The other day, I got an unexpected phone call from Professional Plummer* (aka, Cord's old scout leader and overall nicest/friendliest person this side of the Rio Grand, second only to his wife).
Here's a reenactment of that rather embarrassing phone call:
PHONE: "bring bring, bring bring"
::diving across my bed to grab phone from nightstand::
ME: "Hello?"<--said in srs adult-like manner after catching breath
PLUMMER: "Hey Jenny, how's it going?"
ME: "Fine, how are you?"
ME: "Oh! Is this Mike?"<--said like I just figured it out, even though I knew who it was before I answered, on account of me checking my caller ID so I could make an informed decision before answering. PLUMMER: "Yeah. So I hear you're having problems with your toilet?"
ME: "Wha...? I mean, where did you...? How did you...?"<--said like Bella in that one hospital scene at the end of Twilight, as I turned bright red and realized that the only place I've mentioned my running toilet problem is on my immature/slightly irreverent blog in that ridiculous post in which I photo-shopped myself, a Diet Coke, and two little cockroaches into a picture of my toilet.
PLUMMER: "Laura (aka, my wife) read it on your blog..."
::my blush, deepening::
Professional Plummer then offers to come over and take a look at Offending Toilet, and I humbly accept offer, despite my mounting embarrassment, because Tony and I had just discovered that Offending Toilet is not only running, but also leaking, and that crazy leaking junk is over my head. Then, whilst Plummer asks how my summer is going etc, and I inquire about Plummer's new house etc, I frantically go through each my recent blog posts in my mind, judging my level of taste/maturity. By the time I hang up, my face is as hot as a light bulb. A real light bulb, not those global warming light bulbs.
That night, as I blanketed my mildewy bathroom in Scrubbing Bubbles to prepare for Plummer's arrival the next day, I couldn't seem to shake my embarrassment.
I guess I've always operated under the assumption that only "You Gize" read my blog. Meaning, I'm aware of all friends, family, and acquaintances who come 'round here. For the most part, I still think I have a good grasp on just who reads this--all five or six of you--but discovering a seventh made me think: What if other Decent Folks have seen my Indecent Blog? Am I unknowingly making a bad impression on people? Do they think I'm a total groovy nerd?
These questions continued to worry me as I scraped dried-on toothpaste off the bathroom counter tops with a butter knife, and shoved makeup and toothbrushes and batteries and matchbox cars into the drawers.
I started to think that maybe I should censor what I write on this blog. Give more consideration to who might stumble upon it, and try to make a better impression on these Stumblers. Go from totally geek, to totally chic.
Now, don't panic. By the time I finished hazmatting my bathroom, I came to my senses about the whole thing. There is no way I could pull off the whole "chic" thing. Let's face it, I'm no Cindy Mancini. So I guess I'm going to have to go on being the type of person who would spend hours photo-shopping cockroaches and Diet Cokes into pictures just to get a cheap laugh out of You Gize. And though I may embarrass myself from time to time, at least I won't be talking to Patty on your side of the cafeteria. (<--totally lost my train of thought right there, so I just wrote that).
Anyway, back to my Offending Toilet... Plummer came over yesterday with a fancy bucket that had its own tool belt and checked out the toilet. He fixed the leak in 1.5 minutes. (But I do believe I played an instrumental part in fixing the leak, as twas I who handed him the screwdriver.) Now, it turns out, that the reason I couldn't stop the toilet from running using my usual tricks, is because that little tower of terror inside the tank needs to be replaced.
Ah! Good news! As this means I have not necessarily lost my knack for fixing running toilets. Plummer offered to replace it for me after I run-get the part, but think I'm going to try to do it myself, just so I can brag about it afterward. He did give me step by step instructions. And if I screw up and accidentally brake a waterline or something, he said he'll come back and bring his fancy bucket.
Good friends, the Plummer and his wife. Good, decent folk.
*according to spell check, "plummer" should be spelled "plumber." Cha-right.
I have so many Links to share with you gize, starting with this one:
Hmm. Poor Link's got a lot on his mind. The weight of the world is on his tiny felt shoulders.
Anyway, last night while Tony and the neighborhood cockroaches and the toilet in my master bathroom were all running, I was doing some important research on the Internet until 3 in the morning.
