Pot Bath

I just finished the most refreshing “Pot Bath”. I initially had concerns that I would be able to completed it successfully. I kept trying to remember the techniques my Grandma Betty had taught me while camping out of their Air-stream trailer. My grandmother was an amazing woman. I could devote an entire post to her, maybe a book. She taught me so many things during her visits to West Virginia in the summer from hot Florida. One, being how to take a bath using only 7 – 3 ounce Dixie Cups.

You see, some poor fella wrecked his oil tanker carrying diesel fuel I believe.  It eventually spilled into the Greenbrier River which is where we get our water supply. If you need truly accurate information or wish to be entertained by local going on’s you can tune into 59 NEWS. We were told to conserve water beginning Saturday evening and our final drip landed sometime early afternoon Sunday. I have thought about that guy a few times since hearing the news. I imagine him going home Friday evening and his wife greeting him at the door. “Hi honey, how was your day?” “Well dear, I wrecked my truck and it leaked toxic liquid into the sole water source of thousands of people and closed down most small businesses and schools for what could be days.”  I could be going out on a limb here but I would say that he chalked that day up as a pretty bad one. So in comparison, my little family, in our little world, had a pretty dag gone good day!

The kids wanted oatmeal. I told them we should eat cereal because then I wouldn’t have a pot to clean up with limited water. They begged and promised they would eat every bite so I caved, knowing sometimes my children may consume only a lick and call it a meal. I had to cook the instant oatmeal on the stove because our microwave is broken. That’s a long, frustrating story that I won’t get in to. However, cooking instant oatmeal on a stove is like rubbing salt on the subject. Harrison(6) ate his oatmeal with a gravy ladle because of course our dishwasher was packed to the brim, ready to run, when we were supposed to be conserving water. I didn’t think it was fair to use the conservation excuse not to bathe my children and then run my dishwasher. Haley(3) was using a large soup spoon that caused overflow on both sides of her mouth with each bite. That didn’t matter in the end because I was funneling it down her little throat helping her keep her 3 year old’s promise to me.

After breakfast, I heated up about a gallon of water on the stove to give the kids their pot baths since they hadn’t had one since Friday night. I had the heat on in the bathroom and everyone was cozy and enjoying the funny bath until I realized I was starting to sweat. I was trying to conserve my gallon of bathing water until the evening since I had to work the next day.

Breakfast. Check. Baths. Check. Bathroom education. Next. We have 4 toilets in our house but two of them had already been flushed and the tanks were dry. I denoted which toilets were to be used for each procedure and taught them the rhyming rule they were to follow. Regardless of how many times I have had to send my children back to the bathroom to flush the toilet, I wasn’t going to play my odds. I put clear packaging tape on the 2 toilet handles with tanks that were locked and loaded. I had initially decided to line a little trash can with a Kroger bag and top it off with Haley’s little potty seat, that fit perfectly, for them to use. I then remembered my Eagle Scout brother telling me that any human debris must be buried 6 inches deep. Since I wasn’t in the mood for digging holes in my backyard today I decided to act like a normal person and hope we could come up with some water to fill the tanks to flush at least once a day.

I called my dad and asked him to round up some jugs and buckets for me. I had a few and wanted to go to the fairgrounds to get some water where it was being distributed by Homeland Security. The kids had a blast filling all those jugs with the long hoses and turning on and off the shut off valves connecting to the huge water tanks. I called my husband on the way home and told him to cancel our plans to go to Disney. We could just volunteer at the next water shortage crisis and our kids would be just as happy.

I drove extremely slow on our way home considering some of our water reservoirs were of questionable nature. We also had to stop by Walmart for a few necessities. Walmart was eerily quiet this evening. The kids asked me if they could spend their $10 gift certificates that they had gotten from their babysitter for Christmas. We had almost 2 hours before Rick would be home from work, so I agreed, as long as they fulfilled my long list of unrealistic expectations for their behavior, such as no screaming, no fighting, and keep up!

