Wednesday, November 05, 2008


What a crazy couple of days. Monday night I was out until all hours because I had a presentation and a rehearsal on opposite sides of the county, and I zoomed up and down the freeways like a teenager out for a joyride. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening on Tuesday, and readied us with a homemade veggie pizza and plans to loll on the couch watching the states turn colors while we ate.

Readers, it was not to be. About 7:00 p.m., when things were getting very exciting all over the country, things suddenly got exciting at our house, and not in a good way. Let's just say that the resident evil in our plumbing system reared its head, and there were no longer finite boundaries between different kinds of drains. Within five minutes, our happy home was fraught with peril, and I frantically flipped through the Yellow Pages, hoping those vans painted "24 hour plumber" actually meant it. I found one, and we choked down the now-stone-cold pizza as we waited in high agitation. Finally, a guy called back and said he'd be over in 30-45 minutes, but it was fully 2 hours before he pulled up. At that point, I was regretting the many beverages I'd enjoyed in the late afternoon, and experiencing both despair and heartburn.

I grabbed Jarrah, stuffed her in a jacket and shoes, and told David I was taking her to Starbucks. I couldn't think where else would be open at 9:00 that wouldn't ask too many questions about my intentions, which didn't extend beyond sprinting to their facilities with my past-her-bedtime child in tow. Jarrah was very confused about being strapped into her seat in the chill of night, especially when I couldn't really explain where we were going. When I opened the door for her, she said "Are we going far from our home?" I felt a shiver of displacement, and was tempted to wail, "Our home has forsaken us!" but resisted. Just barely.

The Starbucks had gone out of business. (Wot?) There was a Soup Plantation next to it, and before I could think too much I dragged Jarrah inside. The problem with that place is you have no business even entering if you're not going to pay, since everything beyond the velvet ropes is "all you can eat." I didn't care. At this point, I was jogging. I even lost Jarrah for a moment in the crowd. When we finally got to a stall, I must have peed for five minutes. (Later, when I told David this, Jarrah added, "And then I peed for four minutes.") Now I didn't know what to do.

I ended up buying the buffet for Jarrah, which is very cheap because of her age, and she worked her way through a mini-ice cream cone, a bowl of mac and cheese, and a blueberry muffin. Because I hadn't paid, I felt too guilty to even taste hers, and for once I was grateful for her chatty, leisurely dining style. I wondered what we would do next. Go to a hotel? I called Mary, who said we could come over, but they live 30 minutes away. I called David, who thought the plumber was going to fix everything. I had some serious doubts because of the magnitude of the problem. I told him to call us with updates. I felt a wave of guilt for keeping Jarrah up so late on a school night, and sad that I was missing the speeches, but then I started looking around the restaurant and--just like that--felt all aglow with hope and possibility.

On this fine historic evening, Soup Plantation was only about a third full, mostly couples and families enjoying a late dinner. I could only hear one table--two couples--discussing the election. But I noticed that the group of us all looked very different, and that most of the families were interracial, and here we all were, together by the grace of our shared enjoyment of muffins. Like a goofball, I had a sudden urge to smile at everyone, to wave and call out "Hello, humans! Are you as giddy as I am? Is this an exciting night or what?" Then I realized I really was smiling at everyone, and that they were smiling back. People were waving at Jarrah. Jarrah pointed out a cute little boy and said "Look, he has two mommies!" I'm pretty sure one of them was Grandma, but hey, whatever. It's all good.

I called David. He said the plumber was done, it was fixed, we should come on home. And we did. The house was bright and warm and David had been cleaning to make it nice for us. We made Jarrah's bed with blankets warm from the dryer. When the house was quiet, we lamented that we'd missed the speeches, but the glow remained.


Anonymous said...

oh im so glad the house got fixed!! that can be so miserable!

LunaMoonbeam said...

At the very least, you'll always have the comfort of knowing you can be quite ELOQUENT in the face of peril!

So happy everything worked out!

Caroline said...

I'm so glad that it was all fixed in the same night as it appeared!

erin said...

I had a incident like that a couple years ago when my three year old was a baby. Someone hit an electric pole and the electric was off all over the neighborhood. No phone (I didn't have a cell at the time), no heat(it was January in PA), no hot water. Nothing. I had to walk to a grocery store with three little girls at 7AM and call my mother. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Happy plumbing crisis was corrected.

I didn't flip the TV on until very late, opting to hear everything on NPR allowing my imagination to transport me to Chicago, sharing the joy with a million of my closest friends, celebrating a milestone for everyone.

I am so glad the nightmare that is George W. Bush is almost over.

Anonymous said...

Was there sewage in your bathtub? I HATE sewage in the bathtub, something that has appeared in our house twice in the last 9 months. We got the horrible word from our 24-hour plumber that we have roots in our sewer line.

We used lots of bleach & pleasantly scented candles to move past the problem, and we managed to avoid peeing in a bucket. :)


Sam said...

Yes, the dreaded roots. As for what was in the tub, I left all that up to David. When we got home, everything smelled fine.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

A five-minute pee? You go girl, you really do go.

I'm all giddy too. Still.