Monday, September 30, 2019

Romeo & Juliet (an opera review post)

I realize we had a rough opening act with the opera this season, but that ship has sailed (pun totally intended and, if you don't get it, you haven't been paying attention), but they've come back strong with Romeo & Juliet.

Romeo & Juliet may be my least favorite of Shakespeare's plays. At least of the ones I've read. Which is more than a few considering I've taken whole classes about Shakespeare. Look, I have a degree in English; what do you expect? But even as a teenager, R&J pushed all of the wrong buttons for me. My entire response could (and pretty much still can) be summed in, "Stupid teenagers." Yeah, that's how I felt about it when I was 14 and reading it for the first time. It actually put me off of Shakespeare entirely for more than a few years. I do have more of an appreciation for the play at this point in my life than I did when I was in high school but, still, stupid teenagers.

None of which is to say that I can't enjoy a good production of the story. It's not a bad story, though I don't get all of those gushy romantic feels from R&J that seem to be so common. For one thing, Romeo is a cad, but I'm not going to get into that right now.

R&J is not a commonly performed opera these days. It's French and, evidently, French is out as far as opera styles go at the moment. Honestly, I don't understand why. Maybe I just don't know enough about opera and music to understand but, having seen it now, R&J didn't seem much different to me than other operas of its time period. SFO, though, hasn't done R&J in decades until now (which seems to me to be another example of what I was saying in my SFO post about Shilvock). It's weird to me, though, that this opera in particular would fall through the crack. Because pretty much everyone knows the story, it seems to me that this should be a great opera to keep in rotation because it should accessible to people exploring opera for the first time. Even though they have supertitles, it still helps to know the story ahead of time.

I think this was a pretty decent production of R&J. Except for the set. They went for something which was barely more than a bare stage. I was unimpressed. Especially in comparison to many of the SFO sets. This one was just... kind of nothing. The costumes were good, but I sort of think the costumes and the set should complement each other, but maybe that's just me.

The performances were great. Nadine Sierra, whom I've mentioned before, played Juliet, and she was perfect. As with all good R&J productions, Mercutio steals any scene he's in, right up until he doesn't anymore, and Lucas Meachem (whom I've also mentioned before) did just that. The other real standout performance was by Stephanie Lauricella as Romeo's page, Stephano. She had a great scene where she taunts Tybalt and the Capulets that was a lot of fun.

I wasn't as sold on the Romeo, though my wife says that Pene Pati was a great singer. I don't disagree with that, and I enjoyed him in the production of Rigoletto we saw him in (see, I've mentioned him before, too!), but he never really grabbed me as Romeo. As I said, Romeo is a cad, and Pati never came off as such. It's got to be believable when all of his buddies are making fun of him that Juliet is just his flavor of the week, but Pati never rose above lovesick, which is almost right but not quite. I mean, he's trying to "meet" another girl when he discovers Juliet. Maybe it's a problem of the writing, though. It's difficult for me to tell since it's in French.

All said, though, I thought this was a fine production, and I think it's a great introductory opera for anyone who wants to find out what opera is all about.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

SFO (an opera house opera review post)

Over the past few years, opera and going to the opera have become rather significant things in my life. My wife's life, too, probably, but I'm not going to speak for her as to how significant. I know it's an important thing for her and the fulfillment of a lifelong love, but I'm not going to put those words in her mouth. In short, we love the opera and going to the opera and SFO in particular. Therefore, it pains me to have to talk about some ways that SFO is really missing the high notes lately.

Some of this stuff is not new. I mentioned toward the end of last season's opera run that Matthew Shilvock, the general director of SFO, seems rather on the traditional side of things in how he's running the San Francisco Opera. I mean, he's British; it's probably in his DNA or something. And maybe it's not fair of me to speculate -- because what I'm saying is speculation -- buy that's how it feels to me (and I'm generally pretty good at intuitive conclusions). It feels like SFO is attempting to appear new and fresh by reaching back and putting on traditional productions of obscure or rarely performed operas, like the just reviewed Billy Budd and the soon to be reviewed Romeo & Juliet (yes, R&J isn't much performed, probably because it's a French opera and they're not really in style these days). However, that doesn't make something cutting edge; it means it's going harder and faster at being traditional. Like I said, the performance of Billy Budd we attended was the lowest attendance of any opera we've been to.

