I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

"Swamp"

I walked barefoot in my back yard this week. Splg, splg, splg, as I kicked wet mud up my legs. Climate change is making NE Ohio a swamp, but I really enjoyed walking barefoot in March. It’s important to seize moments like that, especially since it’s supposed to rain all weekend. The overly wet outside made me think about my plumbing.

I studied the issue from a distance. You have to sneak up on plumbing, and since my plumbing is ancient, it has experience sensing new assaults. I worked up a game plan, hauled miscellaneous pieces parts and tools from the basement, flopped myself on the floor, and deeply breathed resolve before picking up the wrench.

The garbage disposal wasn’t working, so I figured it had to be the main culprit for the faulty drain. I remembered to turn off the electricity, and even read instructions online. Other than about an hour of searching for a mysterious ring holding the thing together, disposal removal went as well as such things can go. I just skinned the knuckles on one hand and only dumped about a pint of wet sludge on my clean floor. After rummaging through my pile of plumbing parts, a trip to the super mega hardware store for more parts, a gushing waterfall when I sampled my connections, another trip to the super mega hardware store, more parts, and a mild concussion when I bashed my head on the sink, the drain held water again; literally held water, because it sure wasn’t going anywhere.

Disassembly, snaking, assembly, snaking, assembly, plunging, time out, more online searches, more plunging, more time outs. I have now achieved a system that slooooowwwly lets water seep into the great beyond.

In times past, I would’ve called the hardware store for help. Not that mega super store. The store with old guys who actually know stuff. Alas! They closed my plumbing sanctuary last fall. I used to go there with my bag of corroded parts and a look of utter helplessness. I was whisked to the back with a gruff old guy who dumped my parts on the work bench while muttering admonitions about my lack of upkeep, instructions about future maintenance, matter of fact comments about the impossibility of ordering parts… while he rummaged around in countless little drawers for something that might be converted into the necessary configuration. Sometimes I got the sweet old guy who called me “honey” and “sweetie” and invited me to sit on a stool to watch.

I dressed up for the hardware store. The goal of “dressing up” was a delicate balance of competence and naivety. Undetectable makeup was required. Old guys don’t trust females who look too fussy to get dirty. Since my plumbing problems usually required multiple trips to the store as each succeeding part broke in reassembly, it was important to look more undone as the day went on. They really loved that. It showed effort and made them feel needed. I was lavish in expressing my gratitude each time they accomplished the impossible.

Now what? Impersonal trips to the mega extraordinary superstore? Lazy punks point limply to a far distant aisle when I ask them questions. I don’t feel the warm hug of being called “sweetie” or amusement when the gruff guy chastises me for negligence. And who is going to custom make parts for my decrepit plumbing?! I might as well start digging an outhouse because there isn’t much hope for the future.

I had a major plumbing disaster a couple of years ago (see here) , and my brother sculpted me a plumbing god to keep an eye on things. He sits on top of my refrigerator, but I guess I haven’t offered enough sacrifices in recent times. I guess it would help if I knew what I’m supposed to offer to a plumbing god?

In better news, my tomato seeds have sprouted, and my pear tree is in bloom. If the world ever dries up outside, maybe I’ll have lots of fruit this year!



26 comments:

  1. Thank you! Another set of smiles caused by your artful word choices!

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  2. Nice post barefoot Linda. My plumbing is ancient too but my doc says that's bound to be expected...

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  3. Now THAT is the preferred use for a plunger (knock on porcelain). I hope you got your drain fixed. Yowza!

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  4. That's a really creative use of a plunger Linda. You are much braver than I am. I would never feel confident enough to tackle a plumbing job of any degree. Sorry you lost your plumbing helpers. I love your story though.

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  5. Thanks! I'm lulling the drain into a false sense of security. It sort of works now, but it could work better. And aren't you funny Rand? :)

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  6. I HATE outhouses. I just had the honor of using one last week. My childhood fear of a monster earth dweller rising up from the stinky depths still haunts me. You never know.

