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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Want to know how to get the weekend off to a really terrific start? Burst water pipe for the win!

Ol’ Robbo was drowsily reading his Anthony Powell in front of the fire late this afternoon after having taken the puppeh for her walk in the snow when I realized that I was hearing water running somewhere.  At first I thought it was the dishwasher or maybe Youngest running a load of laundry (she’s very good about this), but quickly ascertained this wasn’t the case.

Suddenly I had a horrid suspicion, subsequently confirmed when I went down the basement and discovered my study an inch deep in the stuff.

I don’t know yet because the plumber hasn’t got here (and may not until tomorrow), but I’m pretty sure from both signs and location that it’s the pipe that runs out to the external faucet under the back porch.  It runs down from the floor above behind a wall exposed to the north.  Don’t tell Ol’ Robbo he should have drained and shut off that pipe before winter hit, because there is no separate shut off for it.  We’ve had various plumbing issues over time to be sure, but in 18+ years of residence at Port Swiller Manor, this is our first weather-related rupture.

Damn you, Polar Vortex! Damn you to heeeeelllllll………

So now we don’t have any water since I cut off the main as soon as I realized what was going on, and may not until the plumber finally shows up (perhaps tonight, more probably some time tomorrow).  It’s just as well Ol’ Robbo drinks port instead of the stuff. OTOH, the potty situation may get…tricky.  Thank Heaven there are only three of us in residence at the moment instead of five.

HOWARD DEAN-LIKE “YEEEARGH!!!” INDUCING UPDATE:  Whelp, the plumber did get here this evening.   (My Plumber, by the bye.  We’ve used them before and they seem to be good people.)  I explained the situation, showed him the clues, and let him at it.  After he’d cut into the drywall for a bit, I suddenly heard him start to laugh.  You know that shut off valve I said didn’t exist?  Oh, it existed, all right, although cleverly walled up by the fellahs who redid the basement for us many years ago.  Not only that, there was no burst pipe.  Instead, the pipe had simply broken away from the valve.  Yeeeeeaargh!!!

So the plumber put in a new ball valve and recommended (needlessly, I may say) that when we close up the drywall, we put an access panel over it.  Ya think?

The good news is that although the repair was pricey enough, it wasn’t half as bad as it might have been.  (Plus, Mrs. R’s snow-out (see post below) proved beneficial because she found we could get a 10% teacher’s discount.  I’d never have thought of that had I been left on my own.)  Nonetheless, even though our water has been restored and the damn dog has stopped barking, I think I’ll stick with port tonight.  I feel that I’ve earned it.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As a bounce-back from this week’s Virginia infanticide Debacle, which is now in the rake-handle-to-the-face-of-the-Left stage, how about a little of this and that?

♦  It’s snowing around Port Swiller Manor at the moment, and Youngest is out running errands in it.  (Needless to say, school is cancelled today per the county’s “one flake” policy.)  When I expressed some misgivings about this, she said, “But Dad, I need the experience, right?”  Yes, yes she does.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t worry.

♦  Ol’ Robbo recently had a birthday.  I’m now 54.  That puts me in my “mid-50’s” now, right? And have I officially hit middle age?  Red Ferrari and leggy young blonds, here I come! (Not.) Reminds me again of a favorite Basil Fawlty internal dialogue:


What was that?

That was your life, mate.

Oh, that’s nice.  Do I get another?

Sorry, mate.

♦  How about some micro-movie reviews?

The Big Country (1958) – I first saw this on teevee when I was about 12 or so.  It was the movie that made me first fall in love with westerns, mostly because of the beautiful scenery.  The story itself is about Easterner Gregory Peck finding himself in the middle of a bitter fight over water rights.  I never understood the appeal of Peck, who to me always seemed so wooden.  Whenever I put this to the Mothe, who thought he was yummy, she’d always say, “You haven’t the genes, dear boy.  You haven’t the genes.”  It also stars the equally unappealing to me Jean Simmons, who always seemed like such a rabbit.  Charlton Heston struts his stuff and Burl Ives is a thoroughly creepy contender in the fight.

Gung Ho! (1943) – Pure WWII propaganda based on a 1942 Marine raid on the Japanese-held island of Makin in the Gilberts.  There’s not much to say about it, except that it stars Randolph Scott and a young Robert Mitchum, who is one of Ol’ Robbo’s favorite actors.

In Which We Serve (1942) – Another WWII film, written and directed by, and starring Noel Coward.  Survivors of a Brit destroyer sunk by the Luftwaffe off Crete think on their past lives as they cling to a life raft.  It’s actually pretty well done.  I wrote the other day about my misgivings over John Wayne’s decision to stick to his acting instead of signing up for the war.  Coward tried to sign on, but was specifically told by Churchill that he’d do more good sticking to entertainment.  The Nazis wanted to kill him at any rate.

♦ Is the Super Bowl this weekend?  I doubt I’ll watch.  OTOH, pitchers and catchers report in two weeks, so it isn’t that long until the real sports season begins! (UPDATE UNO:  Let me make clear that I’m not “boycotting” in support of Colin Kaepernick or anything.  I just don’t give much of a damn.  And the Pats are more or less a lock anyway since Belicheck signed his soul away to Satan.)

♦  Oh, and tomorrow is Candlemas, but it’s also Groundhog Day.  A fun fact about Robbo: I have never made it through the Bill Murray movie of that name without dozing off.  I don’t know why – time and place, possibly – but it’s true.  I’ve absolutely nothing against it, you understand, but to this day I don’t know how it actually ends.

UPDATE DEUX:  Well, we actually got a couple inches of snow after all.  Perfect for taking the puppeh on a long walk round the neighborhood.  On the other hand, Mrs. Robbo’s overnight school outing to the Murrland Science Center got cancelled, so now she’s more or less kicking her heals.  When Mrs. R has a lot of energy and nothing in particular upon which to focus it, it’s best to slide quietly out of the way and hide.




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February 2019