Monday, September 29, 2014

No Progress, and Everyone's Pissed Off

It's midday Monday, and there's no progress. Front yard is still dug up, back yard is even more dug up. There was a guy here for a while working in the back, he's gone and I'm not sure where. No sign of anything in front, although I was told some people were out looking at it briefly early this morning.

And the few people I have talked to have been very pissed off. The Saints played last night, and New Orleans loves its Saints. And they looked awful. Oh lord, it was a dreadful, dreadful pigskin performance Sunday night. I can't think of a time  I've seen the Saints play worse.

We've been hearing all summer about how good the Saints would be this year. The road to the Super Bowl leads through New Orleans, they've been saying. Even when they got off to an 0-2 start, then limped to a win over Minnesota, people kept saying, "They have too much talent to ..." To what? Stink up the field in Dallas? Because that's what they did.

It might be time to say, "Maybe they're just not very good. Maybe this year the Saints are a bad team. Wherever the road to the Super Bowl is, it sure doesn't go through New Orleans."

Based on last night, the Saints will be lucky to sniff the playoffs.

And the guy who was here, briefly, was really angry because he said when the Saints lose, it hurts his business. I'm not sure how. Seems like if a sewer gets clogged, you want it cleaned out regardless of how the team played. Maybe when they lose – and play so bad doing it – people don't party as much and put less pressure on the sewage system. Or maybe when they lose, there's less tendency to flush inappropriate objects. I don't know.

All I now is, this is getting old.  I would like to take a guilt-free shower.

Friday, September 26, 2014

See, THIS is why I'm glad I rent

Last Friday, TLAPDay, I was surprised when a Public Works crew came out and started digging a hole in the front lawn, in the median strip between the sidewalk and the street. They jack-hammered up the sidewalk, got out a backhoe and exposed the lines running from our house and the obnoxious neighbor's house. Then they strung up some caution tape and went away.

I had been surprised because there was nothing wrong with our sewerage. Everything has worked fine since the day we moved in. Apparently there had been some kind of problem in a house across the street, but ours was fine.

I have written about sewer problems before. I don't like them, naturally. Well, who would? But they're never easy to live with while they're going on, and they always become much more complicated than you thought they would be.

They came back Monday, made the hole bigger. I asked them toward the end of the day how it was going. They said they'd made a mistake, but figured out what it was and now they were on it. Then they left. Tuesday they came back, made the hole bigger. Late in the day (2:30) they said they had run a camera down the line and found some more broken pipes so they'd had to fix them.

Wednesday they came back, tore a chunk out of the street, so there was now a trench from about three feet out into the street, four feet wide, extending back about four of five feet past the sidewalk. Big piles of dirt everywhere. Felt a little like a set for a play about World War I.

Anyway, they seemed to be satisfied, because Thursday they started putting stuff back in the hole. By the end of the workday (2:30) it was all covered up. They still had to patch the street and lay a couple of new sections of sidewalk, but the hole was gone.

So about 4:30, I throw a load of laundry in and start making dinner. A short time later I turned to go down the hall and there's water flowing out of both bathrooms (which are right next to each other. Go figure) and down the hall. Spilling from both toilets and up in the tub.

That's about when Tori got home from work. We mopped and scrubbed and the house reeks of bleach. And of course it's not fixed yet and we can't use the bathrooms. Public Works came back last night and tried to flush the clean-out plug, but it didn't work. So they came back this morning as early as they could and they're digging it all up again. The problem may be, they said, that the four-inch sewer line that comes down to the street from the house is too low. If they can't tie it into the six-inch line with a high enough drop, it'll be up to me (my landlord) to raise it all up.

Crew working on the sewer Friday.
But after working all morning, they now tell us there's blockage, and it's on our end of the line. Somewhere between the house and the sewer there's a clog. And that's on me (and my landlord.) Not them.

"So the fact that this happened right when you did all this work on the line is just a coincidence?" I asked the supervisor? "Yep," he said.

Well, it's possible. There's a reason they have the word coincidence in the dictionary, I guess. Still ...

So now our landlord has to get a plumber out here to flush out the line from the knock out at the back of the house. Lawrence is pretty good about that, so I'm hopeful this won't go on too much longer.

Because if we  don't have the bathrooms working by the time Tori gets home from work, we're going to a motel tonight. 'Cuz DAMN I need a shower.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Odds and Ends

Kids say the Darndest Things

We were at the mall, looking at displays of women's clothing.

Max: God, it looks like Dad was the fashion designer.

Kate: Oh, it's not that bad.

As it happened, I was wearing one of my more – shall we say flamboyant? – Hawaiian shirts. It worked, too. No salespeople crowded up to pester us.

A little while later, in front of another display:

Kate: Suddenly, I remember what I hate most about clothes shopping.

Me: The clothes?

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Another holiday has come and gone. It was a good one, very busy. Lot of phone interviews with radio stations across the U.S. and Australia. For me the day started as I ran out early, dressed in pirate finery of course, to Krispy Kreme to pillage a dozen doughnuts.

Mark and I used to do them sitting in his living room. He had two extensions, so we'd sit in his living room for about a day and a half, taking calls from all over the world, one year 80 in a 30-hour period. Now, of course, most of the interviews are solo, either him or me, which allows us to double our range.

Afterward, Tori and I decided to take a break and went out for dinner to a place that was supposed to have great ribs. It was a bar, Moby's. Didn't look like much from the outside. We parked around back and, as we walked to the door, Tori noticed a rat scampering along the fence. Hmmm. Well, he was outside. That's something. He was on the fence, not actually on the bar's property. And he was half the size of the cane rats we used to see on the island.

Inside it was – a bar. Long and narrow. A few tables. A bunch of people standing around the bar and in groups at the side talking loudly. It was one of those places where the acoustics magnified everything and we could barely hear each other over the clatter and din. (Clatter & Din? A noisy legal team? A bad folk duo?)

So the ambiance was far from ideal. But the ribs?

The ribs were magnificent. We decided to split a whole rack instead of ordering our own plates. A good thing. I could have eaten a whole rack, don't get me wrong, but it would have been a very bad idea. A very, very bad idea.

So you can't judge a book by its cover, a pirate by the cut of his jib, or a rib joint by anything other than the ribs.

On Television

You know those ads for a satellite TV service touting all the football games you can watch? You can become "the world's most powerful fan," or some similar BS.

Well, judging from those ads, the worlds most powerful fans are the world's biggest jerks. They don't mind destroying property or tearing up the neighborhood or just generally behaving like asses.

Please, save me from the world's most powerful fan.

Speaking of TV

Tori and I were at Best Buy drooling over the TVs. You have to understand that we got our TV for $25 at a garage sale. It's fine. Works great and I can see everything I want to see. But these TVs at the store were amazing, especially the big, curved screen set. We stood in front of it in awe of the clarity and the almost vertigo-inducing sharpness. As another scene came on, this one from a network TV show, I could actually see the actress had a little acne on her forehead.

"Whoah!" Tori said. "People are going to have to get better looking."

The set cost $8,000, so we won't be adding it to our living room any time soon.

Although, there was that great game yesterday, Broncos at Seahawks, that seesawed back and forth, had me on my feet shouting, went down to the wire, with an unbelievable finish by Manning, then an even better coup de grace by Wilson and cousin Marshawn. (I'll explain that another time.) When it was over, I was spent. Didn't even bother watching the Sunday night game, which is rare for me.

Imagine how overwrought I'd have been watching on that big, curved set. Probably better for my health that I stick with the garage sale TV.