Monday, June 07, 2010

plumbing horrors, memorial weekend and stuff that's been stuck on my camera for a while

Hi friends. We're still friends, right? Even though I have been extremely neglectful and only call on you when I need something? Like right now. When I desperately need to pretend there are not two men in my kitchen as I type trying to fix whatever horrifying brokenness in the plumbing that caused my kitchen sink to inexplicably gurgle and fill with a horrifying black liquid. That's right. My sink spontaneously filled with black gunk. At least my abs are getting a work out as my stomach folds into itself in horror.

On the plus side, those dishes I was kind of ignoring in the sink? As soon as I saw the stuff coming up, I quickly emptied the dishwasher and put those dishes in there as fast as I could. After I called the front desk twice in the span of 10 minutes begging them to send someone before I was forced to remedy the situation on my own.

On the other plus side, at least I was home when this happened!! Seriously, I have been traveling so much for work lately that if this had happened any other day I could have returned days later to a nightmarish black sludge spilling all over my kitchen . . . . okay, I'm making myself sick and the reason I started typing was to take my mind off the men in my kitchen who are plunging and filling up buckets they empty into my toilet.

So here is something positive:
This is my friend Alison and I and a horse we will just call Hank for convenience sake. I had the great pleasure to spend Memorial weekend with Alison, her husband and her adorable little baby Grady (more on him later) in Portland, where they live. Alison was a little bit afraid of my friend Hank. I sort of fell in love with him, especially when he got camera shy and tried to hide out behind me during our photo shoot.
Alison and Matt were such amazing hosts. Here's a peek at them from our Sunday morning walk through Sellwood and whatever this awesome park was.

And despite the fact (or maybe because of?) that Alison is carrying an umbrella, it never rained on us. We ate lots and lots of delicious food - mostly made by Alison even though she is still adjusting to having a newborn. Actually, I'd say she is pretty well adjusted. I mean she accompanied me on my longest run ever (over 9 miles!) while that baby's life is still being counted in weeks!
I'm just asking myself why it took me a whole year and a half to finally make it out to visit. No question, I will be back. Especially when there are views like this to behold.

And this too:

Also, this:
Isn't he adorable? He really is one of the coolest babies I know. No doubt Portland is a very cool town to visit. Here are Alison and I post-lunch just before I had to get on a plane and leave. You will notice how I am politely refraining from licking the remaining chocolate hazelnut concoction off my plate. I'm pretty sure chocolate brought Alison and me together.

After I left Portland I made a far too brief stop over in Salt Lake. Luckily it was long enough for me to enjoy dinner with my sister (although I was still reeling from the chocolate hazelnut thing with Alison) and drop in on my Ragnar team captain and her chickens . . . that's right, her chickens.

I think I was far more comfortable with Hank the horse. My sister on the other hand appears to be a natural chicken handler.

Maybe Amanda will convince her to become a suburban chicken farmer too . . . although I'm not counting on that considering her reluctance to simply be suburban.

In case you are wondering, my sink is not yet fixed. I have heard gurgling and wet-vac-ing and I've been told a plumber will be here within the hour with more serious plumbing equipment. I'm choosing to focus on all the crazy photos that were hiding on my memory card in my camera that I never thought to download before.

Such as this:

Those are my favorite NYC friends. Only now they don't all live here. That photo was taken on Ruby's last night in the city clear back in February!
Also way back in February, I took this photo of when Lucy came to visit me:

And no, I did not make up the hide-a-bed couch for Lucy. That was for my faux god children Max and Christian. Lucy slept with me. She is my therapy dog.

Speaking of my god children (I bet you didn't know I had any did you?) I sort of turned them into white trash when they came to stay with me.

They wanted to drag these fancy blow-up sleds their mom left with them but I was too lazy to haul them to the park and blow them up and I shot down Max's invitation to take a taxi (after I informed him I do not have a car). I told them garbage bags work just as well. They were pretty skeptical at first. But they looked like pros in no time:

I'm guessing it was all of that Olympics stuff we were watching the night before that sort of rubbed off on them.
They were going off jumps and everything, I just wasn't fast enough with the camera work to capture their awesome tricks.

Wondering if this post is over yet? Well, there is still someone in my kitchen monitoring my nasty sink and I have been informed that those paper towels I store under the sink didn't make it so no, I am not finished with this post.

What else was hiding on my camera? A trip to Chicago! I actually had to go for work and managed to arrange my meetings for Monday morning so I could spend the weekend in the suburbs to visit this little sweetie:

That's my niece and she gets more fun every time I visit. Also, her energy doubles or maybe even quadruples. I had a hard time keeping up with all of her demands err, requests. And sometimes she mocked me for my efforts! Like when I made this little beauty during play dough time:

She claimed it was "scary" and kept knocking its head off. I realize I'm not much of an artist but it is sad when a 2 year old is such a tough critic. At least she was a little bit gentler with her critique when she asked me to draw a lady bug on a rolling pin . . . yeah, she's a creative one. And no, it certainly didn't look much like a lady bug or a rolling pin but since it wasn't scary she gave me a pass and according to my mom who was just there it was still up on her easel.

I also got to hang out with this little chub a lub of pure happiness.

I'm pretty sure if you are ever having a bad day you just need a little bit of play time with my nephew and you will cheer right up. I mean, who could resist squeezing those cheeks?

They are quite a pair those two:

And finally, isn't this the sweetest dad and daughter photo? Sometimes it is hard for me to comprehend my baby brother is a dad but then I see him with his kids and I'm just so impressed.

