Posted in Home, House, Photography, Photography 101, Plumbing


So, here’s our latest #photo101 assignment: bliss. Select an image that represents bliss to you, and then add some additional information, like a caption, description, etc.

I’m tempted to describe bliss as the absence of snow. I’m getting tired of this theme, though, not to mention the real thing. What thing would constitute bliss for me? A waterfall cascading over stepped ledges of jagged rock? Sunset over the water? A walk in a quiet park? Beauty, serenity, yes, but bliss? No, not quite.

The answer hit me as I was getting ready for my day a bit earlier. A shower!


shower head
Humble Bliss

It’s such a humble thing in a very humble room. Our bathroom looks like it came out of a student apartment, but it has all the working parts. We have an old-fashioned claw foot bathtub and no way to easily install an afterthought shower. So we bought a hand-held shower and my husband actually created a ceiling mount for it. Some piping and connector joints later, we had a functioning shower.

Mind you, it’s funky, but the water’s almost always good and hot and the pressure is good and strong. I step into the tub tired and smelly, then emerge sparkling and inspired. In between is pure bliss.

Posted in Health, House, Insomnia, Plumbing, Sleep

Back to Hot Water and Holes

plumbing pipes
Nice, New Pipes

Well, one day and $700.00 later, we have new pipes snaking through the now-exposed walls with full access to water, water everywhere. I can take a shower, take a pee and wash my pots and pans in hot water. That is, I’ll be able to do that once I’ve cleaned everything up. My entire kitchen is powdered in plaster dust and I don’t feel like going anywhere near it.

I have to say, the plumbers were fast and really nice. I had another doctor’s appointment late this morning and they were finished and gone by the time I got back.

My health is…well, my health. I might have had a virus a few weeks ago, but it’s slowly going away. My liver enzymes are still elevated, but less so. I feel much better. Still no idea why I had the hallucinations. I saw a neurologist yesterday and he is is as stumped as every other doctor I’ve seen. I’m going to put it down to sleep deprivation and leave it at that.

In the meantime, I wonder if we can swing some new cabinets and a sink? The wall and ceiling repairs are covered by insurance, so that should be okay.

pipe run
How Do You Do? I’ve Been Hiding From You For 100 Years


Posted in House, Plumbing

Plumbing 101


Day one of our unexpected kitchen remodel. Plumbers en route to knock out wall and replace main pipeline. It’s an amazingly small pipe, but one that’s going to be difficult to get to.

More later. Taking advantage of the fact that I can still pee at home and wash my hands in hot water. After today? Who knows?

Posted in Health, Home

Bad Omens

hole in ceiling
Yes, Folks, That’s A Hole

I have this feeling that November is going to suck, at least based on how it started. In the past 18 days I’ve been in the Emergency Room of Mt. Auburn Hospital experiencing visual hallucinations, in and out of doctors’ offices, had multiple blood tests, a psych eval, a CT scan and an MRI. Tomorrow I’m off to the neurologist for yet another exam, followed by my second visit to my doctor.

The first set of blood tests showed no drugs in my system, at least none that would produce hallucinations. I’m not psychotic, my CT scan was normal, as was the MRI. No tumors or anything else that was notable. I was completely in-reality and lucid when I was hallucinating, so I’m not nuts, at least not yet anyway.

There do seem to be some elevated readings in my liver, which could be a sign of a viral infection. That would explain my feeling low-energy and under the weather these last few weeks. Not enough to put me out, just enough to make me miserable. The second series of blood tests confirmed that those levels were coming down, but still high. Lots of white blood cells, too, fighting off something.

And the hallucinations? No clue. I felt like somebody had slipped me a dose of LSD and I was having a bad trip. It was pretty awful – things coming to life and spinning around, then coming after me. After a while those weird spinning things started looking like spiders and snakes. I remember looking at my glasses after I started seeing those things and noticed that they seemed to be melting, or at least dripping some bright, golden color. My husband drove me to the hospital and I kept seeing things in the street – people, animals, even a shopping cart. They looked like wire-frames of the same, not fully filled in, except for the shopping cart, which is wire. I saw things at the hospital, curling around the nurses and other specialists who were examining me. I knew this was wrong, but I had no idea why it was happening. I still don’t. Maybe the neurologist will have some ideas. I sure hope so.

As if that weren’t bad enough, we started getting a leak of some kind through our kitchen ceiling, just below the bathroom on the second floor. We got a plumber in, who replaced the seal beneath the toilet. He said to call him again if that didn’t work.

It didn’t. Two days later we were back to a dripping ceiling, now bowing under the weight of wet plaster and water. I called the plumber back three times yesterday – no response. Called again this morning and begged – yes, begged – for someone to come over. “My ceiling is going to come down!” I moaned. “Please, please, can you send somebody over? I’m getting really desperate and I don’t know what to do.”

water damage on ceiling
Not a Happy Kitchen Today

That did it. Two plumbers showed up at the back door 15 minutes later. They started in on the ceiling and found the problem. Oh, dear. We have a problem, ladies and gentlemen. Our main plumbing pipes, the ones that are over a century old, have sprung leaks and will have to be replaced. That means the corner wall of our kitchen will come a’tumbling down and spanking, new pipes will be joining the plumbing forest we’ve already got in the basement.

The plumbers installed shut-off valves to the second floor water, so we can use it when necessary and then shut it off. I have to call the head, boss-man tomorrow morning between 7:30 and 8:00 am to arrange a time for him to come by and set up a work plan.

Fortunately, most of the work will be covered by our insurance. And, yes, it’s an old house (built between 1890 – 1900). A lot of the plumbing is new, a lot isn’t. Ditto for our electricity. Some of it’s still the old knob and tube stuff they used a century ago.

