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Monday, November 27, 2006

Cleanup time

The last time Jamie was in school was November 17.  All last week he had Thanksgiving Break; on Monday we met with his eighth-grade teacher, and on Tuesday Janet informed me that he was signed up for the YMCA in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, what with all the comings and goings around here in the past six weeks, it somehow escaped our notice that Jamie was not signed up for the YMCA that afternoon.

So the question is not, “how come you did almost no real blogging last week?” The question is, “how the hell did you manage to write that 3500-word response to Jodi Dean in one morning?” And the answer is, I dunno.  Thankfully, many of the words in that post were not mine, and all I had to do was copy ‘em.  But I’ve barely even peeked at the blog since then.

This year’s Thanksgiving was a lot like last year’s, except that we only had seventeen guests last year, and this year we had nineteen.  Twenty-three people for Thanksgiving dinner!  It was great fun, especially during post-dinner cleanup when we broke out this fine CD and began a half-hour Tito Puente Rhythm Jam in the Kitchen including Nick and his friend Brendan on congas and me on roto toms.  Roto toms!  I hadn’t unearthed those things since 1991 or so.  But it turns out that they sound pretty decent as makeshift substitutes for timbales, at least for the purposes of a post-dinner Tito Puente rhythm jam in the kitchen.  (I’m especially fond of track four, “Sacata.”) After a while Janet kindly pointed out that Nick and I hadn’t done any cleaning up.  “But we performed an important service,” said Nick.  “Quite right,” I added.  “We also serve who only sit and drum.”

Last year it was all about the water:

The most critical thing, of course, is plumbing.  Our house is about eighty years old, and its plumbing leaves something to be desired—like, for example, water pressure.  Water doesn’t flow out of our shower heads so much as ooze, and that can be a problem when large families want to take showers one person at a time.  The “indoor plumbing” thing was further complicated, this year, by the fact that one toilet had come loose from its moorings (oh, don’t ask), one shower stall was leaking to the floor below, and another shower/ bathtub had lost much of its caulking.  Fortunately, Todd’s boyfriend Hayward knows everything in the world about How Things Work, and better still, everything in the world about How to Fix Them.  So while Hayward replaced the toilet, recaulked two showers, weatherstripped a doorway and repaired a door, fixed an air vent behind the stove, and placed a jack under our bowing porch, I did what I do best, namely, sitting around making remarks about stuff.

This year it was all about the ceilings.  Hayward replaced that porch jack with a series of braces, thereby keeping the porch from collapsing and the house from rolling down the hill; he also compounded and reattached (don’t ask) the ceiling in Janet’s study before he and Todd repainted the room two or three times (experimenting with color and texture and paint quality), and, let me think, installed a couple of new light fixtures and kept everyone entertained with wacky and daffy downloads from the Intertubes.  Which, by the way, seemed to be horribly clogged and backed up with Ted Stevens’s email all weekend long.  I continued to make remarks about stuff, since last year’s remarks about stuff seemed to go over well.  Oh, all right, I admit that I did some painting and cleaning and air-conditioner removing and lawn-mowing too.  In fact, three years ago I did a pretty good job repainting my own study, solo.  But mostly I sat around and made remarks about stuff.  I tried to watch some football, but I don’t believe I have ever seen such a dismal season of football as this one.  My only interest now lies in seeing just how bad the NFC can get, and I thank the hapless Giants and McNabbless Eagles for taking the East to new depths of ineptitude this weekend.

But we didn’t let those sluggish Intertubes slow us down!  We had many fun games to play in analog space, including one I’m going to say more about, in an arbitrary way, this coming Friday.  Indeed, we did so many tasks and played so many games that by Sunday Janet and I had forgotten that we have “jobs.” Fortunately, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a profile of me yesterday, so on our way to Lowe’s for the eighteenth time (this time for switch plates and obscure varieties of halogen lights), we picked up a copy of the paper and reminded ourselves that we have to get back to work and be dangeral again.  Also, the mysterious Talking Dog just posted his interview with me this morning.  Merci beaucoup, le chien qui parle!  Your blog is very likely the most important fount of wisdom currently available on the planet, and I am honored to be interviewed on it.

However, I can’t say anything more about fun or work today, because today is the first day of deer season, and all the schools are closed here in central Pennsylvania.  So Jamie’s home for the tenth straight day, and because his desire to play golf with me yesterday was thwarted by that trip to Lowe’s (“maybe we can just play nine,” he said helpfully.  The kid’s a golfer already!), I’ve promised him that we can play today.  They say the high will be 62.  We should be fine, so long as we don’t run into any deer hunters.

Posted by Michael on 11/27 at 10:31 AM
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