Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sin of Emission


Devotion takes strange turns. I have loved poets and artists. I have loved doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. All pale when compared to my plumber. No matter how messy our past, my plumber and I have a present and a future. Since I bought this house, Don and I have been joined at the hip, or thereabouts.

You think your best friend knows you? Your priest? Your dog? Small, Russian fingerling potatoes. It's your plumber who knows you inside and in. If you live in an old town with a 1920 sewer system, then your plumber has confronted the real you, the essential you, and probably most of the essential neighborhood as well.

A call to Don is like stepping into one of those confessional booths. Not sure what he says exactly, but to me it sounds like, “Tell me what is wrong, my child.” And I say, “Forgive me Father, but it’s something sinful and icky.”

I had Don over last week for one of those horrendous jobs that’s too humiliating to put in print. Let’s just say there was an intimate gathering of all the neighborhood secrets in my bathtub. A couple of months ago, another house had these secrets seep ... well, never mind. Yes, we’ve got us some sewer problems in the High Dena.

Oh, he never groans or complains, but, though he smiles, Don’s eyes have the permanently wounded expression of one who continues to see too much of life and it never gets any better.

I sit in my office as he fights the underworld. My dogs paw at the office door to get to Don, because they just love him and think that’s probably the best job in the world and wonder if he needs an apprentice. Lord knows, the boxer especially enjoys the homework.

And then I hear water running and stuff flushing and Don whistling, and that means the crisis has past. Time to turn down the Bach and stop biting my nails. Time to run out to praise the man I worship; time to write all those zeroes. Time to be at my most gracious, smile my biggest smile, and in other ways imply, life up here isn’t all shit.

28 comments:

  1. This is offally funny. (Sorry - someone had to say it.)

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  2. The whistling must be a guy thing. I surprised myself many times when I realized I had begun whistling, instead of grumbling under my breath, after wrestling with a tough repair.

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  3. Susan C, you're a good punster, I wish I had the gift.

    As for me, I have to sleep with my plumber to get good results...

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  4. I once tried to clean out the pipe beneath the shower with a snake. It broke the pipe and water poured down two floors. I never told. I blamed it on the 1865 plumbing.

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  5. I feel for you, but mostly I feel for Don. You do paint quite the picture...

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  6. It might not be the most glamorous job, but there is lot of job security.

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  7. The pain in his eyes? Are you sure it isn't because his sinus are totally screwed up from sewer smells? Your post is hysterical... esp. after working at MiL's old house last night trying to get her darn kitchen sink to unclog. I blame it on her community's pipes. At least HERS was just the kitchen sink and not something further down the hall.

    Even funnier that the word verification is 'bacteria'. HUH?

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  8. Oh I"ve had a sordid love affair with Bobby the Bugman for years. Not only did he flush out and slay the rat that was loose in my house (we'll not dredge up that tale again!) but he can fix just about anything else that's not working. And the best part? Get him to talkin' and you can get all the latest gossip about the "lonely housewives" in town! I think ole Don deserved more than a check Hiker! :)

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  9. Susan C, that was dandy.

    A.H., every stroke's a winner again. (I think you said you play tennis. Do you ever lose there or fall--gently--off your horse?).

    My plumber's name is Rich (any questions?). He's a wiry guy who rides a gleaming Harley.

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  10. omg--such devotion, such fidelity, such piety. Some plumber!

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  11. "I sit in my office as he fights the underworld". Thats rich.

    Can we find a way to put that sediment/sentiment on a bumper sticker?

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  12. Gee, that Susan's quick. I'm just flushed with awe. (That's really bad, isn't it?)

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  13. I'd comment, but Susan still has me in a state of shock. My puns were in the benign area of sink and plunge.

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  14. Really, after this funny piece and Susan's comment, I'm drained.

    I hope Don reads this.

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  15. Another gem. Wonderful photo, Karin. Didn't realize you'd seen my bathroom!

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  16. You've got such a great way of telling a story, I love it!

    And now I'm going to have to find me a plumber :D

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  17. Once when I was singing the praises of a plumber who had just made things right again with our 19-ought-something house's innards, he told me plumbing wasn't that hard to do. He said you just had to remember three things: "Stuff flows down, payday is Friday and don't bite your nails."

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  18. Wonderful, wonderful piece.

    I lived in an apartment in Palms in the mid nineties. My landlords had not fixed the bathroom leaks despite constant complaining so I called a plumber. The guy that showed up looked like something out of a romance novel set in the early American colonies: he had long, jet black braids and mysterious geometric tattoes and such a sage way of saying things like "galvanized pipes" or "caulking" that I found myself subsequently looking forward to breaking gaskets so I could call for a repair.

    WV: vicabus -- the stuff oozing into your bathtub.

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  19. My plumber lives just a few blocks away from me in (no joke) a 5,000+ square-foot home on an estate-sized lot.

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  21. S, Membership has its privileges. Terry, shouldn't he have prefaced each case with “ideally?” Laurie, wish I could say that looks like Don.

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  22. I've never had a plumber; I feel like I'm missing something really important and essential.

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  23. $$$$ is right, but it is a lousy job. Bach in the time of crisis - an interesting choice.
    I heard a plumber interviewed on NPR a few year ago - their busiest time is Thxgvng - all that turkey fat and stuffing cementing the drains.

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  24. Wait a second, "doctor, laywer, Indian chief" hmmm, did you slip some sort of hymn in your post? Chant?
    Yeah, I know, it takes me awhile--

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  25. Oh, so vigorous and appealing. The photo is an editorial masterpiece.

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  26. '...joined at the hip, or thereabouts...' Oh, that's smooth!

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  27. Amy, be careful what you wish for! ;)

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