They somehow convinced me to push one of those 8 ft. long carts that have those plastic, double seats attached to its end. “At least I could strap them in”, I said to myself. No such luck. The straps were broken. We weren’t down the first aisle before Harrison had popped out of his seat. “That’s 1 Harrison”, I said. He of course had “forgotten” that he wasn’t supposed to run all over the place and act like a fool. He then began to entertained himself by minimally picking on his sister. While it was annoying, it wasn’t enough that I couldn’t ignore it. I really wanted my little guy to get to blow his $10. When we drove past the Seasonal aisle he couldn’t contain himself. He jumped up again. “That’s 2 Harrison!”. “In the buggy!”. I had really wish he could behave well enough to walk beside the cart. His and Haley’s weight difference was causing my 8 ft. boat to veer right. It was quite the core workout trying to keep it from scraping into merchandise and other important things like people. This workout had caused me to get a little hot so I took off my coat placed it behind Harrison and Haley on the buggy. I told them not to touch it or it would fall in the floor and I had almost cleared my 48 hour risk period.  You see, I bought this coat a couple of months ago and decided it needed to be washed on Saturday. Like any new garment receiving its first wash at my house, I read the label and precisely followed the directions and washed it in cold water, on delicate, and tumble dried low. Then, like everything else on its NEXT wash it will be in warm water, permanent press, and with “un”like colors. Done. It always seems like you’re doomed anytime you put any significant effort into cleaning something. You know what I mean, after washing a bedspread or the carpet, you might as well yell for someone to come and throw up on it! If you make it past 48 hours your golden.

Anyway, I was picking up my last item and we were going to shop for the kids! “Mom!”, Sophia shouted, “your coat”. I turned around thinking it had just fallen off the cart but didn’t see it. I looked around and saw that my coat was balled up under the buggy and had been dragged for who knows how long! After some interrogation, I discovered that my son had placed my coat at his feet, yes his FEET, because he didn’t like how it was pushing on his back! I had a sales associate asked me if I was “OK, and if I needed any  assistance”? I responded, “unless you sell patience in bulk I don’t think so”. Needless to say Harrison left Walmart with a fully loaded gift card to be used at a later date.

Haley wanted some paint with her gift card. I hesitated but was too tired to try and make some other, less messy item, sound as exciting. I can’t tolerate bubbles but I can handle painting here and there. Sophia picked out some markers that she wanted to keep up in her room where her siblings couldn’t get to them and leave the lids off. She said they were going to be “mine, mine, mine”. I don’t know where she has heard that but it sounds a little ugly.

Our groceries were making their way down the checkout belt when I realized I had forgotten the bread! When you are in a crisis you always need bread and milk correct? I was going to send Sophia but thought that might not be safe or illegal or something like that. Instead, I decided to leave all three of them together with the check out lady while I ran for the bread. “There is safety in numbers”, I thought to myself. I also remembered that I can barely get all three of my kids out of the store without a loud commotion. They would be fine for a minute. I took off running. I grabbed the bread, tucked it like a football, and started sprinting to my lane cutting in and out of Walmart shoppers trying to beat my last item on the belt………… I did it!

Rumor has it, the water should be back on in 24 to 48 hours. I did so well conserving water today that I thought I deserved a 2 gallon Pot Bath. I really needed to wash my hair since I was going to work in the morning. We had bought some dry shampoo at the store but considering Haley’s final results I was determined to truly wash mine. With my grandmother in mind I began my personal pep talk. I looked at my 1 gallon wash bucket and my 1 gallon rinse bucket and said to myself: 4 quarts in a gallon, 4 cups in a quart, 8 ounces in a cup = 12 Dixie Cup baths for one amazing woman. Surely I could do it! While I’m used to having my entire family in and out of the bathroom anytime I’m in there, for some reason tonight, as I bent down and squatted over my buckets, I felt the need for a little privacy.

I thought about that diesel tanker driver one more time before I went to bed. I said some prayers for several people I know who are heavy on my heart right now and thought to myself, “PERSPECTIVE”. I was squeaky clean, warm, and full. Safe in my home, filled with my loves. If you have that, you have it all!

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