Saturday, 7 May 2011

Betty Crocker and Gary to the rescue

mainly sunny, mild, temps 17 - rain has finally stopped!!!

wonderful spring day. Brought in the first bunch of daffodils from the cutting garden. Tony put the dock in, and Michael saw fish this morning. All the trees in bloom. some of the lilac have tiny, mini stalks. Tulips about to open. A glorious time.

Last night, just as i turned off the television and was heading to bed, I heard a boom! From the basement. Now, we have a very old furnace and a couple of very old, and apparently leaking, oil tanks down there (which we're hoping in replace in a few weeks with a geo-thermal unit). My first thought was, 'Oh, merde - there goes the house.' Then I heard a loud hissing sound and I knew what it was.

A pipe had burst.

I called Michael and we raced downstairs. And sure enough, water was spraying everywhere. So much that we weren't sure where the actual leak was. the good news was that it wasn't inside one of the walls. So then we raced back upstairs and while Michael called Gary (poor guy - late on Friday night...that'll teach him to answer his phone!) I grabbed the flashlight. Trudy was pretty excited. I'm not sure she's ever seen Mom and Dad move so fast. We ran back down into the basement, Gary on the phone. And we found the burst pipe. It was right by the stone wall. And - how lucky was this - there was a shut-off valve right there. So with Gary talking us through it we squeezed between the oil tank and the wall - getting absolutely drenched - it was like having a powerful hose turned on us (fortunately cold water, not hot). Reached the valve. And turned.

The water miraculously stopped.

Spent the next few minutes thanking Gary and taking sodden pillows etc upstairs to dry.

But really - when you think that this could have happened a week ago, when we were in Washington. Now, Pat and Tony would have caught it, but they might have been out for the day. or it could have happened while Michael and I were asleep.

But it didn't. So now Gary's coming tomorrow to try to figure out what went wrong. Burst pipes aren't terribly unusual here - but they almost always happen in the middle of winter, after water freezes in the pipe. So - another mystery.

Speaking of which, I'm back to writing. yesterday I spent the day re-reading and editing, in an effort to get back into the groove. It's not so much the characters - I know and feel them. Nor is it the setting. It's picking up all the threads of the story, and the themes.

It is remarkably scary. And hard work. But then, whose job isn't? And who doesn't sometimes dread going to work?

I was determined not to spend anotehr day editing. it's so easy for me to hide in there - pretending it's writing, when it isn't. Instead, I knew I had to actually write. Even if what I wrote was was crucial to get some original work down. And, I did. More than 1,000 words. So now I feel like I'm almost back into the swim. So glad I can stay home and finish the book. I hope to be finished by the beginning of june.

Baked a cake today. A friend is celebrating a birthday and I said I'd do the cake. And then, just as the words came out I remembered something it might have been useful to remember a few moments earlier. My friend owns a wonderful restaurant - and is a fabulous cook.

oh oh.

I've never met a cake mix I didn't use.

My only hope, faint as it is, is that she's such a fabulous and accomplished chef she's never actually tasted a cake made from a mix, and so might mistake Betty Crocker for Louise penny. Either that, or she'll be too polite to say anything.

Still, it was fun to intersperse writing with baking a chocolate cake. And the whole house now smells of wood smoke, cafe au lait and chocolate cake. Michael looks like he's become a crack head. Goofy smile on his face.

Off to do the icing (and by 'do' I mean open the can).

Thank you, Lee Ann, for a beautiful, beautiful post. I realize that sentence comes out of the blue, but I didn't want to just end without acknowledging what Lee Ann gave us - and her struggle to find the words. A struggle that inspired me today. if Lee Ann can write about Thomas and Bin laden, then surely I can find the courage to write fiction.

Thank you, Lee Ann.


keizerfire said...

Hey, Betty C makes some excellent cake mixes. And you can always throw in some extras like chopped nuts, which just improve on the concept! It's the fact that you cared enough to take the time. Thanks for sharing your world

Harbingerdc said...

I'm not above using a cake mix on occasion and the one thing I always do, no matter what flavor, is to add a teaspoon of vanilla. It really helps lift the flavor.

Lee Ann said...

You are welcome, Louise. I keep coming back to look at the picture of Thomas which is insane because I have it on my computer, but when I look at it here, I know I'm sharing it the entire world!

As to cakes: I love Betty Crocker mixes. I use a Bundt pan mostly--fancy but not challenging. Last resort: I go to my local grocery store which has an excellent bakery even if the spellings they use often qualify for the CakeWrecks blog (Bet you didn't know my name actually starts with an "O")

Colombine said...

L'important est d'avoir des amis qui viennent à la rescousse... Gary et Betty Crocker.

Les chefs ont l'habitude des gens qui tentent d'impressionner. C'est si simple de se laisser tenter par un superbe "chocolat cake" peu importe le talent qu'il a fallu pour le concocter, pourvu qu'il provienne d'une amie qui l'a cuisiné avec amour.

Barbara said...

What is it with you and household disasters, mostly having to do with water? Has someone put a curse on you? Well, so glad there was a shutoff valve nearby and the damage was contained.