Annually the pipe that connects our house to the sewer main in the street gets clogged with roots growing through its terra cotta pipe. Every year we call crooks (RotoRooter) to come snake ’em out for tons of money, watching the shit seep out of the pipe cover in our basement. This year we managed to avert disaster at the early warning signs of root growth and got a nice local plumber to do the job for more than $100 cheaper than the crooks do it for. I explained to Beenie, the one who demands things be explained, that the nice plumber man had a big machine called a snake and it went through the pipe and cleaned out roots so we could bathe and do laundry and the like. She nodded with some kind of acknowledgement and then said “no more snake” when it started making strange sounds in the basement. I am glad we let the snake continue, however, since it pulled out a huge pile of roots that was fixin’ to make our basement a big stink pile again. Thank you Pat O’neill, awesome plumber!
What else? It has been windy around here lately and that is pulling the leaves off the trees. This fall is breathtaking. What was once color above has become a rich wall-to-wall carpet of earth toned leaves mixed in with bright green grass underfoot. For me fall rerpresents a time of scurrying — running hither and yon to collect many items for the cold, dark winter ahead. Books, food, drinks: beer, wine, scotch, juice boxes… I am sure 20+ years of institutional education of some sort programmed me to feel like there is something important going on during autumn. And there is. Stay at home moms and dads desperately try to compile lists of people to have playdates with, venues to flock to when it is too cold and crappy to go outside and play, child-tolerant restaurants. Perhaps I only speak for myself, but I’m a little bit nervous for the first time in my life, for my own sanity in the first three or four months of next year. That’s when I felt the most isolated this past winter. The stark cold months used to be some of my favorite. Perhaps this coming winter will be different… the girls are getting older and slightly easier to take places by myself. They communicate fairly clearly, they are somewhat predictable. We’ll see. This year I have more peers than I did this time last year, who have small children and will be looking to connect with other grown-ups. Here’s to hoping we all manage to un-hybrinate for a few hours each week, just enough to retain our sense of self, to keep outside our own heads long enough to enjoy what is truly a finite time with our young’uns.