Monday, August 22, 2005

Another Fine Mess

Saturday was one for the books. I'm in the upstairs convenience when I hear Linda yelling that the downstairs convenience is overflowing. Like I'm supposed to come running. I finish up as fast as I can and discover that, sure enough, there's a small flood in the downstairs bathroom. This happened once before and I knew the cause right away: tree roots got into the sewer line and caused a jam. The fun part is watching feces and murky water filling the tub. But, veteran of the wars that I am, I called Roto-Rooter and dug the dirt off the sewer line access so he wouldn't do it at his ungodly rate (approximately $155 for 30 minutes, $40 for every 15 minutes thereafter). Here was there and gone in an hour ($301.11, including the root killer I bought from him) and we're safe for now.

I am learning to hate trees. Oh, I know they're lovely, provide shade and oxygen and homes for dear little woodland critters, but that's only the part above ground. Beneath the earth, like Commie infiltrators in the fifties, they spread their satanic roots everywhere, clogging innocent sewer lines, choking garden plots, and buckling staid old driveways. I've also had their branches all over the roof after a storm, their leaves in my house's gutters, and more leaves in the yard. I expect one of these ruthless monsters to fall on the house one day. If I ever get another house my first requirement is that there is no tree within 100 feet, and those that are on my property never grow more than 15 feet tall.
Maybe those bonsai people have something there.

In six days I'll be on the road for the Bouchercon in Chicago, via Wisconsin. That is, if Northwest Airlines is serious about their scab mechanics keeping 'em flying. Expedia, from where I got my tickets ("from which?" "From whom" doesn't sound right when discussing a company) has sent me a couple of e-mails assuring me that there will be no glitches. But I always expect the worst and with the way my life has gone that still makes me an optimist.

I took Kristine to Wal-Mart yesterday so she could stock up on school supplies. In their dollar bin I found a DVD of MAN AGAINST CRIME, with Ralph Bellamy. The notes on the back say this show was unique in that it was broadcast live. Also on the DVD front, I finished the latest CISCO KID disk I got from Netflix. The stories were generally better than some of the earlier ones, but there are still some time glitches that even the kiddies must have noticed. What's also interesting--at least to me--is that Cisco had three different horses, often in the same show. I call them the 90% black-and-white paint, the 50% black-and-white paint, and the regular paint. It wasn't uncommon to see him climb aboard the 90%, ride across the landscape on the 50%, and rein up with the 90% again. The regular paint (think of the markings on Little Joe Cartwright's horse) was only used in the occasional chase scene. I can't tell if Pancho's horse had stand-ins or not. It's a basic palamino with a blaze face.

As I type this some moron in the area is blasting a stereo. I'm going to stop now so I can counter-program with my electric guitar. "Mr. Checkov, amp on stun."


Bill said...

As Rosanne Rosannadanna said, "It's always something."

Andy J said...

I can deal with management running the business end of the airline but I'm not too comfortable with "management" mechanics. Talk about an industry that self-destructed, with no relief in sight.

I have a better serice related horror story. When one of my geothermal units crapped out, I tried to get the guy who installed the system to come out. A letter and a phone call wouldn't budge him -- fortunately this unit controls the heat and air conditioning in the basement only and is a luxury not a necessity.

I finally got another guy to come out and $1200 later he "thinks" he's found the problem (of course the "fix" is really expensive). None too sure about his diagnosis I make a one hour plus ride to the guy that installed the system and beg him to make a service call. They're embarrassed that they forgot about me and come out and fix the unit for less than $400. Now I notice that the first guy has a guarantee on his web site -- We fix it right or it's free. I write him a letter and he seems amenable to a refund. Can't wait to see how much I get. And I haven't even threatened to immortalize him in a blog yet. God, I love these blogs!!!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

For a guy who spent thousands of dollars on horseback riding lessons for his kids, you'd think I could spell "rein" correctly. Well, "reign" was also spelled right, but it was the wrong word.

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