Dear City of Austin Asshats,

Wow, it was HOT today, wasn't it? I mean hot hot – like face melting hot. Like squelchy leg sweat hot. Kids- screaming-in-the-car-like-you're-driving-them-straight-into-the-sun hot. The kind of hot where you want to, I don't know, grab said squelchy screamers and wander through a public park where there are splashy fountains shooting up from the ground.

But – oh no! The splashy fountains are turned off!

Water main break?
Forgot to pay the bill?

False! False! False! 

Now we have CRYING squelchy screamers. Who are even hotter than before. And who are now donkey-kicking their way back to the car.

It's not even really summer, you know? It's not supposed to be this hot. But here's the thing, City of Austin Asshats, I don't think it's the weather making it so toasty. I think it's the fact that your BIG OL' CITY OF AUSTIN ASSHAT PANTS ARE ON FIRE. That's why it's so damn hot around here.

Let's be honest, shall we? I'm a mom. I can call bullshit faster than I can simultaneously change a diaper, talk on the phone and yell at a kid. So when you tell me you petted a unicorn on the nose at school today, I know you're telling stories. When you tell me you have no homework because the teacher forgot, I know you're not telling the truth. When you tell me that's not poop smeared on the wall, I know you're fibbing.

And, City of Austin, when you tell me that the Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park was never meant for children to play in it – I know you're lying.

I mean COME ON.

It shoots water out of the ground. It was designed as part of an interactive park. Kids have been playing in it since 2007. And suddenly it's, "Oh, shit! This isn't for playing in!"


Feeble excuses (entertaining as they may be) aren't going to cut it. "Oh no! The outdoor fountain is getting dirt and grass in it!" "The water is not 100% chlorinated!" "If we let your kids play here, we'll have to get lifeguards… in case a jet of water, uh, holds someone down. In a puddle. On the sidewalk."

How stupid do you think we are? Can't you just say, "Oh, shit! The budget!"? We'll hate it, but we'll understand. We may even try to raise money somehow, or otherwise help you out. We may settle for certain hours that the fountain is on. We may be grouchy, but we may also work with you on a compromise. But making up lame excuses, and then trying to blame our children for being too dirty? Please.

If Liz Carpenter was still around she would be PISSED at you guys. She would ride over you with her wheel-y cart and then back over you just to make her point. This is a fountain meant for kids; for families; for people who are looking for free fun on a hot day, running over people with wheel-y carts notwithstanding.

So don't try to pass off budget woes with lame excuses. Don't try to pass the blame onto the state or the parks and rec department or my kids' muddy feet. Remember that a big part of your city is made up of moms. We smell shit everyday, literally and figuratively. And when that stinky smell insidiously wafts by on a hot day and prevents us from having a nice afternoon out in the town that we love, well, we're going to call you out. We're good at that, too.

Every morning, I drive over the South 1st bridge and I think of how beautiful this city is. I think about how lucky I am to live here; how lucky I am to raise my children here. I buy them local food, support local businesses, indoctrinate them in Keep Austin Weird vernacular.

So this kind of shit happens and I feel betrayed, City of Austin Asshats. I feel thisclose to ragey. If I wanted someone to lie to me I would ask my almost 4-year-old who threw her shoes on top of the car (answer: flying unicorns). But I know flying unicorns haven't jacked up the Liz Carpenter fountain. I know YOU know flying unicorns haven't jacked up the Liz Carpenter fountain. So let's be straight with each other, OK?


There are a lot more hot days to come. How about not fanning the flames with your fiery pants? How about, instead, cooling off those pants in a nice public fountain, made for just such a thing. Just be careful of your grassy feet. You might make the filters explode. And then the flying unicorns will die from shrapnel wounds and the kids will REALLY be angry.

Donkey kicks to you all, City of Austin Asshats. Make it right.

Concerned Mother


13 thoughts on “Dear City of Austin Asshats,

  1. It’s the COA employees trying to save their jobs/asses. As I’m sure you well know, there are more city employees per capita here than any other city in Texas & we’re certainly not the largest city in Texas…


  2. I just got off the phone with park and recs……the fountains are not on and they do not know when they will be on. Whenever I used the term ‘splash pad’ she said “You mean fountains?”……so anyway she informed me that the ‘fountains’ were never intended for kids and it was only for show. She went on to tell me that the water is not safe to be in. WTH? We’ve been going there for THREE YEARS! This is a conspiracy. And my kids are only 4 and they get knocked down at Brushy Creek bc there are way too many damn people there. So what’s up? Should we march on the pad??? lol
    Shannon Best


  3. Hi! Would you like to be interviewed by KXAN tomorrow (Tues.) morning? I’m the one who has organized a Facebook group around this and Jim Swift will be doing interviews with folks. Just let me know!


  4. Wish I could, Jennifer, but I think my mommying is going to keep me busy. My son is pretty sick tonight, so I’m afraid the morning is going to be full of doctor visits.
    I hope someone mentions the website, though. (That Shannon pointed out above.) Not only the pictures, but the wording.
    “Improvements to the filtration system are planned in 2010 to help keep up with the high usage.”


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