A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One Crisis Averted

When I was married to an engineer, I never had to worry my pretty little head about opening a pickle jar, let alone dealing with a car that wouldn't start, a flooded basement, or ominous scratching noises coming from the attic. Very little goes wrong in the first place when you have loads of money, loads of knowledge, and nice new houses with state-of-the-art components installed.

Well, that was then. Lots of things go wrong now in this creaky old Victorian owned by a fiscally-challenged woman who's afraid to plug in her phone charger, let alone tackle a project that begins with, "locate your gas meter and shut it off." Although I'm actually amazed at how many new tricks this old dog has learned to do, new problems surface faster than I can learn to or afford to deal with them. These days I'm satisfied if I can just tell the difference between a real crisis and a major annoyance. If it's not life-threatening or guaranteed to lead to much worse in the future, I can live with a surprising amount of inconvenience.

Recently, I've been living with a bucket under a leak around my boiler. Well, under most of the leak. Turning down the heat even lower than usual (ouch!), washing the dishes in cold water, working out faithfully at the Y more for the hot showers than for the exercise, and making frequent trips down cellar to mop up and empty the bucket. Also tossing and turning a bit at night, wondering if the $$$ situation was going to improve enough to allow a visit from a licensed plumber before the intermittent dribble turned into a geyser.

Here's Amir watching his dad make the problem go away in about twenty minutes. Diagnosis: plumbing that was never up to code to start with. Black pipe (lacquered steel) fitted to galvanized pipe. Result: corrosion at numerous points, failure at one. Something that my inspector didn't catch, nor the three or four gas company repairmen who have serviced the system since I moved in, nor presumably anyone else who has dealt with the plumbing down there since the late seventies when it was installed. Seems patently obvious now that it's been pointed out to me.

Replacement of the corroded section fixed the problem. Of course, all the other points are disasters waiting to happen. So I guess I will stop writing about it now and go try to earn some more money instead.



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