The Day We Didn’t Flood The House (and, going to see Seal in concert)

Funny thing.  It all started because the toilet was leaking water from the tank into the bowl.  So my boyfriend replaced the flapper*.  That didn’t fix it, and it turned out the thing that puts the water into the tank was having issues, that sometimes it leaked out the top (“Is water supposed to be coming out from there?”  “No, I don’t think so…”), and that no matter how we adjusted the floater, it would always fill with water too high, and then leak over into the tube thingy that keeps the tank from overflowing by sending the water into the bowl.  Since the water-dispenser thing was broken, he needed to be able to turn off the water to the toilet.  But of course the valve was stuck, because we have tons of calcium in our water, so he had to replace THAT.  And you know that in order to replace the shut-off valve, first you have to turn off the water to the house.  But at our house, you also have to turn off the pump, because apparently “off” doesn’t really mean “off” on our water main, it just means “yeah, I’m pretty close to off…”  And to remove the old valve, you have to saw through it, because they’re compression thingies that are designed to be used once.  Because obviously no one EVER makes a mistake with plumbing.  (Seriously?)  But of course, when you’re sawing through the old compression thingy, you’re sawing very close to the pipe coming out of the wall that is only so long and isn’t at all easy to replace, so you’d better not saw into the pipe.  Guess what happened.  So we very nearly had a problem with a leaky pipe right next to the wall**, and while he was at it shouldn’t he just replace the valves on both toilets?***


* No, not a woman from the twenties.

** Also, teflon tape was forgotten.  And, as mentioned before, compression thingies aren’t meant to be taken off and replaced so you can add in some teflon tape.  I’m not going to describe the solution, it’s too painful and I’m still worried it’ll end with leaking.

** Cooler heads prevailed.  The second valve will be replaced some other day, preferably once we’ve forgotten what a pain this was.  Speaking of which, how did people repair plumbing before they had cell phones?  Ben was up at the toilet, and I was down at the valve for the water main^ turning it on and off so he could try things.  And, as I mentioned, whenever I turned the water off, I would also turn off the pump.  And sometimes when I turned the water back on, I would turn on the pump, too.  And whenever we turned off the water and the pump, I would then go water some plants to decrease the water pressure, so that the water that wasn’t supposed to be making it into the house wouldn’t have enough pressure to make it into the house.  Yeah, I was confused, too.  Anyway, so we’re on our cell phones talking to each other, so that if something suddenly started spraying water all over everywhere, I would be able to quickly shut off the water again and not ruin the floor or walls or my nice heels on the floor of the closet right next to the toilet.  I’m not very fashion conscious, but I like my pretty shoes to stay pretty^^.  It would’ve been so much more trouble before cell phones.

^ Is it a water main when it comes from a well, or only when it comes from city water?

^^ Speaking of which, though this is a whole other story entirely… we went to see Seal last night at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.  Fabulous show.  (Bummer that the sound only sounds good in the center section… and bummer that my boyfriend the audio guy has turned me into an audio snob.)  Seal has an amazing voice, and an obvious sense of how to use his seven (SEVEN!) musicians to get the sound he wants, all of whom played at least two instruments (if you count singing), including the one chick who sang, played the trombone, and played piano.  Not at the same time, but sometimes in the same song.  I never did notice how she got from one side of the stage to the other side to stand at the keyboard.  And both keyboardists also played some sort of guitar and sang, and at one point I think there were four different people playing guitar-like instruments at once.  Anyway, beautifully put together.  I thought of this, though, because on the wait out of the concert, going up the brick steps, I scraped the toe of my pretty brown shoe on the step, and now it has a big obvious owee.  They’re not expensive shoes, they were fairly cheap on modcloth, but I’ve only worn them a few times.  And leather shoes don’t heal the way my skin heals!  Now I have to figure out how to make them look like new again.  :(

At least the show was excellent.  :)

Going to the Ballet – Coppelia

My mom and I went to the ballet Friday night.  We saw the Moscow Festival Ballet performing Coppelia.  I haven’t seen many ballets (Nutcracker and Swan Lake, mostly, in various incarnations), and I don’t think I’ve attended any before.

It was great fun.  The main female character got to dance and look pretty, of course, but she also got to be seriously annoyed at the male lead, and stomp around being angry.  Because they don’t talk, everything has to be explained through body language, very exaggerated so that the people in the back can see it, too.  I was impressed by the way that most of them kept smiling throughout the whole performance.  Don’t their faces start hurting?  Do you think they smile like that in their sleep, because their faces have frozen that way?

We were sitting in the third row, which meant that we could see them all very clearly, so it was easy to get lost in the details.  Like, noticing the lines drawn under their eyes so they would be visible from far away.  Or the braces on one woman’s teeth.  And the earring in one guy’s ear.  And dude, those men wear *tight* pants.  So I spent quite a bit more time than was really necessary wondering about underwear.  The women’s costumes were far less distracting.  We were also close enough to readily identify each of the ballerinas and danseurs, and notice when they switched places or did different things.  Like one of Swanhilde’s friends (that was her official description) also played the Doll, and we thought she was very good.

If we’d been sitting further back, it would’ve been easier to watch the ensemble instead of the individual dancers.

The music was canned, which probably shouldn’t be surprising.  But, if the audience clapped for too long, sometimes the next piece of music would start while we were still clapping.  And the ballerinas would have to start dancing, even though we were still clapping.  And then there’s a thing where the lead ballerina spins around in circles on one leg without putting the other down and without stopping, called fouetté en tournant.  It’s a show of skill, the more times you can spin the better you are.  With an orchestra, the orchestra will just keep playing that bit until she is finishes, but with canned music she can only spin as many times as the music allows.  (My mom counted: she spun 30 times.  Apparently to snobs 60 is note-worthy, and some ballerinas have spun as many as 130 times [wow!], though Wikipedia doesn’t say anything about more than 32.)

The story was really thin.  There was a two-page description of the story in the program which almost-kinda made sense, but the ballet itself only followed the description in the vaguest of ways.  My mom liked the third act best, which was the wedding scene, which was all dancing without really trying to tell a story.  I liked the second act, because some of the ballerinas and danseurs were meant to be automata, life-sized wind-up dolls that do a particular thing.  One was a Spanish fan dancer, who was very pretty, another was a medieval soldier with a pike, and there were a few more.  It was fun.