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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In keeping with my responsibilities as a dutiful householder, I had the chimney-sweeps out this morning to give the fireplaces a good going over.  After first inspecting the inside doings, the fellahs went outside to have a dekko at things topside.  A few minutes later, they reappeared, announcing that an “issue” had arisen.  The invoice puts it very eloquently:

“The chimney is in danger of falling over.  The top 19 rows have shifted and become dislodged.  The chimney must be rebuilt from the first fracture up.”

I went out myself to take a look.  The sweeps weren’t fooling: The top of the thing looks like a lego building that has come seriously unstuck and the topmost rows are well out of plumb.  This fall’s earthquake is strongly suspected as either causing the situation or at least seriously exasser….exsazzer….worsening a hitherto (hitherto, mark you!) unknown problem.

Of course, the thing absolutely does need to be rebuilt, especially before it comes down around the ears of one of the gels.  Funny how one laughs about the clause in one’s insurance policy that says damage caused by earthquakes is not covered.  Very funny.  Suffice to say that the hit effectively kyboshes a number of Christmas indulgences that we had been considering.

One indulgence is still on, however.  This evening, having “bought” a free night’s babysitting at the RFEC Mardi Gras auction last spring, Mrs. R and I are planning to ditch the kids and head downtown to the Mayflower Hotel.  After dining at the Old Ebbett Grille, we plan to stroll over and have a look at the National Christmas Tree, finishing up with a drink somewhere else.

“Uh, oh,” said Mrs. R upon hearing the bad news re the chimney,” Do you think we ought to bring peanut butter sandwiches with us this evening?”

“Better yet,” I said, “Instead of paying for a room, why don’t we see if they’ll just let us hang around in the lobby all night.”

Ah, the joys of home ownership! 

When I broke the news to the youngest gel, warning her off going anywhere near the chimney, a look of immense concern spread across her face.

“But….But…. How will Santa get here?” she asked.

“Don’t worry,” I said.  “Santa’s magic.  AND immortal.  He can do anything.”

I wish that were true: I’d ask HIM to fix the chimney as long as he was up there anyway.

I was not aware that “butt to gut” was a recognized term of basketball positioning technique.  But then again, I never took much interest in the sport.

Amazing what one learns when one shows up a few minutes early to retrieve one’s progeny from practice……


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December 2011