In which my optimism was appropriate

Never let it be said, my friends, that I am not a coper. I cope fine. I have a multitude of skills with which to cope at my disposal. I am basically a good natured person. I am an optimist. I knit, which takes the edge off of a multitude of bad situations, and I am not opposed to a good stiff belt of whatever it takes to get through just about anything. (That said, I do believe that I am to be commended for my relative sobriety throughout this entire vexing couple of weeks.) Fear not for my sanity.

This morning the plumber arrived, and brought with him the very nice gentleman who cuts up houses. I’d emptied my cupboards last night in preparation for whatever the hell was going to go down, and they draped the kitchen in plastic and began cutting up the house and shining lights into walls and making their diagnosis.


They spent quite a bit of time pondering what could be done, what should be done and what must be done, and at the end of this period of examination – during which I obnoxiously lurked around annoying them and asking questions (“Is it all right? Is that my pipe? How many holes do you have to make? How do the joists look? Why are you making that face? When you say “son of a *&^%$#$%^&^%$#&…. is that negative?”) the verdict was in and it was all good. Great even. They said a lot of things. Amongst the gems like “What the *&^% is that pipe doing there?” and “Whoa. What the hell is that?” and “Why do you think that’s not attached?” I gleaned the following relevant points.

1. Because the maniac who installed our plumbing a century ago did it funny – they only need to cut up one cupboard, not two.

2. As that same maniac put an exceedingly strange join in the pipe, they don’t have to cut up the ceiling, just the bulkhead over the cupboard.

3. There is NO structural damage of any sort at all. None. Zip. Nada. Apparently the gallons of water that have been falling down beside the pipe when we drain the tub have been cascading straight down the outside of the cast iron pipe and falling on the sandy soil in the crawlspace behind the washer and dryer and have (mostly) been absorbed by the ground. This explains the small mudslide we found behind our dear departed Sir Washie (which was a mystery that troubled us for days) and gives us an odd sense of celebration for the fact that we don’t have a proper cement floor (or walls) in that space. Who knew that an improperly finished antique cellar would pay off?

4. As the connections to the waste pipe are as bizarrely placed as a muskrat in a mirror store, Larry the plumber (a god walking the earth as man) can, in a strange and miraculous pipe dance of alchemy, totally replace the top part today and the bottom part tomorrow – which means that except for between 9 and 5 both days (and maybe a part of the third day) we can use our house. The kitchen will be out of commission the whole time, just because of the mess, but that’s why we’ve been blessed with the great and modern gift of pizza delivery.

5. That doesn’t mean that it will cost less, but does assure that it won’t be a penny more, which is so freaking great that it made me want to kiss him full on the mouth – which I didn’t do, although I may have confessed the urge.

I’ve retreated to my mother-in-laws house to work, where I can use the toilet at will, and although I’m still a little upset, I’ve pulled out the best coping skill I could find.


Cashmere. One small and precious skein that was a gift from a very nice friend this Christmas. I’ve started to knit it up into a cowl of my own devising, and I think it looks wonderful.


I intend to knit as much cashmere as it takes for the pipe to be replaced, my kitchen (both sides) to be repaired and for the extremely uncomfortable stress related spasm in the left side of my upper back to stop trying to shove my shoulder blade into my ear.

See? I’m a coper. Thanks for the good vibes for the kitchen. I think it worked.