Here's what I'm going to say about the entire discussion I could have here (because I don't want to spend this entire post talking about all of the things that SFO could be doing to pull in new people): Hamilton is an opera, and it's insanely popular. One of those events that changes the public. SFO is doing nothing to approach what Hamilton has done. They're not looking at what works but trying to find ways to keep doing what they've been doing in a way that seems new when it's really the "same old thing."

And, look, I have nothing against "traditional" opera, as should be apparent from all of the opera review posts that I do. I like exploring all of these classic operas but, let's face it, there hasn't been a significant opera composer since Puccini (by significant, I mean popular with the masses and performed constantly). I want to make one thing very clear about Puccini: He wrote for the masses and frequently re-worked pieces after seeing the audience reaction to early performances of his works. I think opera has lost its way in appealing to the "common man," or however you want to say that. But it doesn't have to be that way!

The thing is is that it wouldn't really matter if SFO was making money. When you're turning a profit, you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want, even if that means doing the same old thing over and over again. However, SFO seems to be suffering financially, at least somewhat due to a lack of attendance (probably mostly due to a lack of attendance judging from Billy Budd).

Here's how we found out:
SFO has, for years, offered something called operavision. You know how when you go to a concert there are often huge screens behind the stage which show the musicians performing so that people in the wayback can see what's going on rather than just seeing ants on stage? Opervision is kind of like that, except that it's smaller screens that come down out of the ceiling so that people in the balcony can see closeups of the performance and not be forced to use opera glasses. The screens also contained the supertitles, making them easier for people in the balcony to read. And just as an aside, if you're in the balcony and using opera glasses to see the performers, you can't also read the supertitles while doing that.

My wife loves opervision, and we always buy the season tickets that include operavision (because, actually, they would only offer that on one or two performances of any given production). Oh, and opervision nights cost more. So we went to see Billy Budd and... no operavision. There were, we thought, only two real possibilities of why there was no opervision: 1. My wife accidentally purchased the incorrect package. 2. They sent us tickets to the wrong performance.
During the intermission, my wife checked to see if the error had been hers because that would mean we would need to see if we could fix our tickets for the rest of the season.
The mistake was not hers. SFO had just failed to inform us that, even though they let us purchase the operavision package, opervision had been discontinued. Due to the expense. They couldn't afford to offer it any longer. There was a long list of reasons, none of which are really that important other than the underlying message that SFO is struggling financially right now.

This was further backed up when I called about the whole operavision thing and whether we had been charged for it. Oh, but wait! No, they had not charged us for it, but they also had not honored our seating choice (the cheap seats up in the top balcony) for some of the operas. For Romeo & Juliet and next month's The Marriage of Figaro, they had given us more expensive seats. And charged us for that, instead, which was quite a bit more than our cheap seats with operavision. I still am failing to understand the thought process that went into this decision.

Yeah, I was a little upset.

But, you know, we'd already paid for all of this and, sure, I could have known sooner if I had looked carefully at our tickets when they arrived in the mail but, hey, we'd never had any problems before with the seats being wrong, so it didn't occur to me check the tickets for every performance ahead of time, not until I saw that our tickets for R&J were for seats in a more expensive section. This is where I expressed my concern to the woman I was speaking to that all of this had been done without ever communicating with us about it. And, hey, I even stayed calm through this whole discussion. So, not only had they failed to inform us that operavision had been discontinued, but they also charged us for upgraded seats without asking us.

The woman got my point, at which point she gave us upgraded seats (to some of the really expensive seats) for the rest of our season! So, yeah, I'm not complaining because the new seats are quite nice, but it underscores that SFO is having some... issues... right now.

