Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Plumber

There's no way for me to refrain from writing this post. The experience was designed to be written and immediately sent off to a comedian to write a skit. It was so unbelievable.

Thursday morning my landlord, who is very handy, came to check on our lack of overhead lighting in one room, the clogged kitchen sink, and the bathroom drain. Savvy with electric, he quickly fixed that problem. After pouring Draino down the kitchen sink, he said we'd need to call a plumber for the second two problems.

We have family coming for a week starting Sunday, so these problems aren't ones we could leave unattended. So, I asked if it might be possible for us to get the plumber either Thursday or Friday. He assured me that the plumber he uses is a one-man job and he's always in need of jobs. Hours later I was to learn why that might be the case.

He calls around noon to let me know he'll be coming between 2-2:30. I could tell he was a character already. He asked me if I had a few things on-hand around the house, so he wouldn't have to bring them himself. You see, he doesn't have/wasn't going to be bringing his truck. Interesting.

The time comes for him to arrive and I hear boisterous talking on the porch. I open the door to find him and a woman. I lead them to where they need to go and show him where the water heater is. He sees the weight set in the basement and asks, "Does your husband lift weights, because you don't. I can tell." Lovely chap. 

I then head back upstairs to where Ian's still snacking. The woman asks if she can sit outside in our chairs in the backyard. Not a second after I get to Ian, I hear a huge, loud, echoing burp arise from the basement and then a "KATHY?" I was to hear my name about fifty more times in the next hour, as I was beckoned to show him different things, help hold things, AND, when I found water gushing from a pipe, help clean up the mess. Since, you know, he didn't have his van and therefore didn't have any rags or towels, like he normally does.  (I was very generous in sparing all of the details here...)

Fortunately, Ian was behaving very differently than normal and stayed at the top of the stairs and watched from above. Whew. That was the only thing that went well that day.

The water that gushed from the pipe was actually from the corrosion of a whole little section of pipe!! And it just happened to occur WHILE a plumber was there. Okay, that was the second good thing. But, did I mention that I cleaned it up?

On the multiple trips he made through our house, he commented on how good the soup I was cooking smelled. And inquired about what kind and if I had left the bones in it? Are there veggies? Oh man, does it smell good. I didn't bite.

He fixes the bathroom drain and says it will be good to go.

Since the pipe broke, he had to run to his house and to Lowes to retrieve a few things, since he wasn't expecting this to happen. Before he left, he again called me loudly from the basement to ask where he should dispose of the 5 gallon bucket full of Draino and gross stuff. Umm... What is the protocol? My response: "If it has to be dumped here, as far away as possible from the house and out of Leif's electric fence area and in an area where Ian won't possibly explore."

He carries it outside and follows where I pointed for him to go. He walks into the shrub area and continues going about 15 feet before he attempts to throw the bucket. Now this is right out of a Three Stooges skit... he pokes his eye on a branch, and dumps the bucket in his own face, and down his whole left side. I kid you not. He starts screaming, "Hose! Do you have a hose? I need a hose!" Quickly, I run for it and he washes his eyes out for minutes on end. 

He then turns to me and says, "Well, now I can't clean up downstairs." Motioning at his soaked body. And he says, "It's all over the paneling and will probably change it to a different color. Super toxic. It needs to be cleaned." I ask him what is best to use to clean it and he says bleach. Something we don't keep around. His helpful friend says, that she will bring me some when she returns. 

They get in the car and he says, we will be gone for about an hour. 2.5 hours later... it's 5:45 PM and I am getting dinner ready without a kitchen sink. He comes back through like a tornado. He works on fixing the pipe and teaches me all about it, adding tons of time to a very quick job.

I start reading books to Ian on the couch in an attempt to have something of a normal evening for him before bed. I hear "Kathy!" He rushes in to teach me something new and ask what I do for a profession. When I responded with teacher, he said he knew it... my enthusiasm while reading made it obvious. 

He then mentions off-hand that he had a biking accident and proceeds to tell me all about it. AND THEN, I kid you not... he pulls his shorts down to show me most of his right left buttock to show me a rash (that was honestly non-existent by this point... I hate that I even can tell you that). I was in shock.

Before leaving the room he asks for a cup, a plastic cup. We have a few for big get-togethers, so I fumbled around looking for where I cleverly stored them. As I did it, he told me to guess what he'd be putting into it. I responded with, "I don't know. Bourbon? Whiskey?" No, I was wrong about both. I left the room after handing him one.

I turn around to see him STEALING a cup-full of soup from our pot. No permission, no asking. I was later thanked for giving him the soup and I only know for sure that he ate two cup-fulls, both not offered to him.

By this time it is almost 7:20 PM. Ian normally gets a nap around that time and so I started his bath. Midway through the bath Ian lifts to drain lever and it gets stuck exactly the way it had been before the plumber arrived. Bath's over.

I shout to the plumber and he comes back up, telling me how he wasn't going to mention it before, but it's missing some parts. Umm. Why wouldn't you mention that and fix it? And he was going to have to make another trip to Lowes. WHAT?!?!

I suggest that maybe he could just come back on Friday and finish the job. He brushes it off saying that he's already dirty and wants to finish the job. I desperately want him to JUST LEAVE, but I also don't want him returning to my house for ANY.MORE.DAYS.EVER.

He leaves and soon after Jim calls saying he's coming home. I let him know that the plumber is still around and that it's been a painful experience. And then I try to put Ian down. Fortunately, I didn't have to try too hard. I think it was a stimulating and exhausting day for Ian to have this man in our home.

