Example A: Instead of enjoying a cup of coffee whilst typing, the ottoman tray upon which my Mama Bear mug had previously rested decided to upend said coffee onto tray, couch, self- but most importantly, not computer. The empty mug is now being cradled by a vanilla powder-scented baby doll. This is a first. And sure, while annoying, it doesn't really represent the bigger picture as well as-
Example B: The other morning, while crawling around on my hands and knees in Nora's bedroom, I smelled something awful. Sure, this in and of itself is not unusual in the home of a smallish child- but I was fairly certain it was something rather dangerous. I called in the troops. Or, uh, troop. I asked P.J. if he smelled anything like gas or a chemical, to which he replied that he was certain it was just Nora's diaper pail, proving that even my husband believes that we live in squalor.
I called People's Gas and they showed up ten minutes later. Wow, I thought. What a helpful and prompt organization run by the city! They'll get this fixed in NO TIME!
His sensor thingie went wild in Nora's room, due to gas leaking in through the drafty baseboard that led to the crawlspace (you know, the one we just spent bank trying to insulate?) He then outdid himself by finding four more gas leaks (at LEAST, said he) down by the boiler and water heater. Nervous but optimistic, I asked what would be best to do.
He shrugged. Gotta turn it off. Law.
What?! You can't turn off my hot water, cooking gas and general warmth in DECEMBER in CHICAGO! I politely informed him that I had a young child, two cats, pipes that I'd prefer not to have freeze prior to New Year's, and a general desire to shower.
He told me to call my "guy-" but warned me it would be pretty extensive work. And that's where it got ugly. I was informed that at LEAST one wall would hafta be ripped out upstairs (to even find where the leak MIGHT be), and I'd need to solder off THAT piece and put a T pipe in HERE and have "your guy..." And I felt my optimism falter. Maybe quiver a bit. And, as most of you know, my strength is not hearing technical descriptions and committing them to memory. It just isn't. So I asked him to write it down.
"Too much to write," he helpfully dismissed. So I then asked (and I HATE myself for this part) if I could call my husband to hear all of these instructions for our plumber. The kindly gentleman from People's Gas then told me that I have EYES, I'm the one HERE, just LOOK at this and remember that it needs to be soldered here and a T pipe put here...
And I really, really hate myself for this next part- but I got so overwhelmed that I cried. A lot. The kind of sobbing that you pretend you're NOT doing, the kind that you choke back to reply to A SUPER TECHNICAL QUESTION, but it only comes out in high-pitched squeaks. The type where the city worker looks at you with utter confusion/disdain, the kind where the toddler in your arms wonders what weirdo game we're playing now, and the variety that makes you see the dollar signs floating away into the ether like some deranged cartoon and also at the pajamas which you may well be wearing for the next week. That kind.
So he shut off the gas and left. ("Sorry. Law.") And I called P.J. and for a good few moments he didn't know who was on the other end, perhaps some tragically hyperventilating chipmunk. But, as he so often does, he took care of it. Namely by leaving work early. And getting our "guy." And crawling into the insulation to dig out pipes with our plumber. And moving stuff into storage, outta storage, into storage again. And talking me down from my useless cliff of hand-fluttering.
But it all ended decently well, even though we're sure the city of Chicago now believes us to be dangerous horders, what with our upended storage spaces and all. Our "guy" fixed both the downstairs and upstairs leaks WITHOUT tearing into any walls. (I imagine he also soldered something and used at least one T pipe.) I made an edible emergency crockpot Beef Stroganoff with none of the traditional ingredients therein. The gas company arrived at 7pm to turn the gas back on (after a manly competition with the plumber of Whose Monkey Wrench Is Bigger.) And, most impressively, the house which we constantly disparage did not get below 62 degrees, despite an entire frigid day with no internal heat. Let's hear it for brick construction!
But, as I think you'll agree, that anecdote is a terrible way to end the bloggy year.
So how about if I wish a WONDERFUL birthday to my lovely pals Natalie and Cassie, and tomorrow to my darling sis in law (and pal) Natalie! (Also, did you know how long it took me to realize why so many ladies born in December have the name 'Natalie?' Including my mother in law. I work with words, folks.)
And may the new year bring more blanket tents for fun and less for warmth.
More stellar programming and less cancelled shows.
More sushi and less Ramen.
More hugs and less missed Skype calls.
More happy tears and less Ugly Cry.
And absolutely no rats.