The other thing I brought up was their opera cd. Ever since we started buying season tickets, at the beginning of the season we would get a cd with an introduction to each opera on it. Our tradition has been to listen to the portion for any given opera we were seeing on the ride down to that opera. This year we didn't receive a cd. Guess what. They discontinued that, too. Why? They needed to cut costs. That's what she told me. So I got it straight from someone there.
And, you know, fine. We don't have to have the cd, but it is something that they actually advertised as part of buying season tickets.

Clearly, they made all of these cost-cutting decisions after printing all of their materials with all of the season information from which people purchase tickets, but they really need to be better at communicating if they're going to make changes like that. And, actually, I feel like if they sold season tickets with operavision included then they need to honor that. But maybe that's just me.

They're also only doing eight productions this season instead of the usual nine, and there's some speculation that they couldn't afford to do more than eight. I wouldn't know if that particular thing is true or not.

Now, I'm not going to go so far as to say that Matthew Shilvock should be replaced as general director; I don't know enough details of the problem or how long it's been going on to make that kind of statement. What I do know, though, is that someone needs to be working on how to make the opera more appealing to the masses rather than trying to convince the masses that they need to like the opera the way it is. That's a recipe for disaster that will end the opera rather than people coming to see something they don't want to see.

And we love the opera and we love SFO, and we don't want to see SFO shut it doors due to a lack of funding.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Friday, the Shiteenth

Friday, the 13th marked our sixth day of plumbing issues. No one was happy, and I was extremely... uncomfortable... as I waited for the plumbers to arrive at 9:00 a.m. I mentioned the "healthy turds," but did I mention that I'm also very "regular." That "regular" time is somewhere in the 7:00-9:00 am block of time, generally speaking, and there was nowhere to go to the bathroom without going door to door asking to use one of the neighbors' bathrooms. No, I didn't do that!
Fortunately for everyone else in my family, they all had somewhere else to go off to to take care of business.

Let me fill in some details here while we wait for these plumbers to show up, okay?
"My" plumber is a guy who owns his own company. He's mostly a one-man show in a van, though he does sometimes have a guy who works with him. When he suggested "calling in the big guns," he recommended a larger company, a company that has a lot of plumbers working for it. More equipment and all of that jazz. The guy they sent out to do the estimate on Thursday was their No. 2 guy.
Yes, seriously, that's what the woman I spoke told me when I called, "We're sending you our number two guy."
He did the estimate but, he told me while he was here, he would not be the one to come on Friday to do the repair. He was going to be unavailable. The guy who was coming out, with his assistant, was somewhere farther down the chain.

9:30 arrived but there were no plumbers.

They finally showed up at something like 9:47. No, I wasn't watching the clock!
Not exactly.

The guy comes in and looks over the situation. He wants to get under the house to look at the pipes which is a whole separate challenge, because, guess what, there's no access point to under our house from outside the house. What kind of crazy is that? The only way to get under our house is through a trap door in the closet in my daughter's room, so I had to clean out the bottom of her closet so that the guy could stick his head down there and look around for two minutes. Yeah, she wasn't happy with me for that.

The end result of all of this was to tell me that the guy who made the estimate was wrong and that the job couldn't be done except to do it this other way which... basically, he wanted to double to triple the cost of the high end of the original estimate. Which makes me wonder how much of that he gets to keep personally, because he sold it hard. But fuck that! None of what he was saying aligned with anything that "my" plumber had said and certainly didn't go along with what the No. 2 guy had said. Needless to say, I was angry.

I called the company with the intention of speaking with the owner only to find that the guy was already on the phone with the owner. So I asked the woman about what the guy was saying, about it being an impossible job, and whether it was impossible or just impossible for him. In short, was it outside of his skill set? She said, actually, it was entirely within his skill set; he just didn't want to do it. She told me that she would have the owner call me when he got off the phone the shitty plumber who was trying to scam me. But he never called...

I'm assuming that some sort of communication happened between the owner and the woman I had spoken with because, a few minutes later, shithead comes back in and tells me they'll do it for the original estimate, the high end of it, but, still.

Anyway, it was after 11:00 a.m. before any actual work started on the 9:00 a.m. appointment time after all of the shenanigans.

