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Friday, July 21, 2017

The Least Dignified Kind Of Home Repair

We are currently experiencing plumbing problems.

In this case, "plumbing problems" is a euphemism for "our one and only toilet is broken."

Technically, it is still flushable.  But in order to flush, you have to lift the lid off the tank, pull the chain that has come disconnected from the flusher, and make sure it doesn't slip under the flap as the flap closes.  A lot more trouble than simply pushing the flusher, if you ask me.

This has been a problem for just over a week now.  The bottleneck in getting this fixed is that our apartment complex has none of the needed parts on hand.  These parts have allegedly been ordered, but have not come in yet.

In the meantime, we have also been having problems with the air conditioning.  Every time someone from maintenance comes to look at that, I feel compelled to ask about the whereabouts of the magical toilet part.  And then every time, they go and look at the toilet, and just like that, we're having an actual conversation about the toilet.  I thought conversations about the toilet were supposed to be a thing of the past once I became old enough to stop asking permission to go to the bathroom.

It occurs to me that plumbing problems could be at least a temporary cure for arrogance; it's hard to think too highly of yourself when so many conversations are at least tangentially related to bodily functions.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Best Laid Plants

Contrast the following two pictures from my weekend:

Three large, juicy cucumbers from my balcony plant...


And the puny haul of wineberries I got from the wild plants I walked by today...


It's probably a good thing I don't have to rely on my hunting and gathering skills to survive.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

More Balcony Gardening!

I wrote here last year about my small balcony garden.  Neither my need to create peace around me nor my desire for tasty food has diminished since then, so I'm growing a balcony garden again this year.  I know it is very possible to conduct background research on gardening and plan accordingly, but I've decided to just buy plants that sound tasty to me with no thought to whether my balcony is a good place for them, and just learn from the experience.  Here are this year's lessons:

1.  Dill and bell peppers don't love what my balcony has to offer.  Both bit the dust quickly.

2.  Success can vary widely even among members of the same species.   The basil plant I bought from the farmers market is tall and bushy.  The basil plant I bought from Whole Foods is short, stumpy, and being chomped on by bugs.

3.  Mint has dreams of world domination.  This has actually been a lesson every time I've grown plants on any balcony!

4.  Cucumbers also have dreams of world domination.  We bought a cucumber plant from the farmers market this year when it was still very small.  It is magnificent now and is sending leaves out between the railings on the balcony.  It seems to be attracting a good number of bees, so I'm looking forward to getting fresh cucumbers!

5.  Tomatoes are moody and unreasonable.  I grew a tomato plant on the balcony last summer, and it did fine.  We didn't get a ton of tomatoes, but we got a few, and the plant was tall and healthy.  This summer, three cherry tomato plants died on the balcony.  In theory, at least, they should have been getting enough sunlight because they were in the same place as on the balcony as last year's tomato plant.  I now have a beefsteak tomato plant that hasn't died yet, but also hasn't grown any taller or grown any blossoms.  I'd love to solve this particular lesson/mystery for next year because I was really hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Basil, mint, and cucumbers are definitely keepers for next summer.  I may try green beans, too.  Anybody else growing a garden this summer?