Now you nerds get to waltz in here and reap the rewards of all my hard work.
First... Landerson brought this blog called Cake Wrecks to my attention. I spent a good 2 hours on there, looking at pictures, reading the commentary, and laughing until I fell off my dinosaur and broke my rock underwear. My favorite cakes are the womb cake, the eatable baby cake, the bride without a budget cake, the "Lenin cake again?", and last but not least, the Santa caterpillar cake.<--I don't know when I've laughed that hard.
Careful on Cake Wrecks. It's hard to tear yourself away from that blog.
Moving on... remember that one Smart Remarks book club book we read back in May that retailed for something like 10 bucks? Well, if you were planning on buying a second copy for your downstairs bookshelf, don't. Because for a limited time, you can read it on the Internet... for free. It's formatted to look like a book, and you can even PRINT it off. Say wha?
Brilliant marketing strategy by Ms. Clare, as it's the first book in a series, and there's no way you can stop reading after that messed-up cliff-hanger ew yuck this can't be happening ending to book one.
Next... have you seen the trailer for Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland? Curiouser and curiouser. In fact, the curiousest.
It's set to release in March of 2010.
Did you know Anne Hathaway is playing the White Queen?
(carpets and drapes, no matchy. ahem.)
Did you know there was a White Queen in Alice and Wonderland? Yeah me neither. But it makes sense. Wherever there is a Red Queen painting white roses red, there is a White Queen, silently fuming.
But let's not be silly. The Mad Hatter has to play a bigger part in the Tim Burton version than he did in the cartoon version, on account of him being Johnny Depp/Frodo Baggins. From the trailer, he seems like some kind of narrator. Fingers crossed that we finally get an answer to that age-old riddle: What the H is a writing desk?
And... my last link is not a link at all. You get to watch this YouTube video from the comfort of my blog. I promise you, it will make you say "whoa... is he really gonna... whoa!" And then you will run get other nerds to come watch.
I have a knack for fixing running toilets. So I'm pretty much in charge of fixing toilets at our house.
I've had lots of experience. I've fixed the toilets of friends, family, neighbors... I once fixed a stranger's toilet over the phone and even invited her to call me if it gave her any more trouble. She never called back, so I assume all is well.
I should say here, that fixing a running toilet isn't particularly difficult: tighten screw, reattach loose chain, untangle chain, lift stuck floating plunger thingy, add a little WD40, etc...
My knack for fixing toilets does not come from me being especially clever, it comes from my willingness to stick my hand into the toilet tank.
Toilets are disgusting. They're necessary evils, and if they weren't necessary, we'd want nothing to do with them. We despise them. We turn our backs on them. We read borrowed books on them. We clean them from five feet away, using long plastic tools with flushable scrubbers on the end. Vomiting is the closest we'll ever come to them, but when that passes, we turn our backs on them once again, the disgusting creatures.
My point is, most people don't want to get up-close and personal with their toilet, and that includes the toilet tank, despite the fact that it's full of drinkable water*. So if it starts running, they ignore the problem for as long as possible. By the time I offer my services, their toilet may have been running for weeks, even months. I proceed to fix the problem in 0.5 minutes, and then I get to be present as the owner enjoys the silence for the first time in a long time...
Imagine my pride. Imagine their gratitude. Imagine my satisfaction.
A few weeks ago, the toilet in my master bathroom started running. The moment I noticed it, I removed the tank lid without missing a beat and assessed the situation. Screws looked tight, chain was attached and untangled, floating thingy was floating in place... I couldn't figure out what the problem was.
The best I could do was get it to stop running in between flushes, but a permanent fix continues to elude me. I keep opening that tank, jiggling levers, examining the tiny tower, pulling little chains... but I remain completely stumped.
Imagine my frustration. Imagine my humility. Imagine the sleepless nights.
Today, I realized that my recent lack of motivation and extreme un-productivity is directly linked to my running toilet. How am I supposed to feel inspired to accomplish anything when I can't even fix a toilet?
*I have never drank toilet tank water, nor would I ever do so, even if my life depended on it.
