The Red Sea Crossing

It’s been pouring for days. It’s my kind of weather except when it impacts the toilets in my house. That’s where I draw the line. The toilets, the shower, the bathtub and the garage sink went on strike all at once and filled up with water. Grey, dirty water.

That required immediate emergency measures. I called two plumbers who were asleep and couldn’t be bothered with my plight. It was Sunday after all, the day of rest, and crises would have to wait. The third plumber responded and came over in 45 minutes. Meanwhile Alf was filling buckets of water from the shower and dumping them in the backyard. I was pacing the kitchen trying to stay calm. The rain continued. Calvin was on guard with nose quivering.fullsizerender-23

Finally Juan showed up in an unmarked truck. That sent alarm bells off in my head. Calvin began howling. He introduced himself and smiled with a mouthful of braces and spoke in faltering English. The alarm bells were getting louder. Calvin was grunting. Juan unscrewed the cap to the main pipe to the house and a volcano of water erupted flooding the front lawn. I was convinced we had called a hack and I was ready to phone another plumber, and then the police, if I could find either who wasn’t taking a nap. Calvin was hissing and booing at Juan.

Alf decided to go with it. Juan pulled out a snake and a camera from his truck and did a diagnostic. Sure enough the roots of our bushes were strangling the outflow from the pipe and would need to be replaced. Juan called two buddies who appeared too quickly – were they waiting around the corner? – which confirmed we had hired a gang of thugs to fix our plumbing. This was not looking good. Calvin agreed. He was showing his pearly whites and howling.

The gang worked all day digging and snaking and digging some more. Calvin snarled along with them from the kitchen. The guys took a break to get tacos. We asked where they went and now we have a recommendation for a neighborhood taqueria. Calvin got a gleam in his eye.

The gang continued with the dig. It felt like an archaeological excavation in my front lawn. The chewed up pipe was finally unearthed, and I began to calm down. Maybe these guys knew their job after all. Calvin, exhausted from his protective detail, had curled up in his bed and gone to sleep.

By the end of the day the plumbers had unplugged the back-up, got the water flowing again, and I had my toilets back. They said they’d come back the next day to install the new pipe and eat more tacos.

Calvin says, “I’ve earned at least a dozen tacos. Let’s go!” beagle




A Fast One

It was perfect timing for the drought.

Our front lawn has been in sorry shape for a while now.

We’ve needed new grass and fresh plants, but we’ve been lazy.

Now we have a perfect excuse to ignore it.  lawn

Except the other day, Pedro a Hispanic gardener came by and sold Alf on the idea of spreading grass seed all over our patchy lawn. He mixed it in with mulch and spread it everywhere.

The front of the house looks like a blighted patch of earth.

“Water it a little bit every morning,” Pedro said.

That was a month ago.

The blight continues.

We haven’t seen Pedro again.

Every morning Alf goes out to see if green is poking through.

“I see a bit this morning,” he said coming back into the house.

“Are you sure it’s not just the shadows of the bushes?” I said.

We send Calvin out to determine the true status of things.

He runs around sniffing the edges, sticking his nose in mulch, kicking up dirt.

“Pee here,” I say pointing to areas that need water badly.

“No! It’ll kill the seed,”Alf said.

Calvin’s too quick. He dashes from spot to spot leaving his calling card everywhere. We shoo him back into the house, but not before he gives us a toothy grin.

Calvin says, “You were hoodwinked. Nothing but foul smelling dirt out there. How I love it!”   beagle