Tuesday, February 26, 2019

It Doesn't Smell

Today Dustin from Palo Alto Plumbing said those three little words dear to every homeowner’s heart: “It doesn’t smell.”

High praise, indeed.

Two weeks ago the wax ring on one of the upstairs toilets failed in a spectacular way, sending a tank full of water into the ceiling of the downstairs guest room.

My husband thought we should just let the ceiling dry on its own, but I felt that the least we could do (and I do mean the very least) was to rent a couple of those industrial dehumidifiers to try to suck the toilet water from the ceiling.

This all happened the day before Valentine’s day, so I told Larry that instead of a diamond tennis bracelet, I would prefer my gift to be industrial rental equipment.

At a much inflated cost, because water damage companies are almost always dealing with insurance companies and not my checkbook, we rented dehumidifiers.

After a week, the water damage guy used his magic moisture wand (ugh, that’s an unpleasant image) and didn’t detect any remaining wet spots in the ceiling, so he took his equipment away.

But the real test came today, when Dustin returned to put in a new wax ring and re-install the toilet.

He walked into the guest room, took a deep sniff, and said “It doesn’t smell.  I can almost always smell it if there’s a problem with the drywall.”

Cheers to that, Dustin!!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

An Act of Larceny

Redwood Grove is a lovely Los Altos park near our home.  As its name suggests, there are many redwood trees in the park.  There is also an archery range. 

The Los Altos Recreation Department, whose acronym, LARD (I am not making this up) is emblazoned on all their equipment, offers youth archery classes at Redwood Grove.

I know about the archery classes because my survivalist daughter, Amy, convinced me to sign her up for them when she was a ten-year-old.  The other kids who showed up were all a little peculiar.  I remember one odd little girl who always came in a tutu and a boy whose hat was so large it shaded his feet.

When it is my turn to drag the dog around the neighborhood, I often choose Redwood Grove.  When out walking, I always try to catch the eye of passers-by and smile, because although I am not a born and bred Californian, I have become a proud naturalized citizen of this friendly state.

The other day as I was walking down into Redwood Grove I passed a sulky adolescent boy who was carrying a LARD archery bow.

I tried to catch his eye and smile, but he was having none of it and scurried past me out of the park.

Just as I was thinking to myself, “Since when does LARD loan out archery equipment?”, I came upon a storage shed with a LARD employee inside of it and a wheelbarrow full of archery equipment outside of it.

It still took me a minute to realize that the young man had stolen the bow.

I am ashamed to say that my first thought was “Oh, wow, that’s a lot of chutzpah for a twelve-year-old, maybe there is hope for our youth after all.”

And then I was like, but wait, I’m a Los Altos taxpayer so that kid basically just stole from me.

But I still think it’s pretty cool that he had the cojones to pluck that bow from the wheelbarrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Read Less

Every year when magazines publish lists of New Year’s Resolutions, one that hits the top of many peoples’ lists is “Read More Books”.

I think my immediate family, at least, would argue that I should in fact read less, and perhaps do something about the leak in the roof, do some laundry, and learn to cook something besides vegetable soup.

Currently I am in three book groups.  That may seem excessive, but I don’t work outside the home, and frankly, I don’t work that much inside the home, so I have plenty of time to read.

And thanks to the waves of popularity that buoy up certain books, frequently my book groups end up reading the same books.

All three of my book groups, for instance, read the Pulitzer Prize winning title “Less”, written by Andrew Sean Greer.  Most of the ladies did not care for the book and did not find it amusing, thanks to its luckless protagonist. 

However, I have a pretty dark sense of humor and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the terrible things that befell Arthur Less.  The examples of the misunderstandings caused by his inability to speak German made me laugh aloud.

Most of my reading, though, is not of a Pulitzer Prize winning nature.  A friend asked me yesterday for a book recommendation, and I blanked.  All I could think of were books that I enjoyed but would be embarrassed to recommend.
Recently I have read and enjoyed Agatha Christie mysteries, Sherlock Holmes homage mysteries, those Rick Riordan fantasy books intended for twelve-year-old boys, those awful Selection books by Keira Cass marketed to ninth-grade girls, Dave Barry humor novels set in the you-can’t-make-this-shit-up state of Florida, a really dreadful Juliana Gray romance novel entitled “How to Tame Your Duke” etc. etc.

I was asked for the recommendation at a party of Duke fans who had gathered to watch the Duke/Carolina game.  Duke lost its mojo completely thirty-three seconds into the game when Zion Williamson injured his knee, so I had plenty of time to cruise through Amazon on my phone and find some titles that I had read and enjoyed that had at least some literary merit.

Oh, look at the time, I have to go make some vegetable soup now.