Which almost brings us to the end of this tale. They did get everything fixed by 5:00. -ish. Because it was actually 5:30 before the guy with the shitty attitude left because he tried to pull another set of shenanigans before leaving, but he lost that one, too, because I walked up on him on a phone call with the owner during which he was lying about things that had been said but, when he saw me, he had to quit lying and do what was agreed to.

The other thing of note has to do with what the previous occupants of our house DIYed our plumbing into. Remember how I said we had no clean out? As it turns out, we did have a clean out; it was just buried under a paving stone going into the backyard. Also, it was no good.
I'm realizing I should have labeled this drawing. heh
The vertical pipe there is the main sewer line running down to the street. The curved pipe with the arrows is the line coming out from under our house. What I want to call your attention to is the other "pipe" with the rings around it. That's not an underground pipe at all. That's the drain pipe from our roof gutter. That pipe is just inside the gate to the backyard, and, I'm assuming, that area would flood during our winter rains. I don't actually know, because the previous occupants attached a sheathe to the end of the pipe (the striped bit in the drawing) and tied it into the sewer line. Totally out of code, of course, which the plumber happily pointed out to me when they discovered what had been done.

So, see, the previous occupants dug up the sewer line, added a clean out (the circular "cap" at the top of the drawing) which only runs in the direction to the street and DUCT TAPED the gutter drain into the sewer line. I have to assume that the clean out was in case roof debris stopped up the sewer line, which has never happened to us, but I can see the danger in what they did. For us, though, the sewer line block was up under the house and the clean out we had there completely unusable. The plumbers had to take all of that out and put in a new line with a clean out that would both go under the house and down to the street. The gutter drain now drains into the yard like normal gutters do and, since it rained a few days after all of this was done, I got to experience the standing water just inside the gate. And there's no paving stone there, now, either, because that's where the new clean out is.

You know, if it's not one problem, it's some other problem, but at least we have draining water in our house again. Right?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Billy Budd (an opera review post)

Here we are at the beginning of a new opera season, and, man, is there going to be a lot to talk about. As I mentioned, last week was a shitty week, but we were having our first opera and were really looking forward to it as a break from the shitstorm at home. [No, I’m probably not going to quit making shit jokes anytime soon. I mean, I’m still cleaning up shit stains in the bathtubs, so it’s not like I’m going to get past it right away.] After all, we love the opera! We’re always looking forward to getting back to it after the summer break.

However, the first opera on our schedule was Billy Bud, and my wife was feeling a bit trepidatious about it. I suppose that’s understandable; however, I was looking forward to it, being a Melville fan, so to speak, and seeing how it had been adapted from the… I don’t know what Billy-Bud-the-Melville-story is categorized as. I’ve always thought of it as a short story (it’s been a long time since I’ve read it), but the guy doing the pre-opera talk kept referring to it as a novella. I don’t remember it being long enough to be a novella, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. At any rate, the pre-opera speaker was so enthusiastic about the opera that, by the end of the talk, my wife was looking forward to it.

What we both should have learned by now, though, is that we really just do not like modern operas.
Let me make it clear before I continue that the term “modern” here has to do with a style and is not referring to when it was written. Of course, knowing that it’s “modern” also tells you that it was written within the last century since the modern style developed in the early 20th century sometime (I’d tell you exactly when, but I’m working away from the internet (I know! Right? It’s weird!), so you’re stuck with the stuff that’s already in my head). Billy Bud debuted in 1951.

Now, for a long time, I’ve held the Usher opera up as my standard for worst opera, and it probably still holds that position, but it’s now a close call. We actually left Billy Budd before it was over. That's never happened before but, yes, it was that “modern.” Budd does have some redeeming moments, musically, but it’s also incredibly long, more than three hours. Usher was the length of act one of Budd, so it, at least, had its brevity going for it. What I can say is that I would never want to sit through either of these again. It wouldn’t surprise me if the devil is taking notes so that he knows what opera rooms to lock me in in Hell.

