“One a ponce a time” was the way most bedtime stories began in our house when my children were young. Everyone wanted to contribute to the story and my tiny girl began each one with that exact opener. It was usually followed by tales of unicorns, rainbows and superhuman powers of invisibility and metamorphosis. Today’s story fittingly deserves that very perfect beginning….
One a ponce a time, a tired mom went to battle with the water company. It was a mighty beast with no unicorns or rainbows anywhere to be found. The mom, me, would pay the bill, but the evil water company would still send its henchman to cut off my nice flow of cool, clean water that should have been headed into our home. People certainly had to have doubted my tales of payment and probably wondered why I had not simply paid the bill. Through clenched fists and frustration tempered only by the desire to be heard, I would explain to the water company that my check had been cashed and yet, I still had no water. The evil henchman and I were soon on a first name basis as he visited monthly to cut my water off. I found he really wasn’t evil at all and sometimes he would leave the water on as long as I didn’t tell anyone. He knew he would have a service order to turn it back on within hours.
Unable to defeat the utility Gods, I handed the bill to my husband and sent him into battle. He proudly wrote the check, mailed it in a timely manner and watched in amazement as my friend returned at the end of the month to cut our water off. He realized quickly that this fight may be bigger than the two of us.
Meanwhile, life went on and as we left for work each day, we hoped for working utilities upon our return. My mother watched our daughter at our home while we worked to pay for things such as working utilities. One lovely spring day, my mother took my daughter to the local park in search of unicorns, rainbows and fun. My child spied a baby squirrel and ran to scoop him up into her hands. As she joyfully ran down the sidewalk she didn’t see the giant sign over the wet concrete that said “Do not step here” because somebody forgot to place such a sign, which could have proven to be quite helpful in preventing my tiny girl from falling face first into the shallow pool of fluid cement that on any other given day would have been firm concrete. My mother picked my girl up out of the wet mess and raced home to clean her up before she cured. The two flew into the house and into the tub only to discover that there was no water. A giant sign indicating such could have been helpful here, too. I am thankful that we did not have cell phones at that time because I can only imagine the words my mother would have chosen when she called to tell me of the literal mess they were in. The two traveled quickly to my mother’s home on the other side of town where my daughter was properly rinsed clean of all hardening concrete. She soaked happily in a tub of warm, clean water that was ever-flowing, much like that in the land of unicorns and rainbows.
It took several months before the water bill issue was cleared up and to this day I am thankful every time I turn on the water to find that it works. Of course, I do have a self-fabricated tool that happens to fit nicely at the turn-off valve near the water meter should I ever fall in concrete and find myself in desperate need of water. While it’s been years since the water has been cut off, I stand ready for battle at all times. Like the superheroes in my children’s bedtime stories, I can fight off evil and turn on utilities with one simple tool… automated payments. It’s a game changer.