Here is [mostly] what happened in my world this year, in [mostly] chronological order:
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Day One - Saturday
I was cleaning out our refrigerator and emptying a container of old spaghetti sauce down the disposal, when red water began to rise in both sinks. A moment later, red began pouring onto the kitchen floor from the cabinets under the sink. I opened the cabinets and promptly got squirted in the face from the descending pipe. Kit ran in and so did the pups, so they also got spritzed with red; it was a family affair.
Our kitchen cabinets are white, and now they had a nice,
horror movie motif going on.
It was a pasta disasta!
We were expecting these gals to show up next
A two hour visit from our handyman revealed close to nothing. The issue was not with the disposal but deep in the piping which leads to a release drain outside of the house. The tool needed to further investigate a blockage was unavailable until Monday, so the kitchen was officially closed.
Day Two – Sunday
I heard running water during the night, but in a half-asleep haze I did not investigate and chalked it up to Kit in the restroom. When I let the pups out on Sunday morning, I discovered a pipe with water flowing at full speed in the backyard. I learned that this is the emergency release function to the water heater, meaning our poor water heater suffered a stroke overnight and, in her final hours, protected the house by sending the overflow outside instead of flooding our attic.
We had the water heater shut off as well as the pilot light, because we didn’t want to die in a house explosion. There would be no hot water until the heater was replaced. I was told, in an extreme case of coincidence, the kitchen plumbing and water heater events are completely separate and unrelated.
Day Three - Monday
It was a stormy morning and rained on and off throughout the day. I went to an early meeting then returned home to receive the handymen to continue investigating and working on our kitchen and water heater issues. I helped relocate all of the items from underneath multiple kitchen cabinets, and then I helped relocate all of the items from Kit’s closet in our bedroom, which contains access to the crawlspace underneath the house.
Since the water heater incident was deemed more dire, they mostly focused upon disconnecting and removing it, which took a better part of the afternoon. Disconnecting and inspecting her is what it would take to obtain a formal pronouncement of death, and she had officially left us. They connected a hose that ran downstairs into our guest bathtub to drain what remained inside her, then they carried her out.
Since the kitchen was not the area of focus today, it remained closed. The handyman recommended that we go out for dinner and then brace ourselves for a cold shower, since the new water heater wouldn’t be delivered or installed until tomorrow.
Around 7:30 p.m., I rationalized that it would be in my best interest to attempt that cold shower now rather than trying to deal with it early in the morning. It was as fun as one might imagine – I had goosebumps in places I didn’t realize were possible. I finished my shower as quickly as possible, and as I was drying off I heard sprinkling. I thought it had begun raining again and peeked out of the bathroom window. The sun was shining and it was dry in the backyard. So, where was it raining? In our bedroom, naturally.
Water was quickly filling up the light fixture attached to our fan, and it was raining from the ceiling all over our bedroom. It rained on my great grandmother’s dresser, mirror, and nightstand. Our bed was soaked, and so were all of the displaced contents from Kit’s closet from earlier in the day. I was horrified at the thought of it raining all over the house, but thankfully it appeared to be secluded to our bedroom.
This, my friends, is what you would call a person’s “breaking point”. I did not get excessively upset when my evening plans got ruined on Saturday from the kitchen sink fiasco. I did not freak out when I learned the water heater was dying upstairs and jacking up my water bill in the backyard. But I completely lost my shit when we had to move all of our furniture out of our bedroom as we were being rained on from the attic. Our first priority was securing a container to collect the water pouring out of the light fixture, then we removed my Nana Fergie’s furniture. Since it was still sprinkling after all that, we simply threw towels on the floor to protect the hardwoods, and we kept drying them over and over. The sprinkling finally stopped, and I set up large fans on either side of the room to ensure the floors stayed dry through the night.
One of the handymen came back out close to 9:00 p.m. and revealed that they had failed to close off the water heater connections upstairs. This caused water to pour in the attic for the duration of my freezing shower, which, in turn, rained down into our bedroom. He brought fixtures to close off the open connections in the attic, and Kit was then able to take an uncomfortable shower of his own, without incident.
Day Four – Tuesday
Despite my delicious dinner of Valium on Monday night, I had a choppy night of sleep on our living room couch. When I awoke on Tuesday morning in preparation of the handymen to return, I went to inspect the aftermath of our bedroom.
Before: Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to
take a "before" photo, so I will simply describe it.
It looked the opposite of the after photos.
After: The ceiling bubbled up and discolored; it looks as though
work had previously been done, judging by the distinctive
white rectangle shape that stands out.
