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    Minute Conversations

    Me: "Lily, have you ever thought about why I decided to adopt to form a family instead of giving birth to biological children?"

    Lily: "Nope."

    Me: "Never? Never thought about it?"

    Lily: "Nope."

    Me: "Do you think there would be a difference?"

    Lily: "Well, if you had biological children, you would HAVE to love them. But with us you CHOSE to love us. That is the only slight difference that I can think of."

    Mama left speechless yet again.


    Sweet Fancy Moses and Baby Whales

    I think I have temporarily run out of words. I am sure it will be short lived.

    I will say however, that it is quite surreal to pull up my Facebook page and find posts about myself from sites I subscribe to fed back to me on my own feed.


    Spell Check Mate

    Me: "Argh! I spell so badly that sometimes spell check doesn't even have a clue."

    Lily: "Hey! Me too! High five!"

    Me: "Ah, not sure this is something we should be bonding over."


    So This Is What I Did Today 

    I had planned on taking the kids to a Lunar New Year celebration in Charlottesville today, it didn't start until 1:00, so there was time this morning to get done some stuff around the house. While the girls washed the dishes and generally cleaned up the kitchen, I went into the downstairs bathroom that I have been remodeling (for the last two months) to chip away at the grout that I had mistakenly put around the faucet stems in order that the wider trim and new handles would fit over the existing stems. This was the second set of three handles and spigot that I had bought, the first set proved undesirable once home because though the spout was made of metal, the handles were plastic (really Moen?), plus the set was over $100 and I didn't even like the style. So I went online and discovered that the selection was far greater on Home Depot's site than in the physical store. I was able to find a set that matched the vintage looking porcelain handles that I had on the bathroom sink, and the set was less expensive. Once it arrived I was very pleased to find that all of the parts were made of metal, no plastic. The only problem I could see was that the stem end in the existing piece that remained attached to the plumbing was a 'D' shape, and the new female handle part was a multi pointed star shape; the two did not fit together properly. No problem, I thought to myself, I will simply get a new stem that had the correct male end shape. But of course, it was not that simple, because, well, life would be so boring of things were simple, right?

    Not knowing how the internal parts of a spigot worked I decided I would take the stems off and take one with me when we went out, stop at the hardware store, and get the appropriate replacement. I would first like to say here that I am not totally stupid, I knew that I needed to cut the water flow off in order to work on this piece of the replacement, and so went to the kitchen pantry that backs up against the bath plumbing and turned both shut off valves, one to the hot water, one to the cold. I then went back and removed the first stem, then the middle shower valve, without incident. There was a 3 inch threaded metal piece that fit over the stem, it screwed onto the pipe over the stem fittings. I pulled out the plastic stem pieces which I planned to take with me, leaving the rest of the mechanism in the pipe opening. I moved onto the last stem, using my pipe wrench to unscrew the metal sleeve as I had done with the others, when suddenly, all watery hell broke loose. What I didn't know at the time, because I was ignorant of spigot anatomy, was that it had been pure luck that the previous two remaining pieces of the apparatus had not simply popped out, because those metal sleeves I had removed? Yeah, that is what held the whole shebang in place. And that cut off valve in the pantry? Didn't work... Which I would have known had I tested it.

    But all of this certainly remained secondary to the numbing situation I found myself in, where I was being blasted with a steely jet of ice water at a rate I would have never imagine possible. Sweet baby whales, where was this kind of water pressure when I was taking a shower?! The dagger of water coming at me was so freaking cold that it literally was paralyzing my breathing while I struggled to block the incessant force of the icy demon. I grabbed the first thing at hand, a washcloth, and attempted to force the stem back into the pipe and hold it there with the cloth. Visions of a boy with his finger in the wall of a dyke came to mind. Understandably, this provided very limited success as the sword of glacial H2O continued to spew forth and I screamed for my eldest to "COME HERE QUICK!!" I attempted to give instructions on holding the washcloth in place between my struggles to increase the flow of oxygen to my lungs. (Oh God, can I get hypothermia from this?) While Lily did her best, I ran to the pantry thinking I had just not turned the cut off valve the right way, but I quickly discovered, it just did not work. It stopped the flow of NOTHING! And now the water was shooting into the pantry as well, soaking all of our food stuffs!