Well, the plumber is now here and is working away in my sink with a vacuum and there are gurgling noises and foul smells. Hopefully it will all end happily soon so I can finish watching the very cheezy movie I recorded off of ABC Family yesterday - Stick It. I was more than half-way through and it was pretty awesome but I don't think the plumber or the building maintenance guy would appreciate it.

But to finish this long mess of a post off with something less disgusting than my plumbing problems, I will give you a brief update on the running situation. Ragnar is a week from Friday. That is both exciting and terrifying. In between now and then I have a hearing to attend in San Diego and a major brief to write. Not to mention a plumbing problem that needs to be 100% fixed before I am willing to leave my kitchen unattended! As I mentioned earlier (if you've managed to read all the nonsensical words I've shoved in between the fun photos), a week ago I managed to run over 9 miles! It felt pretty incredible. I feel obligated to tell you that I take a 60 second walking break every 10 minutes to get myself through. I'm pretty sure that is a mental hurdle but breaking the length down into manageable portions is the only way I can face it.

This last weekend my training schedule called for three 35-minute runs in 24 hours. Saturday I had to attend a shower in Brooklyn. You can see all the lovely photos from that event here. The mom-to-be looked amazing despite the sweltering heat and backyard venue while I cursed my decision to wear jeans (!!) and a silk shirt. The chocolate fountain, a bundt cake shipped all the way from Arizona, great conversation and the discovery of something called Ting soda made it all worth it. Not to mention a chance to catch up the star of the show Kamillah!

Anyway, a journey to Brooklyn is always an all day affair, especially when subway lines are confused and stop in tunnels for extra long periods of time (at least it was air conditioned!). So squeezing three runs in on Saturday was out of the question. Instead I opted to push the job to Sunday.

But Sunday morning I woke up feeling awful. Sure, there was the daunting dread of having to face not one but three runs but there was also a severe onset of cramps (not to overshare but of course my period started early on the day I wore white jeans! luckily no junior high embarrassing moments happened) and a nasty head ache and an overall feeling of malaise. By noon I realized there was just no avoiding the runs, I had to just push through it all and ignore the excuses. It was a terrible, terrible, terrible run. The temperature was around 90 degrees and I had to stop at every water fountain I saw but that did nothing because the humidity was so intense there was no relief to be had.

[Umm, I am sort of afraid of what is happening in my kitchen right now. It can never be a good thing when you hear a gush of water and your plumber utter shit under his breath. And yes, in case you are wondering, this plumber comes with the obligatory plumber's crack. What is up with that? Is it seriously a job requirement?]

Anyway, back to the terrible run. As it turns out the first 17 or so minutes of my run were the good part because when I hit my half-way point and turned around I discovered that the wind was insane. Apparently there was some sort of hurricane lingering off shore somewhere in the distance was sending some of its excess wind our way. It felt like someone was physically pushing me backwards. I hated every step. I even cheated. I paused my ipod, sat down on a bench and fiddled with shoes and toyed with the idea of quitting. But I didn't quit. I laced my shoes back up and started running again. I took a couple of extra walking breaks but I finished the run.

For run number two, I went to the gym. The monotony of the treadmill was infinitely better than facing that wind and heat and humidity a second time. I told myself I would do the third run outside. But I couldn't do it. I just couldn't chance running into that wind one more time. So I went to bed after watching the Lakers lose (hurray!) and got up at 615 to do my third run before meeting with my trainer at 7, well within 24 hours.

I only have a handful of training runs left before I pack myself into a van for the real deal. I wish I could say I was ready. Mostly I am just hoping adrenaline will kick in and carry me through. Also, I'm hoping this plumber will have something positive to say soon because I really need to go to bed. It has been a very long day.

UPDATE: It is just about midnight and finally, FINALLY, my kitchen is back in order. There is still one guy in my apartment mopping (I guess this wasn't all bad). Actually, he just mopped himself out the front door and I am left with a fan drying the floor and a promise that someone will replace the cupboard doors under my sink tomorrow. And yes, I am a little afraid of my kitchen right now but it appears they have done a great job with the clean up. So I'm going to bed. Thanks for helping me get through this terrible ordeal.


ali said...

Aw, I miss you! And I agree, that Grady is one cute baby! :) That is absolutely horrifying what is going on in your sink! I hope it is fixed by now, or they have gotten you a new apartment because, ew, can you go back??

You will do great at Ragnar! The hardest part is over now and you will have major adrenaline and team support getting you through!

p.s., I love that picture of you with the chicken!

Artax said...

I like the pictures. But wow. What in the world happened to your kitchen? That sounds truly horrible. May it never happen again.

Travelin'Oma said...

What amazing pictures!

Tiffany said...

I'm really sorry about your sink, except for the fact that it inspired this post, which I found thoroughly entertaining. Glad I finally got to see the sledding photos, and that picture of Lucy is hilarious.

One more thing--you know too many adorable babies and toddlers! WHOA!

KamilahNYC said...

The plumbing horrors sound just that --- horrible! Glad to hear it's resolved! Good luck on your runs and it was great to see you this weekend!

Mary said...

Regarding your comment on my blog, yes you are still in my Google reader. I love to keep up with your adventures around the world -- and in your kitchen!

Omgirl said...

Ew, that goo makes me want to puke too, and I wasn't even able to view it first hand!

those pics in the snow make me realize I never took my kids sledding once this whole winter. BAD mommy!

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