Thankfully, the ceiling will not need to be replaced. The major concerns were buckling, which it is actually not that severe, and also mold/mildew. We were expedient in getting airflow circulating through the room and throughout the night, and a warm June evening quickly dried out the attic’s portion of the mess so we should be fine. They will need to scrape away the paint and resurface then repaint.
Our home is 81 years old, and some of the original cast iron piping was still present in the kitchen behind the walls. Over the years, it corroded and partially collapsed, which is what caused our plumbing backup. It has been removed and replaced, and I hear them finishing up in the other room now.
As for the old 50-gallon water heater, she had outlived her five year warranty for an additional 13 years. The shiny, new one arrived an hour ago and is being installed as we speak. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it goes well. As I mentioned previously, we would hate to have gone through all of this only to die in a house explosion.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
One of my earliest memories is riding in the car with my dad and listening to both of George Strait's greatest hits cassette tapes. We weren't allowed to talk when "The Chair," my dad's favorite of George's songs, played. I was content to oblige; it is such a romantic song that I am even more fond of now, compared to what I had the capacity to understand as a four year old.
During one of our drives to Dallas, while listening to the first of George's greatest hits albums, "Amarillo by Morning" began to play. When he sang the lyrics, "I lost my wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way," I earnestly wanted to know where he left them if they were lost. That was pretty adorable, admit it. And when I asked my dad to share his thoughts on the matter, he just laughed. I was lacking some life experience to help me fully appreciate what George really meant.
When George toured through Texas in the late 90s, one of his stops was at Texas Stadium (in Irving). Dad, who has been a cop in Irving since time was first recorded, had the opportunity to provide security work at the show. Between sets, Dad encountered George backstage and proceeded to tell him the story of his four year old daughter asking exactly where he lost that wife and girlfriend of his. Dad reported that George doubled over from laughter.
While I have not traditionally been an avid fan of the Country Western (do they even call it that anymore?) genre, I will always have a tender spot in my heart for George Strait. He plays his final show in north Texas tonight, and I wish I could say I'll be there.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Yesterday I completed the #100HappyDays challenge. I posted one photo each day for 100 days, and it was supposed to depict something that made me happy on that particular day. I participated through Instagram to avoid saturating Facebook with my photos every day, plus I felt that Instagram was a more appropriate platform for this particular project.
Working full time and going to school while balancing a home and social life keeps me busy and on the go nearly constantly, so this project was ideal for ensuring I took a moment each day to slow down, take it all in, and document one item in particular that brought me happiness. I am fortunate to live a life where I was often torn between multiple things that made me happy, and having to choose just one each day was more of the challenge.
I found out a lot can happen in 100 days!
I found out a lot can happen in 100 days!
Friday, March 7, 2014
1. It is damn good.
2. It costs less than those other frou-frou drinks.
3. It has hardly any calories.
4. It makes you look tougher than if you were drinking tea.
5. It gets handed to you in mere seconds compared to standing in line for your triple-tall-iced-cup-of-mi
6. It will win you the respect of man and beast.
7. It is not carbonated, so there's no fear of burping in a meeting.
8. It can give you an almost overwhelming sense of well-being with the first sip.
9. It pairs perfectly with breakfast AND desserts. How many other beverages can you say that about? Well, besides beer.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
My dad was a rookie in De Soto, about 20 minutes south of Dallas, in the mid-70s. As it goes with most new jobs, when you first join the police force you get to do all of the cool and glamorous cop tasks, such as: directing traffic, patrolling, working nights, weekends, and holidays, handling domestic noise complaints, etc. One night, my dad answered one such noise complaint from a woman who reported that her neighbor’s dog had been left out in their backyard and had been barking excessively for hours.
The woman immediately warmed to my dad, who went over to the neighbors and asked that they keep the dog from barking – perhaps bring the dog inside? – and they cooperated. He returned to the woman’s house to let her know that he had taken care of it, he gave her his business card and asked that she call him personally should she have any more troubles. She thanked him and told him that she had a daughter around his age, and she hoped her daughter would meet a nice man like him someday. The woman was my Nana.
A few months later while he was out patrolling, my dad saw a fine looking woman, ran her license plate (very professional, Dad), and he discovered where she lived -- the house was familiar. They ended up meeting soon thereafter through mutual friends, and Dad finally had the nerve to ask Mom out on a date. After a brief courtship my mom brought him home to meet the parents, and you could imagine Nana’s surprise to see him walking back through her door, just as she had envisioned not long ago.
When I was a teenager my Nana told me this story and gave me my dad’s business card from that night, over 25 years earlier. She said she had kept it all those years, knowing she would give it to me one day. I think it is worth mentioning that my brother followed in my father’s footsteps and not only graduated from the police academy at the end of last year, but he is also currently a rookie in De Soto.