    "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!! What do I do?! What do I do?!" Yes, I literally screamed that as I ran back and forth, depositing icy puddles throughout the house. I called my neighbors next door, who, having grown up in this house, might know where the hell the main shut off valve to the house is. I quickly explain the situation as Lily screamed from the bathroom that she couldn't hold on much longer. Mr. B., who might know what to do was not at home, he was at work, at the hardware store, (ironic, but not helpful), but Mrs. B. offered to call him, which she did, and he said to call the town office to have them shut off the water. But it's Saturday morning! The best I am going to get is a recording! None the less, I called 411 for the number, which the robot voice said didn't exist... I had no choice, I called 911.

    "911. What is the address of your emergency?" I gave my address, apologized, saying I didn't know what else to do, and then told my story. And apologized again. The dispatcher assured me that it was okay, and told me someone would be right over. As I crouched in a foot of frigid water, shivering, hyperventilating, and near tears, I pondered that this would make a funny story. At some point. But not now. Definitely not now.

    About ten minutes later, a town police officer arrived and told me the fire department was on its way. The truck arrived, turned off the water to the house and I was freed from the frosty basin of bedlam. Deep breaths, deep, deep breaths.

    I then stood in the kitchen, soaked and shivering from head to toe while the puddle at my feet crept out around me, and listened to a young, volunteer fireman tell me that he was allowed to cut off the flow of water to my house, which he had done, but that once the problem was fixed, I would need to call emergency services again to have someone come out to turn it back on. As he explained all this, his eyes kept darting to my chest, where I was bra-less, my shirt soaked through completely. And I was very cold, did I mention that? I don't even think he was conscious of what he was doing, still, ever two words his eyes drifted. I crossed my arms in front of me, thanked them and showed them out. Now what? I just sat on a kitchen chair and thought about nothing. Nothing at all. I needed to think of nothing at all for a few minutes. I needed to be dry and warm. Couldn't someone please just get me some dry clothes and tuck me into bed and let me start the day all over?

    I'd like to say that I managed to fix the faucet right then and there, but the tremendous force with which the artic flow spewed forth apparently forced out a few small, but very important, parts to the innards of the mechanism. I figured this bit out after thinking I had repaired the problem, called back the sheriff's office, waited for the water authority guy to come out and turn the water back on, but finding that though the water no longer shot out of the wall faster than Superman, I still could not turn it off. So he had to shut off the main supply again and be on his way.

    After 4 trips to 3 different hardware stores, a lengthy explanation of  just how many kinds and sizes of faucets there were, being visually demonstrated by the hauling out of a dozen different 3 inch thick catalogs to prove it, I was told that I couldn't just buy any old trim kit, that I had to buy only one that would fit the existing plumbing or replace its guts. But God bless those many men, not a one asked why my husband/boyfriend/brother/any man at all, wasn't doing this for me. See? We have progressed as a society! At least a little.

    I spent the afternoon going here and there looking for what ever the heck part was missing; taking the entire fitting apart several times, comparing it to the one that had not blown out in order to figure where I had gone wrong and then finally going back to the store for what appeared to be a missing quarter inch gasket. And that was it, that little, tiny black piece of plastic. After replacing that, all was golden. And I was right back to where I had been at 8 AM; same stems, same pipes, same tub with no handles. But at least we have water, and it is staying where it is suppose to stay - waiting patiently in the pipes until it is asked to pour forth.

    It would have been far more pleasant to spend the day at a New Year's celebration, however, I now have knowledge of several things I didn't know before today; one is that the shut off valve to the tub water supply doesn't work, and that I should have tested that before proceeding further, lesson learned. I also now know exactly how a faucet works, its components, and how to properly install, replace, or repair them. I now own a special tool to shut off the main water valve to the house and how to use it, gotten on one of the many trips to the hardware stores. I also now own - as rough as this day has been - a sense of accomplishment that I probably would not have had had we just had a normal Saturday. Anyone need some plumbing work done? Yeah, well, call a plumber.


    Typical Night In My Head

    Horrible nightmare last night; my youngest and myself had been kidnapped by two men, I was tied up but managed to free myself, I quickly murdered both men (apparently in dreams I am a ninja), grab my kid and flee… to Starbucks, where covered from head to toe in blood I proceed to walk to the counter and order a double espresso, I then notice that everyone has stopped talking and is (understandably) staring at me, in explanation, I say to the barista, “I’ve had a very rough day.”