So, a mysterious date with Timothy Leary’s ghost, a virus that may be affecting my liver (or something else affecting my liver, who knows?), a new take on the concept of a dropped ceiling and – oh yes – paid work I still have to get done on time. We’re approaching the holidays, my clients need to market their way to eventual profitability, I need to finish up a wordpress multi-site installation and I need to move my network from one platform over to WordPress so it’ll all be in one place. I also have to launch my forum subscription series for graduates of my class.

At least it’s quiet…for now.

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That

She’s Bloody Rich, Mate!

Finally – I was able to deposit our insurance reimbursement into our painfully-formed new condo business entity. I actually had to get a tax ID number from the feds before the bank would accept the check.

In four days I’ll be ready to empty that account to naught. I bought a case of Saranac winter ales to celebrate our newly-established, and shortly-lived, prosperity. I’m knocking back a bottle of Saranac’s Lake Effect Lager. Just the thing, and it only makes sense if you live around one of the Great Lakes. Take that, snow! Or maybe it’s the other way around

Posted in Just Bitching, Life

It Slows Down, But Never Really Stops

Got a long-awaited special delivery mailing this morning. The hubby brought it in, and I opened my eyes long enough to ask if our wishes had come true. They had. Kind of.

My husband ripped open the envelope and pulled out a check for over $35,000.00. They had an amount down to the penny. Heaven’s knows how they calculated it. Hallelujah! Our reimbursement was in-hand.

Don't Spend It All In One Place

But, being related to our recent plumbing adventures, there wasn’t nothing easy about it. My husband came tromping home from the bank and told me he had been unable to either cash it or deposit it. The insurance company had made the check out to number-number Street Condominium Trust. There is no number-number Street Condominium Trust, just three names on a savings account that our combined households use to pay jointly incurred expenses. The bank wouldn’t accept it.

You hear that, God, Odin, Allah, Budda, Krishna and Jupiter? You stinkin’ hear that? We’ve got to create another account to cash the damn check.

I’m just loving this. Can’t you tell?

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That

About Clouds and Silver Linings

Well, I can point to one benefit of all this plumbing crap – we have a brand, new water heater. I am one happy camper. I took a shower tonight and the water remained hot. Hot! Not kinda-sorta warmish but hot, and all the way through the shower, too! I’m all pink and wrinkly and happy as can be. To quote my little nephew: OH, WOWWWWW! Then he lights up with a huge smile. Cute kid.

We’re still waiting for the washer and drier to get hooked back up. Once they’re done I’ll have an actually laundry room. Places to wash and dry the clothes, then fold them and hang them on hangers. OH, WOWWWWWWW!

Posted in Funny Stuff, Just Bitching


Just talked to my husband, who struggled to find a term to describe the events of the last month or so. I said I was calling it our “plumbing adventure.” He thought that was good, but also hoped it would be an adventure we’d never have again.

“I think,” he mused, “I’d rather go over Niagara Falls in a barrel or walk a tightrope across an active, bubbling volcano.”

I agreed. Yes. Fit me for a barrel, please.

Posted in Just Bitching

The Whittemore Street Demolition Derby

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re at it again! We’ve reached the next stage in our sewer cleanup and remediation: the restoration of normal conditions in both of our basements. We used to have wooden platforms which rested atop the old plumbing lines. These also held our washer, drier and water heater, not to mention the old toilet down below. Well, those platforms got soaked in sewage and have been removed. I’ve woken up to the sound of hammering, banging and sawing for the last two days. There’s a pile of very old lumber in our back yard. And, oh joy, after all the messing around with nasty residue, my house smells like a sewer again! It’ll dissipate once the cleanup and rebuilding gets finished, but I have to say this is getting really, really old. Almost as old as that lumber.

Basement Lumber and Old Pipes
I Don't Think I'd Use This for Firewood

As you can see, the fence hasn’t gone back up, either. Imagine walking down peaceful, historic Whittemore Street and seeing this behind one of the nicer old houses:

Now There's A Nice View For You!

How appealing! Our condo co-owners have given up trying to sell their unit for now. Who wants to buy a construction project?

Our basement is looking a bit different, too, what with all the annoying appliances moved out of the way so the wood could come out. What the heck, I was planning to visit my in-laws anyway. I’ll just bring another load of laundry with me when I do.

You're Not Doing Any Good Back There, You Know

Our water heater, also due for replacement, is sitting all by its lonely, with no company except a dangling electric outlet and water shut-off. The old toilet stall used to be on the other side of the brick column (behind the water heater).

Hey, Where Did Everybody Go?
I Lost The Toilet! I Can't Believe This - I Just Turned My Head And It Was Gone
Um, Has Anyone Seen The Sink? It Was Right Here A Minute Ago

The back of our basement is amazingly clean, relative to what it was before. But, in case you were wondering where all the stuff the used to be there went, well, look no further:

Then We'll Have To Put It All Back

Oh…did I mention I’ve been talking to the insurance people? We might actually see some money back soon. Cross your fingers, toes and eyes for us!

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Funny Stuff

He’s Nobody’s Moggy Now

So sad, to end your working life outside in the rain. I’ve started asking for names of antique restorers, though, to see if I can give the old crapper a new start in life. It really is kind of classy, for a loo.

The Old Loo, Out In The Rain

That’s not all, though. There’s an old, old paper holder that’s pretty amazing, rust and all. I asked someone to unscrew it from the wall. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an “antique” toilet paper holder.

Would the Sears Catalogue Fit In This?

I particularly like the sides. Here’s a close up of the star pattern. Classy. I have to say. Very classy, for a potty accessory.

Now, Is That Classy or What?

Our current holder is just a piece of white plastic. Nothing like it at all.