Plumbing antics continue

Our house was built in 1968. Young if you are a person, but old if you are plumbing. The plumbing in our house has been attempting to get our attention for more than a year now. Back in February 2011 Joey repaired the drain basket on our kitchen sink, and then almost immediately had to put in a new seal around the faucet.

Sometime in the summer of 2011, Joey fixed the faucets in the bathtub of the green bathroom. The real insanity came in January of 2012, when the kitchen sink backed up, and the bathtub in the master bathroom developed severe leaks.

Here we are in October of 2012, and the kitchen faucet leak has reemerged with a vengeance.  Joey and I had agreed when he made the last repair that if it started leaking again, we would not try to fix it, but simply replace the whole faucet assembly.  As Misty commented, “Spraying water was that old faucet’s raison d’etre. It’s dead now. Shows what choosing an inconsiderate raison d’etre can do for one.”

We decided rather than paying money for exactly the same faucet, which we were not particularly fond of, we would upgrade to a taller faucet.  As it turned out we upgraded not only the faucet, but also our filtered water solution.  We got a lovely faucet with integrated sprayer, which left a spot for a separate filtered water spigot.  Fantastic!
New faucet


Waterlogged afternoon

Joey, Elias, and Satchel - uncertain
Sujata and Aaron invited us over to meet Elias Aaron Camp, the newest member of their family on Sunday.  We took BBQ and went over for the afternoon.  We played with Satchel and held Elias.  We took a dip in the totally awesome salt water swimming pool.  As we were getting out of the pool, the weather went from lovely to quite threatening, with loud thundering.  The party moved inside, where we ate dinner, talked, and watched Thomas the Train.  By the time we left, the sky had opened up and was pouring rain.  Joey got us home safely and pretty quickly given the weather.  I am really looking forward to our next opportunity to visit the Camps.

Asher in a tree

Asher relaxing in a tree

Today was my nephew’s third birthday party (his actual birthday was yesterday).  His birthday party was at the Northwest Recreation Center.  My older godson was very excited about attending the party because he remembered that the Northwest Recreation Center is the “park with the climbing tree”.  He actually climbed the tree several times.  I took a few nice pictures, all of which were vetted and approved by their subject.

Asher climbing a tree

Joey has many more pictures of the party itself, which I am sure he will post in a day or two.

Shopping with Mom and Laura

My dad had surgery on his back yesterday. My sister, Laura, and I came up to Maryland to be with my mom and dad for a few days. The surgery went very well, and Dad is resting and recovering. After visiting with Dad today, Mom, Laura and I went over to the mall and went shopping.

Laura trying on a gown

Laura tried on some fancy gowns. She found a beautiful gown that looked amazing on her. Hopefully some wonderful patron will read this post and donate the money necessary to make the purchase. We left the gown on the rack, but I did get a picture.

We shopped for a purse for mom, and pants for me. Both of those goals were a bust. Mom is still searching for the perfect bag: not too big, not to small, a strap long enough to put over her shoulder, classic but fun design. She found two she liked, one was Burberry, and the other was Jimmy Choo. So she has great taste, but the amount of money they were asking was crazy talk, and just not something any of us could get behind!

Mom after a long afternoon of shopping

I am looking for taupe, tan, or camel dress pants that are not stretch, and are lined. I think I must be looking for the unicorn of pants. It seems that no one makes lined pants any more. I just don’t know what this world is coming to if I can’t find lined pants at Nordstrom’s! The sales lady said that the lining was originally part of pant construction to “hide the flaws”. I am thinking, “don’t we still have flaws to hide?”. But she clarified that it was to hide the flaws in manufacturing, and now that the computer controlled machines are so much more accurate, there is no need for the lining any more. I beg to differ! I will be looking at Macy’s when I get to North Carolina, where the Southpoint Macy’s has never failed me on the business clothing front.

Liam and the dirty sheep

Several years ago I bought a pair of Haflinger slippers with a sheep on them. The sheep is gray. It started out gray. But Lee and Billy thought that it started out white, and that I just took such bad care of my things that they turned gray from dirt. They didn’t tell me that for a long time, it came out years after the fact. Of course, I still have the sheep slippers. We now refer to the slippers as the “dirty, dirty sheep”.

Last week Joey was taking care of Liam and I was working in my home office. Joey, Liam and Elanor came in to visit for a minute. Liam found one of the sheep slippers. He was completely fascinated by it. After about a minute of watching him play, I took out the iPhone and recorded his play. Enjoy!

Liam at the Grocery Store

Liam at the grocery storeI got Liam a onesie with a picture of a dump truck, and the words “Tipper Lorry” on it at the Brooklyn Flea back in July.  It was way to big for him at that time, and he has finally gotten big enough to wear it.  Billy sent me this photo while I was traveling yesterday.

