Monday, February 20, 2012

A very dry post, or: I used to like washing dishes by hand.

Most of the time, I like living in this apartment building.  My unit is spacious, my commute is decent, and the eighth-floor view is pretty spectacular.  I've only discovered two drawbacks:  Bubba, the Apartment Building A/C Unit, is below my windows, and it sounds like a 767 gearing up for takeoff when it cycles on; and when the Universe deals us an "act of God"-type setback, it seems to turn into a multi-day ordeal.

Twisted tree, August 2010. (Thanks, Amy!)
In August 2010, a microburst hit our neighborhood.  The storm only lasted a few minutes, but the damage was incredible: trees had been yanked from the ground, or viciously twisted so their trunks cracked, or both.  And a transformer down the street blew out, leaving us in the dark for 36 hours.  At first, it was kind of like camping.  We have a gas stove, so we could still cook (although the Microwave Queen here had to reacquaint herself with the joys of stovetop cooking) and heat water for washing dishes.  I bought ice and used the freezer compartment of the fridge as a cooler.  And we had plenty of candles.  But I've gotta tell you, 36 hours without power is pushing it.  The elevators were out, which was a problem.  The A/C was also out, which was a bigger problem.  I've never been so grateful to hear Bubba come on as when our service was restored.

Fast-forward now to our latest trauma.  I got up yesterday morning and turned on the bathroom faucet.  Nothing happened.  Hunh, I said to myself, and tried the kitchen faucet.  Same result.  Then I looked out the window.  There, on the other side of Bubba, stood a couple of our maintenance guys, staring at the hillside where our property slopes down to the adjoining apartment complex.  The area behind them looked for all the world like a river delta.  Ah, I deduced, we've had a water pipe break.

Little backhoe. Big mess. Bubba in the foreground. (Thanks, Amy!)
Since then, a little backhoe has been energetically making large piles of dirt, and workers have been going up and down ladders into the resulting hole.  Night and day, rain or shine, these guys have been at it, displaying dogged persistence.  I have every confidence that we will eventually have water again.  But right now, we're past the 36-hour mark, and it's getting kind of old.

In addition, Kitty and Suzu stayed the night last night after attending Katsucon (a local anime convention) with Amy.  Four women in an apartment with just one bathroom is already pushing it, but having no running water made things...interesting.  (Actually, it might have helped; we didn't need to negotiate who got the shower first.)

Today, I emptied the dishwasher and did all the dishes by hand.  I used to like doing dishes by hand.  No, really.  There's something calming about the warm water, the repetitive motion, the chance to let your mind wander.  Today, however, I had to heat the water, rig up a rinse basin, keep an eye on how much clean water I had left, and so on.  I never got to the Zen state.  I was disappointed.  Although there was something satisfying about having all the dishes clean, dry, and put away at the end of it.

This is supposed to be a writing blog, of course, and not a "Lynne is a whinypants" blog, so I'm trying to figure out a writing connection.  Hmm.  How about this:  The process of writing is kind of like washing dishes by hand.  Some days, you can easily find the Zen state, where the ideas are clicking and the words just flow.  Other days, you have to spend too much time on the mechanics to be able to relax.  But with dogged persistence, eventually you'll reach your goal.  (I grant you, it's lame, but it's the best I can do without a shower.)

One last thing:  my post on "love of language" is up today at the "For the Love of Love" event on Terri Giuliano Long's blog.  Hope you enjoy it.
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