovering over trash cans and puke basins. I grabbed masks and bathed both myself and David in hand sanitizer, but I felt even those measures where no match for the germ warfare going on in that small space. Then there is also the fact that Z and his lady love are constantly out and about, never thinking about what communicable disease might be hiding in every crack and crevice of life. While they have been brought up in a germ conscious society, at 18 are they really thinking about getting sick when they share food, drink and God knows what else? Of course not! Bottom line is.....all our bodies are probably fertile breeding grounds for everything from the flu to the plague, so really there is no shock that this targeted us. The only real surprise is..... that it took this long.

As I type this, the sounds of coughing, sneezing and the occasional whimper or hurried foot steps to the bathroom are what fill the quiet of my night. I find it difficult to close my eyes for fear that I will be jolted awake by the sound of my name being sickly yelled out to run bring aspirin, a drink or God forbid.....clean up a bathroom. I also do little sleeping with David sick down the hall. I fear him throwing up in his sleep as he sleeps mostly on his back. We have already been down the aspiration road and I don't wish to travel that path again.

I guess I really shouldn't complain. It has been a couple of years since the flu bug really hit my house full force. Last time I was one of the casualties and it took me forever to find my way back to 100%. This year I hope to stay least until everyone else gets it out of their system. It is very hard to take care of others when you feel like warmed over death yourself. Not to fear though....I have brought in an arsenal of Lysol, Clorox wipes, Gatorade, ginger ale and vitamin C. This house isn't going down without a fight.

So as I lay here, praying that the worst is over soon, I think of spring days, warm breezes and anything that doesn't sound like someone puking! 

Happy Monday everyone!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

St. Peter....One of "Those" Christians

It wasn't long ago that I was having a discussion with an individual that I was not well acquainted with. Talk turned to church and my going to Mass. This individual then scowled and  said....."Oh you are one of those Christians." It did catch me a bit off guard and I said "Yes, and even worse....I am one of those Catholic Christians." It was an attempt at humor to lighten the moment but the individual truly found that to be even more distasteful than just being a Christian.

I really didn't think much more about this incident. Then the last two weeks on EWTN (the Catholic TV network) there was a two part movie on called Imperium: St. Peter. Saturday nights EWTN plays some extraordinary movies and this was one of them. The movie was about Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, and it takes place from the time of Jesus death up to his own. St. Peter was played by Omar Sharif and I have to say, it was an amazing portrayal.

Peter and the other apostles and followers of Christ were living in treacherous times after the Crucifixion of Our Lord. Christians and the very thought of this "new" sect called Christianity caused great fear among all other beliefs.....even the Jews. It was a time when belief in God and now His Son could earn you death. Many times throughout the movie the words, "You are one of those Christians," was said and it brought me back to that day when I was called, one of those Christians. Two thousand plus years and Christians must still face ridicule for their beliefs. How sad Our Lord must be.

So what makes Christians such a target for the rest of the world? Likely the most important reason is our belief that Jesus was born, lived and died for us and our sins. The fact that we have faith in words given to us by an Omnipotent being and that we live our lives knowing that death is not the end of our journey but only the beginning. Truly, our faith in the unseen and untouched is enough to put a non-believer over the edge. If I am in the mood to push a point, my favorite saying is: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary and for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible." This covers miracles, faith and the reasons Christians live as we do. We need no explanation. Our faith has us covered. This statement can send a non-believer of any persuasion into a diatribe of frustration because to them.....everything must have a reason and must be explained. Follow it up with "Everything does have a reason and purpose, we just may not be ready to know the reason and purpose," and this can completely unravel them. Why? Because for many outside Christianity, their beliefs are based in self and man. If man created everything and they are in charge of their own life and destiny then there must be an understandable reason for everything. To believe that God has the power and they don't is contrary to everything they choose to believe. And our belief as Christians infuriates them to the point of distraction.....just like it did in St. Peters time.

Some are turned off by Christians because of the proposed hypocrisy they see among Christians. Many Christians have been accused of being Christians on Sunday and something very different the other six days of the week. Also many Christians have been condemned for taking literal translations of the Bible and using them for their own agenda. Obviously much has changed since biblical times and how we treat women, adulterers and those that do wrong in society is much different than it was 2000 years ago. The fact is though, Christianity is a goal. It means to be Christ-like. It doesn't mean to be Christ. Christians are humans and works in progress. Perhaps there are those that are only Christ-like on Sunday's but that is them trying. Maybe there are those who put their own twist on the bible, but at least they are reading it. At least they are putting the effort in. Humans will always struggle because we are human and because we were blessed/cursed with free will. For some that free will has been their salvation, for others.....their free ride into hell. Perhaps though, those outside Christianity need to remember that Christians are just humans and as humans, we will fail many more times than we will succeed. But as Christians, we know our failings and we have complete faith that if we ask forgiveness from God for our failings with a sincere heart.....we will be forgiven.

I long ago brought my Christianity to the simplest of forms, as simple just works for me. I am not a biblical scholar and quite honestly if the bible hadn't been translated into newer more understandable language, I would be lost. I have brought the rules of my life down to....The Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule. The Ten Commandments because those were given directly from God to Moses and they are the basis of everything we do in life. I believe if you follow them, then you are following God's word to the tee. As for the Golden Rule, it is the very basis of everything Our Lord taught us. Love your fellow man.Treat others as you want to be treated. Be kind. It is all there.

Perhaps that is too simple, but it is what works for me. Truthfully though, this simplicity has gotten me in hot water from, believe it or not.......other Christians, as they don't feel that some current societal issues are explicitly covered in my simplistic view. I think if they look deeply though, they are. It is not my job to judge. It is my job to be as Christ-like as possible and Christ did not work on judgement. He worked on forgiveness. Those that society felt were an abomination, He forgave and brought them to Him. The best way for me to bring others to Our Lord is to teach by example. To live my Christianity through love, kindness and respect for my fellow man. The judgment, well I leave that to God.

So here it is. I am a flawed human who is not without sin. Christianity though, is a gift. In my way of thinking, if a man like Peter could be full of human failing, deny Christ not once but three times and still be forgiven, then there is hope for me. Peter was chosen by Christ and in the end was one of Our Lords staunchest supporters. In a day where Christianity was dangerous and carried a death sentence, Peter defied mans law, chose God's law and by doing this died as Our Lord did, through crucifixion. His life and death made him not only a martyr for Christ and all Christians everywhere, but it earned him the seat at the head of Christ's church and ultimately....sainthood.

Yes, I am proud to say.......I am one of those Christians!