Trip to Austin and visit with friends

Por Vida

While I was in North Carolina I had a bit of a scratchy throat, and some allergy type symptoms.  Nothing too terrible.  Then I got on a plane and flew home.  While I am glad to be home, the airplane air, and the pressure that flying put on my ears pushed me over into really congested and uncomfortable!

I landed back in Austin later than expected due to a delayed flight out of Raleigh-Durham airport this morning.  The flight delay was due to “crew rest”.  Sujata commented on that, “crew rest = hangover”.  In any case, the flight took off late enough that I missed my connection in Dallas, and that put me in Austin too late for Sujata to pick me up at the airport.  We had a meeting at 14:00 that she was in charge of, and I didn’t hit the ground in Austin until 13:45.

No problemo.  I got my luggage, and hopped in a cab for the very short trip over to the office.  I should have walked into Sujata’s office at about 14:05.  No such luck.  As my cab turned into the office parking lot the truck that had made the turn just in front of us stopped suddenly and my cab smashed into the back of it!  So I sat there, just a few meters from the door of the office, waiting for the driver to sort out the insurance stuff with the driver of the truck.  Happily it was very low speed, and no one was hurt.  The cars were barely scratched.

I finally made it to Sujata’s office.  We finished up our meeting, and then we went over to the Tea Embassy to visit, drink tea, and relax.  Sujata was kind enough to shuttle me and my luggage a bit further north to meet Joey.

Later in the evening Joey and I went over to see Megan and Robert.  They were throwing a little party to thank the folks who have taken care of their dogs when they are out of town.  We had a great time.  As always, Megan had a tasty and elegantly laid out spread.  It was a very long day, but other than the congestion and the wreck, it was totally awesome.

Walnut Creek Park

Kay, Daniel, LD, Ela, and I went for a walk through Walnut Creek Metro Park this afternoon.  Ela was almost invisible as she led Daniel through the tall grass.

Chuy’s and a Pub Quiz

Joey and I had a big social afternoon and evening.  We started off joining Rachel, Debra, Asher, and Chiara at Chuy’s for a dinner and a lovely visit.  Asher was wearing the shirt I brought him from Japan, and Chiara was wearing a hat that I made for her.  I felt very special!

Joey, however, was the favored guest because he burned Chiara a new copy of They Might Be Giants Here Come the ABCs.  Years ago we took a copy of the original DVD so that we had a copy for the kids to watch at our house.  The original had since gotten lost, and Joey made a copy of our copy – bad with VHS tapes, but apparently totally fine for DVDs.  If you have kids, and you do not know the They Might Be Giants kids’ music, please check it out.  It is really fantastic without having much of the annoyance of typical kid music.

Later in the evening, we joined Aaron and Sujata and Walt and Jane at B.D. Riley’s for a pub quiz.  Today is Aaron and Sujata’s third anniversary, so we were celebrating.

B.D. Riley’s has their quiz every Wednesady.  There is no cost for playing, but of course you buy some beer and food, so the pub comes out OK.  We had a great time visiting with everyone, and playing the game.  We came in fifth amongst all the teams in the bar, and were only two off the money winning scores.  We all agreed that we would like to do the quiz again in the future.

We finished up the evening with a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar with Aaron and Sujata.  Congratulations to Aaron and Sujata on three years of wedded bliss!

Salt crystals

Joey and Lee had vestry responsibilities at church, so Billy, Liam, and I hung out together for the evening.  Once Joey and Lee got to our house, we had steak, asparagus, salad, and salt potatoes (see recipe below) for dinner.

If you have never had salt potatoes, don’t let the amount of salt freak you out.  The large amount of salt changes the boiling point of the water enough that the texture of the cooked potato is quite different than regular boiled potatoes.  The skin gets a nice salty crust, and the inside is creamy and smooth.  Although you can serve salt potatoes with a meal as we did, they also make a fantastic snack with drinks and other finger food.

We served up the meal as soon as everything was cooked.  When we went back to do the dishes (I use “we” loosely here.  Anyone who knows me knows, I was not really involved in doing dishes), we discovered that very large salt crystals had grown in the pot that we cooked the potatoes in.  It was actually quite pretty.  Who doesn’t love a science experiment with dinner?

Salt Potatoes:
3 pounds small new potatoes or fingerling potatoes
14 ounces of salt
2 quarts of water

Wash the potatoes and leave whole.  It is critical not to puncture the skin of the potato.
Bring all of the water to a boil.  Add the salt.  Stir the salt into the water until it is dissolved.
Maintain heat and let the salt water come to a boil.
Add the potatoes and boil for twenty-five minutes.   Remove the potatoes to a cooling rack.
Serve with sour cream.