So... Why was Billy Budd so goddamn awful?
You know all of those things that I've mentioned in previous opera posts that are things that are wrong with opera? Well, all of those things are in this opera.
Before I go on, I want to say two things:
1. Evidently, the critics loved Budd. We always look up reviews on our way home from the operas we see, and Budd had pretty excellent reviews. I have to think this is one of those occasions where critics "like" something because they think it makes them more sophisticated than everyone else. Like wine snobs liking to drink shit-tasting wine because it's expensive. Or whatever.
2. I say that about critics because Billy Budd was the most lightly attended opera we've ever been to. There were no other people on our row with us, only two in the row below us, and only a few people behind us. It was like a matinee performance of a mediocre movie.

Did Billy Budd have droning, non-melodic music?
Was the performed completely recitative?
Did Billy Budd have performers who just stood in place while they sang?

Just to expand on those thoughts a bit:
The music did have a few -- it seems incorrect to call them "high points," but there were some bits that were better than others -- less bad parts. Because it's a sailing story, Britten wrote some parts that resembled sea shanties. Those bits of music when the all of the sailors were doing shanty bits were not quite good, they also weren't exactly bad. Other than the shanties, the entire opera is done recitative, including a "monologue" from the villain about how evil he is which must have lasted at least 20 minutes.
To make matters worse, there's no action during any of this. When the villain sang his song, the stage was darkened with just a spot on him while he stood there and droned on about being a bad guy. Even during the big "battle" scene, the sailors just stand on stage and sing about it.
And to make matters even worse, there are sections, long sections, when the performers just stand in place on stage while the music... well, while it does whatever it's doing. It felt like parts of watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture, except without any cosmic yawn to watch.

By the time we'd gotten to the intermission, my wife was ready to go. I never would have imagined that we'd find an opera she wanted to leave. I was hesitant, though, because... well, you know me, I hate to quit things. If you've been around for a while, you know the kinds of books I'll make myself finish reading, no matter how torturous they are.

So we stayed.

As soon as act two started, though, I began regretting it. So I made decision:
There's a murder that takes place in the story, so I decided I would give it till the murder so I could see how they handled that. Could they manage to put some action into this thing with the murder? If so, maybe it would be worth staying through the ending.
Ah... But no... The "murder" amounted to the one guy punching the other guy in the face (yeah, I'm keeping it vague in case you haven't read the story (and maybe you don't want to, now, after hearing all of this, but you shouldn't let a mishandled opera keep you away from the source material)) and managing to kill him that way. That was it. The entire piece of action in the whole opera, one punch to the face boiled down from a scene of rage and loss of control in the story.

So I leaned over and told my wife we could leave. That that was the highlight of the whole opera and that it wasn't going to get better.

We left.

Remember, this was supposed to be our enjoyable evening away from all the shit at home. All of the literal shit at home, which we drove back to to find the kids angry about the plumbing situation. I couldn't really blame them, but it wasn't the best thing to come home to.
At least there was the pleasure from finding a thing that my wife and I can hate on together. That was her thought, but it's true. It's great to like something together or to hate something together; it's never much fun when only one of us likes something.
But we don't want to ever see Billy Budd again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

It's Been a Shitty Week (keep waiting for it...)

Let me back my story back up a bit.
My house doesn't (didn't) have a "clean  out" for the sewer line. It's a convenient access point outside of a house that a plumber can use to run their snake-thing into your sewer line to unclog it. It makes unclogging a sewer line something that takes no more, generally speaking, than half an hour. Most houses have them and all houses should but, of course, mine did not. So, on Monday, when the plumber had been out to clear our sewer line, his 20-minute job turned into something that took more than two hours and didn't really work, anyway, because he had to use his small snake that would fit down the sink pipe rather than the big one he could have run directly down into the sewer line through a clean out. A good portion of that time was spent trying the small snake in different locations trying to find one that would work to reach the blockage.

Thursday morning, when the plumber arrived to, again, clear the sewer line -- Or, actually, clear it at all, because it wasn't a new blockage but the same one resealed. He had only put a hole or something in it with his small snake and, now, that hole was plugged, too -- he went straight to the access point in the sink, that being the only one that really worked. We both thought this was going to be a quick and easy process now that he knew where to go in.