We just got back from our annual vacay with the Shedertons. It was so much fun, and super relaxing for us Esplins since the Shedertons were nice enough to plan the whole thing. Good times, Shedertons, good times.
Unfortunately, I only pulled out my camera when we were at the beach, so I don't have any pictures of our dinner with AV and UV, and only two cell phone shots of the water park we went to. Here's our day at the beach...
That's my porn name (first pet + street address). This is me in front of my childhood home (1843 Bronson St. Camarillo, CA 93010). The giant olive tree is hiding her magnificance. Believe me, she's a beaut in person.
Some of you have asked about the night temperature here in the blustery city of Las Vegas. Well, the temp does not drop dramatically just because the sun goes down, as it might in some cities. In the dead of summer, we're lucky if it gets down to 80 degrees by midnight. Last night, it was 94 degrees when we ran (about midnight). That's unusually high. We were hoping it would get down to 85 tonight, but that's unlikely as it is currently 97 degrees, and we go in 2 hours. Fingers crossed. Las Vegas summers. Not for the faint of heart. Jenny Esplin. Not faint of heart.
I go out on my balcony at night to get warmed up sometimes. Our house is freezing (on account of Tony), but when I step out on the balcony, I'm instantly wrapped in a warm blanket of dry desert air. I like to sit out there and read and listen to the buzzing of our AC unit. The only thing is, I wish I had a small table for my Diet Coke. I can't set it on the ground because buggies might crawl inside it while I'm distracted by my book, so I end up holding it the whole time. If I had a small table, I could keep an eye on my Diet Coke with my peripheral vision. I saw a glass one at Walmart for $15. I think I'm going to go back and get it.
Tony and I went running around midnight last night. (That warm-desert-air-blanket does not feel so good when you're running. Too bad it doesn't come off.) We sort of run in the gutter, or very close to it, and we kept crossing paths with the neighborhood cockroaches. They were freaked out by our giant (in proportion to them) running shoes and would scurry out of the way as we'd pass. It was like the parting of the red sea. Fascinating to watch. This one family of cockroaches saw us coming and tried to scurry off but they turned the same direction we were running and ended up running beside us for quite a ways before they finally veered off to the side. I imagine their little hearts were pounding in terror, but it made me smile to run beside those cockroaches.
Here are some pictures from Cord's cub scout Arrow of Light ceremony, which was at the end of June.
(Tony is the assistant cub master)
Cord earned all 20 WeBeLos activity pins, so he not only got his WeBeLos badge and his Arrow of Light, but he also got his compass points emblem and all three compass points. I'm sure all you cub scouters out there are thoroughly impressed. He put in a lot of work, but he loved every minute of it.
His WeBeLos' leaders are in the picture below (the husband and wife on opposite ends). They went above and beyond. Loved them. Also take a look at the flip flops on Cord's feet, because they are mine. He borrowed them without even asking.
He's officially a boy scout now, no more cub scouts. It's kind of sad for me, because I've been the wolf den leader (thus, my shapeless yellow shirt) since before Cord was old enough for scouts, so it feels like he's leaving me behind.
Anyway, we went up to Idaho for the 4th of July. It's like a crazy whirlwind whenever we go up to Idaho because both sides of our families live there, along with high school friends (on account of both Tony and I graduating from the same high school), and we never plan on enough time. So I wanna say thanks to the Idaho Esplins and Morgans for cutting us some slack and joining forces (which they often do), so we could spend the 4th of July with both sides (again). Then I wanna say sorry to the friends we didn't get a chance to see (Crysty!), which is always a bummer since we live so far away. The good news is, we're going back around August 20th for the Ella/Gus baptism extravaganza, so we hope to get a second chance to see everyone.
You know how we took a brazilian photos on that Vacay-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named? Well, rest easy, because we have almost no pictures of our trip to Idaho. We forgot our camera, so we only have whatever random shots I got with my iPhone. Too bad, because we got to spend a few days in the downtown Boise area this time, and it was loverly. I haven't visited the Boise Greenbelt in a really long time (I wanna say seven or eight years), so it was nice to see it again. Tony and I lived down there for the first four years of our marriage, so I was flooded with memories, like the corners of my mind, misty water-colored memories, of the way we were.