Almost as soon as Ian's eyes closed, I heard banging and shouting in the basement. The plumber had returned. And, thank goodness, managed not to wake up our sleeping toddler.

I stand outside with his friend and chat for a bit and learn that she is his driver. She works part-time as a sleep tech and then helps him by driving. She doesn't know why he needs a driver and he's never stayed on the subject when she's asked him. Hmm. 

She chats me up about chickens and the chicken coop. Very sweet lady. She also informs me that this is the longest job they have ever worked. Surprising, in some ways. But WHY US?!

I walk back inside the house and hear water gushing AGAIN in the basement. Jim and the plumber were in the bathroom, where he was testing the drain of the tub. He never replaced the elbow pipe he took off. Water was falling directly into the basement. Yup.

And, you know what, he was too tired to clean it up at that point. Would we mind?

9:30 PM.

So long. In the end, I was grateful he was still here when Jim got home... I don't think I could have possibly explained him well enough. Our landlord must have a reason for hiring this man. Thank goodness he wasn't on our tab. At points, I was sure that the cameras were going to come out and tell me I was on a reality show.

Miserable. Almost hilariously so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Pinery & Seattle Family!

A few weeks ago Ian and I hit the road for The Pinery, to spend time with my family and to see family we'd not seen/hadn't yet met!! It was sad to leave Jim at home while we headed to one of our favorite places, but he'll be going back with us in August.

The first few days were wet and cold, but we enjoyed ourselves! We got to see Gigi (my grandma) the first night we arrived and that was really nice to have some quiet time with her.
 As always, we ate like kings. I mean check out this beautiful rainbow of grilled veggies...
And we went on some nice, misty morning walks.

One of the highlights for Ian, and for me, was that we got to use our bike and bike chair daily. Ian loves his chariot. One time he fell asleep and I could feel the bike tilting a bit with each roll of his poor little head.
 We read lots of books,
 hung out with Uncle Wihwih, and spent some time resting on the stairs.
 On Wednesday, the real fun arrived. My Uncle Owen and his family came to visit from Seattle, Washington. I hadn't seen him and Tania since our wedding (6 years ago) and since then, they have adopted two incredible girls. Ages 7 and 9, they were such sweet playmates for Ian, including him in many of their activities and following his lead into his own...

 Last year, when we visited The Pinery, Ian wasn't walking around yet. This year he was running and walking everywhere! He threw the stick for Leif and "played" cornhole. Due to the rain, we didn't get to go swimming because it wasn't safe. BUT, we did wade one time and Ian enjoyed it for a time.
 Grumps watched Ian for me during a nap, so that I could go kayaking with the rest of the gang. I returned to see them standing on the shore :)
 So lovely to be back in a kayak... it's been since Ian was still in the womb!
 The girls and their parents :)

 Ian enjoyed "sketching" with the girls, but he especially loved the beautiful pencil pouch Tania made.
 Jennessie was such a good sport and played with Ian in the canopy Grumps put up for him.
 These girls are so excited about sketching, reading, learning.... it's inspirational.
 More often than not, Ian could be found in the swing that me and my siblings used to ride in as babes.

 Äma played "Trot, Trot to Boston" with Ian. He LOVES this game. She also obliged Ian and did it his polar bear named "Baby," and his moose, "Moosey."

 We went to Farmer's Inn, a place with lots of different animals and opportunities to feed them.

 A shot of the siblings, reunited :)

 Ian enjoys completing some tasks now... such as carrying Grumps his apron. Poor boy... and so it begins.
 This is Ian's typical bolt toward the camera! I love how it's captured here. Pure joy with a touch of mischief.
 He spent a lot of time viewing everything from this spot on the porch. I love this goofy expression.
 Here he's more serious. This is how he'd often be seen...
 Jennessie loved using the lazer to check for the temperature of the oven. 700 degrees F yet?

Here's the Orris VW Camper, a gem. This is where Ian and I got to sleep. It's such an amazing vehicle with a great family history. Drivers by would shout and holler about it and Tania even sketched it one day. It's quite the specimen.
 Grandma came back for the pizza party and we spent some time writing Aunt Lizzy, in Switzerland, a letter from the two of us. Her biggest smiles came when the neighbor, Bob, came to greet her!

 Mom's birthday is on July 3rd and we had a big pizza party with the earth oven, with all of the fixin's. The neighbors, Seattle family, Gigi, and Ian and I were all present. It was a bit crazy when it came time to sing happy birthday, but laughter was enjoyed by almost all!!
 And then the next day it was time for us to bid farewell, as we headed back to Virginia with Grumps. We can't wait to go back in a few weeks! Hopefully the ran will be limited and we'll be able to enjoy lots of time swimming in the river. If not, time at The Pinery always offers so many different fun activities and people to enjoy.
Until next time!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raindrops & The Pinery

On Sunday morning Ian and I packed and hit the road for a week away from Papa. Here they are spending a few last minutes together singing songs.
Our first stop was in Paris, so we could drive up with Uncle Willem. Here is Uncle Wihwih, in one of his natural habitats: the blueberry patch.
 The next day we moved on to The Pinery! Here Ian shows how he just fits between the stairs. It will be interesting to see a comparison next year. Oh, how quickly they grow...
 It's been raining a lot since we arrived, but that won't dampen our spirits. We've gone on walks and bike rides. And we've loved sleeping while listening to the rain!

When the sun came up today, Ian, Mom & I went for a bike ride! He was happy to ride along.
 So happy to be here with my family and Ian. Missing Jim, Phoebe, & James, but excited for time with them at The Pinery in August!
More pics to come. New visitors arrive tonight :)