Let me just remind you of the state of things when the plumber got there:
There was a "healthy turd" floating in the toilet. It was not stopping up the toilet because the toilet hadn't flushed. There was a tiny amount of water standing in the bathtub, but it wasn't enough to even reach both sides of the tub. The other bathroom seemed normal: no water in the tub and a normal level of water in the toilet. That's how things were when the plumber arrived.

Here's the thing:
Since we both expected this to be a relatively quick and easy job, I went off to work on some stuff I needed to do. I was not actually a witness to what happened next.

However, I knew things were going poorly when the cursing began. A lot of cursing. I know two things:
1. At one point, the plumber resorted to "mad plunging." Or, maybe, "furious plunging" is a better way to put it. Have you ever done that? I have not. On the occasions when I need to use a plunger, I go with a very slow and steady pace. If you go too fast, the toilet water can splash up out of the toilet and the thought of being splashed with toilet water, even "clean" toilet water, makes my skin crawl. [My wife says I have... issues.] This is what caused the "shit explosion" in the bathroom because, yes, indeed, toilet water had gone... well, there were pieces of turd... Look, you can imagine it, okay. It was horrifying, to say the least.
2. When he was through, both bathtubs were about 1/3 full of brown sewage water, but the bathtub in my wife and my bathroom also was full of thick poop sludge. Oh, and both toilets were full to the top. Where did all of this water come from? It boggles my mind.

Look, I get that it got drawn up out of the sewer line at some point in whatever he was doing, but it didn't go back down! At all! For two days! Whhhyyy?!?! I mean, it came from somewhere, right? Why didn't it drain back down into the line? Unless he somehow sucked the blockage up, too. I don't know!

And the smell... Okay, we're not going to talk about the smell.

After the furious plunging episode, the plumber came to me and said, "Andrew, I can't do this anymore." I think my brain might have switched off at that point. I just... I mean...
It was a matter of degree, the degree the problem had escalated from whatever he had done. All I could think was something along the lines of, "What the fuck am I supposed to do about this?"

Remember (last post), my wife and I had an opera to go to that night. I needed to do some laundry, and I needed to take a shower.

He went to explain that the next thing for him to do would be to "pull a toilet" so that he could get a bigger snake down in the sewer line.
[Do I really need to explain the mechanics, here? How both toilets were full up and all of that water/poop sludge would have to go somewhere, including all of the water from the tubs. It would take him all day to get all of that water out of the house even if he had somewhere to put it, and that would be before pulling the toilet and cleaning the sewer line.]
I needed someone with "bigger guns" than him. And more men. It wasn't just a one-man job anymore.

My brain was still at, "What the fuck am I supposed to do about this?"

So he left...

Needless to say, I did not get any laundry done or take a shower before the opera. Oh, and my kids were super pissed at not being able to run any water all night while we were gone. Oh, yes, we still went to the opera; we had the tickets, but the opera is another story altogether. However, at the time, we were looking forward to it as a pleasurable break from the shit storm at our house.

Oh, what did I do about the sewer line? I called someone else, of course.
They sent someone out to do an estimate because it was too late in the day for anything else. The new guy suggested having a clean out put in. This was turning into a very expensive clog! But the cost from these guys to clear the sewer line was almost three times as much as my plumber and, if the line got clogged again, say, the next week, we'd have to pay that full price again.

But this is where I feel kind of bad, because I could have had my plumbing guy install the clean out -- we'd talked about it -- but we'd decided against it because this was the first sewer line clog we've had the whole time we've lived here. He figured it was an aberration and that we didn't need to spend the money on it. Considering the state of things as I was talking to the new guy on Thursday afternoon, I opted for the clean out.

If only it had been that easy...

Monday, September 16, 2019

It's Been a Shitty Week (wait for it...)

Today is Friday, September 13 (as I write, not as you read), so I suppose this is an appropriate thing to be writing today. Though it may turn out to be that today is the best day of the week, to a certain extent. But we'll get to that in a moment. Before we do, though, let's go back to last weekend...

