|Muffin and Squeaker Play With Their New Toys
Photo copyright ©2010 by Michael A. Burstein. All rights reserved.
As everyone local to Boston knows by now, on Saturday, May 1, the weekend before Brookline town election day, we had a water emergency. At 6:56 pm the phone rang, and as we were still observing the sabbath we did not pick up the phone. Caller ID displayed an unfamiliar 866 number, so we probably wouldn't have picked it up anyway. But I did hover by the answering machine to listen.
The robocall was from Dr. Alan Balsam, the director of public health in Brookline, and my first thought was that a weaponized virus had been released into the air from a local research lab. (That's what comes of being a science fiction writer.) Very quickly, though, I learned of the boil-water order, and I informed Nomi about it right away.
Fortunately for us, we had plenty of bottled water on hand because the babies are drinking formula as well as nursing. So we knew we'd be okay even if we couldn't run out to buy bottled water. (As it is, by the time shabbat was over, most Brookline stores were out of bottled water.) I went around to our neighbors to let them know about the boil-water order, which was a good thing, because some of them hadn't yet heard. Nomi and I were concerned about how other observant Jews would find out, but one of the nice things about living in Brookline is that people are aware of our restrictions. Afterwards, I heard stories of non-observant Jews and non-Jews checking in on their observant neighbors and heading over to synagogues to spread the word.
Sunday had a dash of irony to it, as the heat of the day led meteorologists to remind all of us to stay hydrated, while at the same time there was a boil-water order in effect. Nomi and I boiled water for doing dishes and washing the kids' bottles, but we continued to drink from the bottles we had. We also arranged for Nomi's parents, who live outside of the area affected, to bring us some bottled water in the evening. So we spent the day not really worrying about water. We went to the book launch party for Mistwood by Leah Cypess, and we bought some bottled water at a local supermarket. The supermarkets really stepped up to the plate, by the way; they got a lot of bottled water in and sold it pretty much at cost, because of the emergency.
On Monday I went back to the office, and brought bottled water with me. That turned out to be a good thing, as they had emailed everyone over the weekend to ask us to do so. But who reads work email over the weekend?
By Tuesday the boil-water order had been lifted, and it being Election Day, I had other things on my mind. Before I went out to campaign, however, Nomi and I did run all the taps as per instructed to clear the system.
In the end, they tested the replacement water that had been provided while the water main was out, and they discovered that apparently it would have been safe to drink without boiling after all. But better safe than sorry in my opinion.
Sunday, May 9 was Nomi's first Mother's Day as a mother, and we decided to celebrate but stay low-key. Muffin and Squeaker gave their mommy a card, and I gave her one as well. The three of us took Nomi out to Rubin's for a Mother's Day breakfast. We decided to get there as early as possible so as not to disturb other customers. We needn't have worried. The owner (who knows us well) said we were always welcome, and the kids were amazingly well-behaved. They sat in high chairs and enjoyed the French fries we got them (Muffin couldn't get enough). We ran into friends in the restaurant and along Harvard Street, and we stopped at Magic Beans to buy toys for the girls (which you can see in the picture above).
For the rest of the day, we stayed at home, played with the kids, and watched some television to relax.
If you've read this far, congratulations! You've won a Nebula Award. Just respond in comments to claim it. :-)