At some point last week, Jen looked at me after I’d finished wrestling my hair into some sort of shape, and compared the results to Art Garfunkel. When she starts doing that, I usually start considering making an appointment to see my stylist. It’s taken years of patience and painful jabs with a cattle prod to get me to drop the idea of a $6 barber and move to a $60 salon, one in a long list of notions she’s had to wean me from. After several unsuccessful relationships with stylists across town (Candace, my last favorite, left her affordable digs to move up into Timonium to some sort of sports bar/hair salon hybrid, an idea lost on the sorry fools like me who are blind without their glasses and therefore unable to appreciate HD-quality basketball while getting our hair cut), she put me in touch with my new stylist, who has the kind of hair I wish I had—somewhere between Greek god and hipster nonchalance. You know, the hair you leave the salon with but can never re-create in your own laboratory.

He has shown me wonderful and amazing things I can do with my hair, even if I can’t master his hair-fu, so I go back to him in the hopes that I might learn by osmosis. And, I’ve fallen in love with the idea (and practice of) the shampoo/scalp massage. Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of God, there are fewer finer legal ways I can think of having someone else who is not my wife touch my body for an affordable fee.

After getting my hair shorn, I met up with a friend to grab a cup of coffee and catch up, which was a great change of pace. Sitting in a coffee bar and talking with him, as well as discussing the Bathroom Senator affair with the grandmothers sitting next to us,reminded me why I work for myself in the first place, something that’s been lost on me in the last two weeks or so: flexible coffee scheduling. About the time we were considering a bite to eat, I got a call from Jen, who asked me where I was with a voice that registered unease. She told me that our washer had somehow decided to quit draining itself and had then pissed two hundred gallons of water all over the floor of the basement, and that I’d better get home to help in the recovery effort she’d started.

After some initial panic, I calmed down when I saw the extent of the disaster, and silently cursed the original builders of this house. I have two separate curses, one for the builders and one for the Doctor, for all the ass-backwards stuff that’s been done with this house since they broke ground. A dirt floored garage? A pox on your children. A staircase designed in a way that ruins any chance of adding a convenient entryway to the third floor? May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits. A kitchen built with four (and at one point, five) doors? May the flatulence of twenty elephants descend upon your buttocks. And a basement with no sump, not even a simple gravity drain? May your bladder loosen and soak your bed every time you fall asleep.

So, with nothing left but good humor and a nasty smell, we folded up our sleeves and got to work with a mop and a shop-vac. I’d have pictures here to share the horror with you, but the local government did not allow press access to the devastation, and it’s probably for the best anyway. Suffice it to say the levees around the cat litter held, barely, and the lumberyard got its feet wet. Thankfully though, the water level didn’t reach either pilot light on the furnace or the boiler, and the tools remain high and dry.

We have fared better than the survivors in the south, and for that we are thankful; we have three dry floors, a heavy-duty dehumidifier, and a weekend of low humidity ahead. We also have a 2hp. shop-vac that drained the lagoon in under an hour, in case the rains come again. But that consarned washing machine is getting sent up the river as soon as we can get the scratch together for a quality replacement.

Date posted: August 31, 2007 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Hurricane Frederick.

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