Sunday night (that would be the 8th), my daughter took a shower. She didn't tell anyone that the shower didn't drain, but I discovered it a little while after she was finished when I found the water from her shower in the other bathtub in the house. Or half of it, anyway, since, when I looked, her tub still had standing water, too. Verdict: a clogged sewer line. All of the water in the house, therefore, was draining up into the bathtubs.

I could go into some depth with the details of what happened next, but we'd be here all day, so I'll skip to the part where, the next morning, I got in touch with a plumber friend (seriously, he came out to fix my hot water heater last year and we bonded over politics (not that we hang out or anything, but we exchange text messages every once in a while)) who came out to fix the issue. Which he did but only after seeing how kind of fucked up my house is due to all of the DIY stuff the previous owners did to it. Specifically, he got to see up close how they screwed up the plumbing.

Seriously, my house has some things in it that there is no other way to say than, "That's fucked up."

So he unclogged the sewer line but caused a leak in the bathroom sink because it didn't quite go back together correctly because the sink had been one of those DIY projects of the previous owners. Of course, we didn't know there was a leak...

...until Wednesday morning (which, by the way, was after (of course) I'd cleaned the tub in the master bathroom of all of  the... stuff... that had come up into it on Monday (I say "stuff" because I'm not sure what some of it was) and is some of what I skipped over telling you because Monday, in comparison, turned out to be a mild day), when the sewer line clogged up again. I discovered this after going to the bathroom because, when I flushed the toilet, water came up in the bathtub and the toilet didn't flush. So I texted my plumber friend and cleaned the stuff out from the cabinet under the sink so that he could run his snake thing in there again. Which is when I discovered that the pipes there were leaking and the towels were damp from the water.

However, before he could get to my house, the sewer line cleared itself, so the plumber said he'd come by later in the day to look at the sink since there was no longer an emergency. He did have other jobs already lined up despite the fact that he had been about to push them off till later in the day to come and fix my problem, which is what he had done on Monday. See, he's a good friend. Remember that when we get to later in the week.

But he didn't make it by on Wednesday. It got late enough that I needed to start cooking dinner, so I called him and told him not to worry about it and that he could work the sink in on Thursday if he had time. It was just a little drip, so I wasn't worried about getting it fixed on an emergency basis. His main concern was that he had caused the leak and didn't want to leave it like that, so he told me he'd come by first thing Thursday morning.


The only thing I can think is that Thursday decided that Friday the 13th gets too much attention and that it was going to give the 13th a run for its money.

Here's the thing with Thursday:
Thursday night (which would be last night) was the first opera of the season for my wife and me. I had a lot to do on Thursday, which included doing laundry and taking a shower, not to mention some errands to run outside the house. Thursday was already going to be a busy day.

When my wife got out of the shower on Thursday morning, she told me that it had drained slowly but, when I went into the bathroom to use the toilet, the tub was clear so I shrugged it off and sat down to do my business. What else was I supposed to do?
And let me be clear: Yes, I was taking a shit.
Yes, it's important for you to know that.
[And just as an aside here, you should know that I have what my plumber referred to as "healthy turds," and, if you look up a chart of what a healthy turd is as opposed to unhealthy turds, mine, actually, do fall into the range of "healthy." At any rate, as a plumber, he's in the somewhat unique position of seeing lots of turds, and he was impressed with mine because he doesn't see a lot of what would be considered "healthy" turds.]
Anyway... I flushed the toilet when I completed my business, and... it didn't flush. In fact, a little bit of water gurgled up in the bathtub. I sighed and, hoping, grabbed the plunger and tried to get the toilet to flush, but just a little more water gurgled up into the bathtub. Clear water, just so you know, and it wasn't all that much, just up around the drain.

As I was trying to decide what to do, my phone rang; it was my plumber letting me know that he was on his way over to deal with the sink... I got to let him know that the sewer line was, for really reals, clogged up again...

And, you know what? I'm out of time and this is getting beyond the length that people like to read in a... sitting...? Do people read blog posts while on the toilet? Like my dad used to read the newspaper almost exclusively in the bathroom? Huh, I wonder.
And you will have to keep wondering what happened, too. Until tomorrow, anyway...