Plumbing and 3D

For Father’s Day, we got my husband a plumber. Since this was an unforeseen present, we didn’t have time to wrap him.

At issue was the tree next to the sidewalk whose roots were clogging the sewer line and causing the overflow pipe in the front yard to fertilize the geraniums. This was truly a sight to behold; it’s not everyday that you see flowers wrapped in toilet paper.

As our testing revealed, the clog was so bad that any water run through any pipe in the Money Pit, err…house, came out the front. It’s a shame we didn’t have more notice or we could have figured out how to funnel the water and toilet paper to the dying grass. (It’s tricks like these that can help your garden thrive during a California drought.)

Uncertain how quickly the plumbing company could send someone over and having drunk a fair amount of coffee, we were forced to flesh out several contingency plans should we hear the call of nature. We agreed the easiest solution would be to pile in the car, drive to Starbucks and try to inconspicuously use the facilities without buying anything. Not only are we cheap, but consuming anything would certainly lead to greater bathroom necessity.

However, we also needed a longer-term solution, should this turn into a serious plumbing problem. I decided such an incident could be classified as a disaster, and we would therefore be justified in breaking out our disaster preparedness kit with its big, yellow bucket that doubled as a toilet.

On the other hand, why go in a bucket when you have a pool, which everyone knows is really just an oversized toilet. This really wasn’t such a bad idea, particularly since we knew from experience that Larry the Pool Guy could neutralize anything (and was likely a chemist with the CIA in his younger days). Of course, if we could hold out until it was night and the neighbors were in bed, we could just go directly onto the grass. With all of these possibilities, things were looking up.

As it turns out, no drastic measures were required. Instead, an emergency plumber arrived promptly and after 3 hours of industrial snaking, declared victory over the tree.

To celebrate our functioning toilets, we decided to go see Jurassic World the next weekend. Not having seen a movie in a movie theater in about a year, Thomas and I were excited to experience how the rest of the world lives. We left Corinne with my dad and stepmom but figured 10 year old Elizabeth could handle the content. After witnessing the horrors of our 1960’s plumbing, I doubted  she would be fazed by a few dinosaurs eating people. The people-eating was in 3D, but then again, so were the contents flowing into the front yard the week before.

This was the first time I had seen a film in 3D and I must admit it was impressive. In fact, I found myself wondering if I could figure out a way to do my PowerPoint presentation at the next month’s Board meeting in 3D. It certainly would be harder to ignore me if my bullet points were floating in the air in front of them. I made a mental note to give IT a call.

Opening Remarks

IMG_3231 - CopyDisclaimer

This blog[1] was my cousin Wayne’s idea. If you find it as ridiculous and nonsensical as I do, then I’ll give you his contact information and you can complain to him directly. Wayne is a writer/director/producer, so if you are indignant enough in your complaint, you might land yourself free tickets to his dinner theater (which is excellent, by the way). In fact, maybe if I complain, he’ll send me free tickets. I’ll give it a shot and let you know how it goes.

Background

In all fairness, I suppose I can’t completely blame my cousin. After all, he was just trying to help me find a more suitable forum for my middle-age ramblings[2]. You see about 10 years ago I had taken to expressing myself (that is, dumping on everyone) through an annual Christmas letter. After all, it was cheaper than therapy. However, as I got older (better said, as my kids got older), my life became increasingly more dramatic – which meant I needed more cheap therapy – which meant longer, crappier Christmas letters. Unfortunately, like with many things, holiday letters have a point of diminishing marginal utility. Statistical testing has shown this point to be about 4 pages. In other words, if you send people holiday letters longer than 4 pages in length, they will find more utility in using it to line their cat’s litter box than in reading it.

I knew I had reached this point when I stopped receiving Christmas cards from people with cats. The true enlightenment came however when I started getting requests to provide my letter in an audio format. This request came exclusively from people who had no cats or litter boxes to line, which meant that they were forced to read it and more than likely would need to take a day off work to get through the whole thing.

I try to be accommodating and took this request seriously. After careful consideration, though, I was forced to admit that an audio version was out of my league. Although I had joined Toastmasters over a year ago, I was doubtful that I could get through a 12 page letter without peppering every pause with at least one “uh”, “um” and, the real signature of failure, “you know”.

The logical solution was to simply send out mid-year update letters. This worked for awhile, but it proved not to be a viable long-term solution. This year the jig was up. It was clear to anyone who read my June update letter that an update to the update letter would be forthcoming. This was mainly due to the fact that we had purchased a house that everyone started affectionately referring to as “The Money Pit”. In Italy they have a saying about the city of Naples[3] which can also be applied to our money pit: “le storie non finiscono mai” which translates to “the stories are never ending.” How many updates to updates can you do before physics steps in and you go back in time? Luckily, right when I found myself on the edge of the swirling black hole of update letters, my cousin entered with his blog idea.

Birth of the Blog

Wayne was a child computer genius. In elementary school he could do pretty much anything with his Tandem computer, and I secretly suspect he may have invented hacking. Consequently, he has automatic credibility regarding anything computer-related, including blogs. In all honesty, it didn’t take much convincing. I was almost immediately on board, since being a blogger clearly meant I could quit my job compiling boring statistical information into PowerPoints and instead could drop my kids off at school and hang out at Starbucks drinking vanilla lattes all day.

Whether or not anyone actually reads this will be seen, but at least trees and everyone in my address book can breathe a sigh of relief.

[1] For disclosure purposes, this may not actually meet the definition of a blog, since I don’t actually know what a blog is. Using the term “blog” makes me feel cool, so I’m going to stick with it.

[2] Yes, I’ve already started to ramble in my 40’s. I’m certain my kids will catch on by the time they’re in high school and start making plans to move abroad…permanently.

[3] On second thought this may not actually be an official Italian saying. Well, in any case, I can personally confirm that at least one Italian has said this. His name was Carlo. Sorry Carlo, I don’t remember your whole name or I’d give you more credit. After all, that was 20 years ago.