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  7. LOL Sharon! I figure the monster is some combination of spider/silver fish/slug :)

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  8. So we have all your sunshine Linda and we have a hosepipe ban coming into force on 5 April due to the severe lack of rain. If you connect a long enough pipe could you send some here ;-)
    Jane x

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  9. PS love the new spring banner on your blog that would make great backing paper for a card! J

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  10. Thanks Jane! It's hard to imagine drought when my back yard has turned into a pond. I hope your flowers survive!

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  11. Heisann!

    Just a quick hello from me ;:OD)

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  12. Oh my! I just had plumbing problems recently, and your story is making me have flashbacks. After reading online and plunging (I decided not to disassemble), I gave in and called the plumber guy that I see on the commercial every morning - after a month of shouting at everyone - DON'T PUT ANY FOOD IN THE DISPOSAL! as they headed in that direction.

    Your talent is unlimited. :)

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  13. Oh gosh, Linda..you are a brave one..tackling plumbing issues! I love that your brother created the plumbing god for you....perhaps you can offer it some bread to go with the water? Ha! What a super swamp ilustration..so perfect for this post! And hooray for the tomato plants!! Wishing you some sunshine for planting!

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  14. I like those cattails growing out of the plunger! I have always loved your illustrations and accompanying personal stories -in fact, you inspired my post this week. Thanks, Theo.

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  15. Yay! I inspired somebody! Thanks for the thought Theo :) Maybe I should give the plumbing god a bottle of Drain-o Shirley? And it's just possible that I'm too cheap and/or stubborn to call the tv plumber Anita. I hope your plumbing is happy again. Thanks for the comments everyone!

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  16. Ha ha! Love your alternate use for the plunger! Beautifully rendered!

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  17. Hehe heh, I am chuckling manfully while I read your post (as opposed to giggling like a sissy boy which I usually do over at Jack's place). What a scream you are Linda - Oh what a great strategy to be dressed as you were - no too prissy, not too dirty, but just right.

    You know, I admire you so much for doing all that. If something breaks in my house I turn it off or cover it up or just don't use that door any more to get onto the deck.

    At the moment my septic is leaking and I have dug and dug and dug looking for the leak 0 and have given up. So instead I am going to build a tomatoe patch over the spot where it seeps. bet I have the best looking tomatoes in the neighbour hood - not sure about the taste though....

    haha and your Cattails make that plunger just look beeeeaautiful :)

    seey you :)

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  18. Now that God of Plumbing is just what the Plumber ordered. Your brother has talent too, eh?

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  19. I have to admit I enjoyed reading your post, even though it's not very funny for you I would guess. But you write hilariously. I am sorry the sales tactic didn't work out with the new super mega store. That kind of service you are looking for is about to become extinct, unfortunately. I hope you get the problem solve - either by the help of the plumbing god or some other divine intervention - such as a plumber for instance. The swamp illustration by the way is a little, lovely gem.

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  20. The illustration screamed "STORY!", and reading what followed felt a little like leaning over the back garden fence listening as a litany of disasters unfolds. Nice to visit you, even vicariously.

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  21. Hey Andrew, I'm a little inclined towards ignoring problems too. I have a theory that maybe, just maybe that let's the problems get worse over time? No, that can't be right. I'm sure your tomatoes will be extra nutritious :)

    Gotta agree with you Otto about my old guy stores becoming extinct. I'm just sad about it.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!!

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  22. Wonderful illustration! Hilarious, yet with a certain elegance & dignity.

    And oh, how I can relate to your post. Our old house seems to have particularly devious plumbing gremlins that love to devise imaginative new forms of water torture the moment we've (more or less) fixed the last one. I think maybe I'll follow your brother's lead & sculpt an icon to appease them. It may not do any good, but hey, it couldn't hurt!!

    At least we still have one of the wise old breed of plumbing supply stores here, but I tremble lest it meet the fate of other local hardware landmarks...

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  23. Ha! Your posts just make me smile Linda! You are such a wordsmith! combined with your artistic talent... Your blog is a delight!

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  24. Thanks for the comments, and long last your plumbing store Leah! Where will we be without the old guys who know stuff?

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  25. Hopefully, you've kept up with the tributes for your plumbing god. And even if you haven't, you can rely on plumbing contractors to keep your drainage system working and problem-free. Keep regular maintenance on your plumbing, so you can avoid another major plumbing disaster.

    Milani Plumbing, Drainage & Heating

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