Sometimes, it pays to be an airhead.
This morning I dropped my husband at the airport in Columbus and planned to do some shopping with my kids. We proceeded to Old Navy and found a couple of hoodies (or as the Tiger calls them, "hoodie-hoods). I reached for my credit card - and found none. I'd left it in some undisclosed location.
I'm not a passionate shopper, but my little town is shopping purgatory, and just getting to Columbus requires close to an hour-and-a-half drive. So I was chagrined. No cheesy bread sticks and Sangiovese wine from Trader Joe's. No chance to drop the kids at the Macy's playplace while I shopped for pants. Not even a browse through Crate and Barrel.
And so we turned around in the drizzle and headed home, me fighting sleep at the wheel, the kids in the backseat playing out some wonderfully weird game involving a rapacious giant slug.
Any dreams I'd had of a little nap at home vaporized - all too literally - when we walked in the door of our house and were hit by a wall of sewer gas. Longtime Kittywampus readers might recall a similar incident from last May. (Go here for a picture, if you dare).
This wasn't quite as bad as last May's adventure in nostalgia plumbing. It was just our semi-annual encounter with the city's antiquated sewage system. And there I stood, alone, in deep doo-doo once again, and my husband on a plane heading for Vancouver.
From Adult Engrish, which - like my city's sewer system - is the gift that truly keeps on giving.
Time for Feminist True Confessions: I talk a brave game, but when it comes to all things mechanical, I defer shamelessly to my husband. So, even though we own a sump pump, I didn't know how to operate the dang thing. Luckily, I have the best neighbors in the world. Their dad/father-in-law (he who originally picked up that pump for us) happened to be in town. They all swooped in and saved me before the water rose high enough to damage anything.
And here's where my earlier brain fart proved a gift. If I hadn't left my credit card in the pocket of an old jacket, I'd have arrived home several hours later. I'd have found not a ten-foot puddle, four inches deep at its center, but a foot-deep flood throughout the basement.
The pump did the trick until the rain resumed. Then the water started to rise again as backwash from the city's drains overwhelmed our pump, no matter how hard it worked. I was waiting for the city crew to appear like choirs of crapalicious angels and clear the clog in the sewer main. To calm myself, I decided to play a tune on the piano. This sheet music happened to be propped open on it. No shit.
So I played it, with feeling ...
... and soon thereafter a crew of city wastewater workers who'd been rousted out of their cozy post-Thanksgiving homes appeared in the cold drizzle outside my door. They localized the clog, which was, indeed, on the city's side. In my basement, the crud first spurted like a geyser, then receded. The workers said they'd try to return tomorrow with a camera that can run down the sewer main and do a sort of endoscopic exam on it.
My dear neighbors kept the kids while I applied about a gallon of bleach to the floor. Then they fed me dinner. They plied me with homemade egg nog. The kids performed a magic show. When we finally ventured home at bedtime, the house - according to my little Bear - smelled like pumpkin pie again. With a slight note of bleach.
Far more dramatically than on Thanksgiving, I'm reminded of a whole bunch of ways that I'm blessed.