“Is blood supposed to be coming out of the faucet?” My Darling B asked yesterday when she went to wash her hands in the bathroom sink. The short answer was yes, blood was supposed to come out of the faucet. I was so desperate to get a plumber here to work on the water heater that I accepted an offer from Cthulu in exchange for my eternal fealty. Plumbing emergencies will make a guy do some weird shit. Cthulu’s a pretty good plumber, by the way. Shows up on time, gets the job done right, is actually very personable and professional, the cats liked him. Prices are a little steep. And there’s that blood from the faucets thing. But still, thumbs up.
It was the water heater this time. Last week Friday I noticed a puddle of water creeping out from under it, and by Saturday morning the puddle had gotten much wider until, on Sunday, it was snaking its way across the floor to a drain on the other side of the room. I called a plumber first thing Monday morning, the same guys who installed the water heater about four years ago, and they said they would stop by some time between one and two o’clock that afternoon, but when two-thirty came and there was still no plumber I gave them another call and they said they would have to reschedule, so I dumped them and called another plumber. Not Cthulu, although the guy who showed up was dressed in a green uniform. Didn’t have an octopus face or anything. His name was Pat. He hummed while he worked.
Pat took a long look at the water heater and figured that the tank had cracked along the seam. He says that happens a lot to new water heaters these days. You’re lucky to get ten years out of them, he says, so cracking after just four years isn’t all that strange. The good news was it was still under warranty, so all we’d have to pay for was the labor and whatever pipes and valves he had to replace. He said he could do it right away and I said go ahead, so he called the shop to order a new heater, then set to work sawing off pipes to disconnect the old heater while the water drained from the bottom.
About fifteen minutes later, another guy, I never did get his name, pulled into the driveway with a new water heater boxed up in the back of a pickup truck. He and Pat got it ready, hauled the old water heater up out of the basement and took the new water heater down. While they were cleaning up and packing the old water heater away on the bed of the pickup truck, I noticed that the screen door was propped open. “Has that door been open long?” I asked Pat, who said it had, then caught himself. “Oh, shoot,” he said, “the cats.” I wasn’t too worried that Boo had gotten out. She dived under the sofa when the big strange men showed up and hadn’t come out. I couldn’t find Bonkers anywhere, though, and he definitely would have taken advantage of an open door. I started a search of the front yard, calling his name and kissing the air. Didn’t have to search far or call his name more than once before he answered with a thin “meaow.” Couldn’t see him, though, so I called his name again. “Meeaow.” When I finally zeroed in on him, I found him cowering behind the wheel of Pat’s van. Ten feet from the front door was as far as he got before he chickened out on his quest to see the world.
It took Pat a couple more hours to hook up the new water heater to the water and gas lines and fire it up. And it burns with the fires of hell, cranking out water hot enough to take even B by surprise, and she can stand water a lot hotter than I can. Her hands are usually bright red after she washes them under the tap, but yesterday she jumped back and yelped when she opened the faucet the way she usually did and got live steam, or something close to it. I checked the thermostat on the heater and even turned it down a notch, but it was set just one notch above “hot” with several more notches above that. I’d hate to see what comes out of the faucets when it’s turned up all the way. Maybe blood.
6:52 am CDT
Category: adventures in plumbing, Bonkers, O'Folks, Our Humble O'Bode
Biking home from work in the hundred-degree heat yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t help noticing that the bike path was nearly deserted. There’s a trail that runs behind the office building where I work, and it t-bones the Capital City bike trail, which runs parallel to Willy Street and Atwood Avenue. It’s usually chockablock with bicycle riders in the hour immediately after quitting time, but yesterday I saw maybe a dozen cyclists as I tried to pedal home without breathing. That’s really hard to do, by the way. Not as hard as trying to breathe air hot enough to scald my throat, but almost.
I was puzzled at first by the lack of traffic. I checked the time when I stopped for the light at Willy Street, thinking it was just possible I’d left work too early. I got a pit in my stomach thinking I might have to turn around and go back to the office, but no, it was after four-thirty. I’d left at the same time I always do.
Riding up Atwood Avenue I saw one, maybe two bikers. That was when it got really weird. Bikers in Madison ride when the temps are below freezing. Surely, I thought, the hot weather wasn’t making them return to their cars? But, after riding as far as the Goodman Community Center and seeing maybe two or three more bicyclists, I had to stop calling myself Shirley and face the fact that Madison’s cyclists had met a heat wave that turned them into weather wusses. I was just about the only person out there yesterday.
I made it home in three breaths, by the way.
7:12 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
| Tags: bicycling, heat wave, summer, weather
The three-day forecast on the National Weather Service’s web page had blazing orange suns for Thursday and Friday, so when I packed my saddle bags for the bike ride to work yesterday, I stuffed them with a pair of rolled-up shorts, a baggy shirt and a pair of flip-flops to change into for the ride home.
Then I stepped out the back door into the garage, which was already hot and stuffy as a microwave oven that’s just been used to heat up a dinner of broccoli and peas. Phwuah! Pushing the bike out into the driveway where there should have been cool morning air, I took a breath and was brought up short again. Double phwuah!
Leaving the bike in the driveway, I snatched the saddlebags off the back and took them with me into the house, where I stripped down to my skivvies and changed into the shorts and baggy shirt, then carefully rolled up my office clothes and stuffed them into the bags. Even in my shorts, I had a healthy glow by the time I got to work.
