Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chapter Seven: Moving Into Town

Chapter Seven: Moving Into Town

So we saw the Midnight Dumping....My Son and I. He thought it was a marvelous adventure, that we had been Super Snoops, and yet I treated it that way for his sake. But inside I was worried, sick at heart, we had witnessed Dumping in the Water right by our home. And in an attempt to learn more what I really learned was that I did not know Anything or Near Enough to figure out what to do.

We came home and I put my son to bed, and I sat on his bed until he fell asleep. And there I sat looking at his little Zoo, and all of his books. I listened to the snoring of the Bassatt and the Scottie, I watched the Bunny and guinea pig asleep at the end of his bed in their cage.My son at that time wanted to be a Vet,he nurtured and took care of all these little creatures. We called them The Herd, I knew that he would start asking Questions about the Water. Questions that I did not have answers. I watched him sleeping with his stuffed buddies and his Herd, and I wondered had I made a Huge Mistake moving him to this beautiful town in the Northwest.

As I stood there in the Dark, I knew that I would and could make phone calls to try to learn more, but that in the long run, it was not going to change what we saw. At that point I was pretty naive, I had never had to make these kinds of calls or ask these kinds of questions. But Nurses by nature are good at asking Questions, it reminded me of working in the ER, people never quite tell you the Truth or What you need to know. They tell you what they think you want to hear.....they hide behind what they can. It takes Sleuthing and hard questions to get to the truth. Little did I realize that The Lake would turn out to be my most Perplexing "Patient" ever....

Was Midnight Dumping a small matter ? ...or part of a Much Bigger Problem ?...Time would reveal answers to all these questions.
My first mission was to make calls about the Mdinight Dumping, and I did. I called numerous offices and described what I had seen and asked WHO should I report the sightings to ? I was stunned, most of the offices I called, were basically silent, barely responsive. I joked to my son that I felt like I was calling a Monkey on Valium. I was a little shocked that NO one seemed Concerned that Strange Chemicals out of a truck were dumped in the Lake. And yes, I did indeed learn that the Lake, the Big Beautiful Lake was OUR Drinking Water. It was actually Drinking water for most of the County, for 80-90,000 people. When I learned that, I felt ill.

The Water department nicely sent me a beautiful pamphlet that told ALL about Our Water, with nice photos and slick PR writing and very limited data. I asked weren't they concerned about the Red Trucks, they said Nothing. Said Someone would call me back. No One did.I basically got the same response from the Mayors Office, the Health Department and the Public Utilities office. I sat and stared at the phone, bewildered, and frustated.

The First Phone calls to the Dept that fall, they told me to boil the water if I was concerned, and I said yes, I was "concerned", that the water had a strange Sheen on it, silvery sheen. But the first night I did not have bottled water, so I did stand and boil the water, watching the sheen and worrying as if wafted up into the air....I breathed in trying to sniff What it was ( not a brilliant move). Mostly I was stymied on all fronts.

I did start buying the Bottled water for all of us. And I wondered if that was good enough. The One Water Person from a Government Office had told me if was worried I could start always boil my water. So I stood over the stove, watched the water boil, the water had a film on it and slowly the silvery film vanished out of the steam and I stood and breathed in that steam trying to evaluate WHAT was in it. Those vapors haunted me. And I also knew that we were still showering in the water, and worried was that a problem too ? One official even tried to reassure me that some little trucks were small compared to the Lake, maybe the "contents " were merely "diluted"....It was only the beginning of the Watery Lies.

That fall as my concern hung over me like a Black Storm Cloud as I pondered the Unanswered Calls and Questions, and I reasoned that moving into town might be a better location for us, away from the Lake and mysteries of the Lake. Yet Ironically this Move to town would not only deepen my concern, but widen the mystery. But Moving to town would bring Answers and a Battle that I could have never perdicted that dark and stormy night. And the Red Trucks were a mere droplet in the toxic punch bowl.

So by late fall, Christmas, after much soul searching and dealing with a difficult ditzy landlord and Hungry Wild Animals on the Deck we found a lovely little bungalow in town. There was a picket fence and small trees and rose bushes and garden boxes and a lawn for the dogs, and a street of Victorian homes, a true neighborhood.We knew "Town" through some bookstores, a coffee shop that was our oasis, and a Youth Theater where I took my son. But as a homeschooling mom, I did not really KNOW the town, I only knew what it had to offer our family and my son.

So my son and I watched the Midnight Fireworks on TV , and we held our breath as the Fireworks went off, and waited to see what 2000 had in store. This was the year where Y2K panic had made people panic about power and the computers and stock up on Beans. We laughed, our computer was fine, the power was still on. And the next day we finished packing to move away from the Lake and move into Town. The last box packed my son's Y2K Time Capsule Box....As I packed those boxes I tried to be optimistic and pack away my worries...the Lake Worries.