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07/16/2006

Shut up, Julia

Julia wrote:

I hate [my RE's nurse] and I am only slightly consoled by the fact that she was wearing jeans folded up to mid-calf in an attempt to convey "funky cropped" but succeeded merely in shouting "basement flooded with sewage." (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Happens to the best of us, after all. The sewage, I mean, not the pants. The foot-of-folded-wrong-side-of-the-denim-as-cuffs pants shouldn't happen to anyone.)

She's talking about me, you know.  While I am making a becomingly self-deprecating moue at her referring to me as "the best of us," I'll thank her to shut her Viognier hole right now.  Here's why.

Thursday morning found Charlie and me at the library, licking trains and irritably counting down the minutes respectively.  When Paul met us downtown at the appointed time as planned, he had news: our basement was flooded, awash in raw sewage.

Our house is set back from the road, down an incline from the street.  To tie into the city sewer system, we need to thwart gravity, using a pump to force our waste water up the hill.  I had never known of such an arrangement before we moved into this house, but to give you some idea of how critical this system is, I will tell you that when we first came here while house hunting, we noticed that the owner had no fewer than four sewer pumps lined up on a shelf, close at hand and ready for action should the need arise.

Now, those of you who are longstanding readers might remember that this is not the first problem we've had with our sewer pump.  It malfunctioned while Charlie was still hospitalized, and it gave out entirely last summer.  (Not flushing the toilets for a few days, limiting showers in high summer, and bailing out the bathtub with buckets was about as gay a lark as you'd imagine.)

Unlike those other times, though, this time the alarm didn't go off, the alarm that tells you your pump is malfunctioning, so stop flushing the toilets, already, you stupid gross toilet-using jerk.  So the overflow tank, which holds 50 or 60 gallons of waste water, had...well, overflowed.

Paul — taker-out of garbage, emptier of Diaper Champ — headed the early response team, and sucked up the majority of the, er, overflow with the shop vac.  Not to be outdone in the Toxic Avenger department, I then took up the standard with a mop, a bucket, a half-gallon of Lysol, rubber gloves, and a 24-ounce box of Cheez-Its to serve as my later reward.  I know I'm not the first to mop appalling tides of human waste out of a basement.  I may, however, be the first to have done it wearing an iPod, frog boots, and an Ann Taylor T-shirt.

And — shut up, Julia — my jeans folded up to mid-calf.

But it gets worse, and it's Julia's fault.  Not an hour after reading her taunt — I think that was a taunt, but because I want to be fair I will allow that it might have been a jeer — I heard the alarm go off again, only a day after the pump had ostensibly been repaired.  I apprehensively tripped down to the basement, pre-emptively frog-booted, and found another flood.

I can't prove she did it, but I'm pretty sure this is her fault.  But what's worse is that now I'll feel so unfashionable when I turn up my jeans to keep them out of the mire.  Thanks a lot, Julia.  Now let's just see what happens next time you ask me for reproductive advice.  ("Follistim is muuuch more effective if you inject it directly into your eyeball.  No, use the IM needle, just to be sure you get through all the, ah, eyeball-jelly.  Yes, of course I'm sure!  Who do you think you're talking to, some ill-dressed unshowered janitor?")

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