6:01 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
| Tags: bicycling, office work
I was back in the lobby of the student union at my alma mater, UW-Eau Claire, scanning the faces for my mother, when whom did I see across the room but my brother. He was doing the same thing I was, and when our eyes met his expression seemed to say to me, Oh, you, too?
I crossed the room to shake his hand and say hi. “And I’m going to be waking up in just a minute, so would you mind waiting here for Mom? I promised her I’d meet her.”
My alarm started bleeping before he could answer. I sure hope he managed to stick around longer than I did.
bleeping bleep |
9:49 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel
| Tags: dreams
Well, that was a weird dream.
I had a grouper in an aquarium. Goupers are typically pretty enormous fish, but this one was only an inch or so long. I’m not sure how I knew it was a grouper, other than it was a dream and I just knew.
I had other fish in the tank, too, and the grouper was systematically devouring them. He would sneak up behind another fish, grab it by the tail and hold on to it for a moment. The other fish would get this, “Oh, shit!” expression on its face but wouldn’t try to get away or move or anything. Then the grouper would eat it in one big gulp before moving on to the next fish.
I sat in a recliner and watched.
I’m still trying to figure it out. It could have been my brain’s way of complaining that I don’t watch enough television.
5:36 am CDT
Category: story time
| Tags: dreams
Well, I’ve had the whole day off and all I’ve done is ride my bike around the lake, rearrange some books and watched videos of George Carlin on YouTube. A pretty successful day off, from my point of view. Oh, and I pet the cat. He really thought that was an especially good use of my time.
7:21 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel
Our water heater started leaking last Friday and has been leaking steadily all weekend, but because it wasn’t spraying water all over the basement and we still had hot water, and because I’m CHEAP, I didn’t call a plumber until this morning. It was the same plumber that installed the water heater about four years ago. I figured I’d give them a chance to make me a happy customer again, and was very pleasantly surprised when they said they’d send somebody around today between one and two. I had a few things I wanted to do outside the house, but took care of them this morning and was back in time to eat lunch, then passed a couple hours in the basement trying to clean up the mess I made yesterday when I moved a couple of bookcases and built book shelves.
One o’clock came and went. No plumber. Two o’clock came, still no plumber. At two thirty, and still no plumber, I figured I’d been patient long enough and called them up. After waiting on hold for a minute or two, the service department came on the line to tell me that they wouldn’t be able to get to me today and would have to reschedule. Wrong answer. And no apology. So I said I would have to talk to my boss about getting another day off and would get back to them.
Then I called another plumber. Maybe this isn’t kosher, but I don’t care. When I have an appointment with someone, and they don’t show and don’t call me to tell me they won’t be able to see me, I figure the deal is off, and if I can strike a deal with someone else, then that’s what I’ll go with.
When the service department came on the line, I told the guy about my problem, told him what had happened to me today for the sake of full disclosure, and asked if he could help me. When he wanted to know what kind of water heater I had and I gave him the brand name, he said that was the top of the line and should still be under warranty. He could send someone out first thing Friday morning. Fingers crossed, the water heater will hold out until then.
3:11 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel
| Tags: Our Humble O'Bode
Want some books? I’ve been in the basement lair this morning weeding books from our collection. Lots of the books have got to go. We’ve been hanging on to so many books that we don’t read and, so far as I know, have no sentimental attachment to, and I’ve collected – no, a more accurate word would be hoarded way too many novelty books over the years from thrift stores. They were fun to bring home and riff through, but they’re just taking up too much space now and we don’t have any place for them except in heaps on the floor, which I just can’t abide any longer.
So I’m piling them up in two different heaps on one side of the room now: One heap of books that I think I can take to Half Price Books and exchange for a little gelt, and books that I’ll have to either toss or haul to the thrift store to get them out of our house. The second pile is a lot bigger that the first.
12:49 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel
| Tags: books
The song stuck in my head this morning is Oh What A Night.
I have never liked this song. Never. I loathed it the first time I heard it. Loathed. “Hate” is too weak a word to describe my feelings toward this song. Only loathed comes close.
It’s not that there’s nothing redeeming about the song. The tune is really very catchy, and I rather like the vocals. It’s the words I can’t stand. If Elton John had sung it instead of The Four Seasons so I couldn’t understand any of the words no matter how much I wanted to, my feelings toward it would be a lot different. I’d probably like it, maybe even try to sing along. That will never happen, though, because I can hear all of the words. Every. Single. One.
Tim liked the song until I told him what the words were. That night I not only ruined a song for him, I planted in him the same revulsion that I feel for it. He probably even wants to blow his brains out with a bazooka, just like I do, when it gets stuck on a loop in his head.
Oh, what a night! Late December, back in sixty-three
Got a girl to give it up for me
Boinked her brains out, what a night
You know I didn’t even know her name
Who knew the best sex is anonymous?
Pegged her legless, what a night
I felt a rush and a rolling ball of thunder
This part about his orgasm makes me want to chunder
What a night!
When I read that the musical Jersey Boys was coming to Madison this fall, I was going to talk My Darling B into taking me until I heard an advertisement for it on the radio that featured Oh What A Night. Thinking about it now, I don’t know how I expected they wouldn’t include that craptaculous song. I guess I was just hopeful. Too bad. There’s a show I’ll never see.
8:01 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, music, play, show, yet another rant
| Tags: Jersey Boys