Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


There were puddles in the kitchen and puddles in the bathroom. Within two weeks of moving here, J summarized the situation: “We have a water problem.” Of all the messages on our answering machine since moving here in August, one from that second week has yet to be deleted; it’s from Thomas, our plumber. After three repeat visits from Thomas, we eventually figured out what the problem was in the bathroom. J insisted that we not call Thomas anymore. He proposed to learn plumbing himself.

Other random water leaks persisted. Last week, we discovered the kitchen culprit: a leaky defroster. Our solution was to place a cup below the defroster. Sure enough, the leaks stopped, but when we went to drain the water from the cup, we noticed it had frozen. Water expands in its solid state, and it took the cup with it. RIP.

Then there were the clogs. Our bathroom sink drains slowly. Liquid Plumbr and Drano have provided only temporary relief. When I woke up this morning, the situation was at a critical point: the water left in the sink from the previous night had yet to drain. Time to call in the big guns. Thomas will be here at 1 PM.

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