I also got to see these gize while I was in town... (That's my friend Krissy on the right and my "Internet" friend Jana on the left. Internet friends are the hottest trend right now. If you don't have one, you're basically a nerd.)
This picture below is a bad angle for me. I was so worried about keeping my arm out of the shot that I forgot about my angles. You can see the miss-placed worry in my eyes if you look closely.
We had a great 4th of July. Everyone gathered at Ann Morrison park to see the fireworks. Me, Amy, and Erin (and families) spent most of the day down there, saving a big place for the bigger group that was to come, hanging out, etc. The kids loved it. Me too. It was fun.
And I also got to see these gize, who met up with us down there... (That's my friend Amanda, her daughter Bella, and my friend Heather. I ruined this picture with my striped shirt. No amount of sucking in will off-set those vertical stripes.)
Boise put on a heck of a firework show. It was one of the best I've ever seen. Abrupt ending.
I'm about to set a record for the most pictures crammed into one post. Take a deep breath.
Our last two days in DC...
On Sunday (Father's day), we started out at Ford's Theater (where Lincoln was shot, if you didn't know).
We filed into the tiny theater and a national park ranger stood on the stage and described the mood of the Country at that period in history. Then gave us the back-story on John Wilkes Booth (comparing him to a Baldwin brother), and then he told us the gory deets of the night Lincoln was shot. He did a good job; the whole thing was very interesting.
This was Lincoln's theater box that night...
Here are the Esplin's, reflected onto the coat Lincoln was wearing the night he was shot. Hard to tell, yes I know.
Then we went across the street to tour the Peterson house, where Lincoln was taken after he was shot.
The bed he died in...
After that, we went to the US Navy memorial. It was a huge area with water fountains and lots of statues and interesting stories.
Then we walked over to the Federal Archives...
I love my camera timer...
There was a line to get in, so the boys entertained themselves by running up and down this grassy knoll.
Inside, we saw the Constitution (no flash allowed)...
...the Bill of Rights...
...and the Declaration of Independence...
...among other important and historical documents. It was actually a pretty big museum and we spent quite a bit of time inside.
After that, we took the subway over to Union Station, which was really cool.
From there, we ran over to the Postal museum and broke in, because it was closed.
Then we hopped on a double-decker bus tour. This is the third one we've done (we took one in London and one in New York). They are really fun, if you're ever in a big city and are thinking about taking one. Worth the money. It was *one* of the highlights of our trip--the boys went goo-goo-gaga for it.
We snapped lots of pictures from up there, like this one of the Jefferson Memorial.
Here's Cord with Rexy, entertaining us with commentary.
We hopped off the bus when we got to all the memorials and monuments. The weather was perfect, and the area was so pretty.
The water in the reflecting pool was about 75% duck poop, so of course the boys hopped over the wall to get a closer look.
I wonder how many people have these same pictures...
As the sun set, the fireflies came out, which was fascinating for us Westerners. It was dark before we got back on the double-decker bus, so we got to finish the tour at night. Really cool.
The next day, we went to the Air and Space Museum. This was one of our favorites.
We only got through half of the museum before we had to run down to the Capitol building to get there in time for our scheduled tour.
We thought we were late for the tour, so we literally ran up this ginormous hill to get there in time. After all that running, we sat and waited about 30 minutes. That's the first of many things we learned about our legislative branch.
Homer was out after that...
Not these two, tho...
The rotunda inside the capitol was really cool. We watched a video during the tour and learned a lot of interesting things about our government structure and the capitol building itself. There were tons of statues all over the place (statuary hall)--each state gets to send two statues to represent their state, so there were 100 statues. This guy is representing Colorado...
This is one of Nevada's statues, Sarah Winnemucca.
One of the Idaho statues is Senator Borah, and we learned that he had a long time affair (gasp) with the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, and they had a child together. Times have changed, eh?
We walked over to the Supreme Court building afterward, and Homer was still out...
Then we spent the rest of the day going back through some of the Smithsonian's and seeing things we missed, like Amelia Erhart's jacket at the Air and Space museum...
...and Seinfeld's puffy shirt at the American History Museum. (That's for you, Landee)
And that's all folks.
Tune in tomorrow when I will post something that has nothing to do with Washington DC whatsoever.