Yesterday was spent acquiring plumbing supplies and avoiding actual real work on New Bog.
The next scheduled task is to extend the plumbing to a place it is almost perfect for connecting to the sink fittings1 but though plumbing doesn't frighten me like Backerboard does I am lazy and have a good idea of what can go wrong. Both these factors worked to stop me starting the job because I was absolutely committed to being done by five o'clock that evening come hell or high water, on account of the Stevieling being chosen to play the main attraction in our local church's2 Santa Lucia festival.
The Santa Lucia festival is a Scandanavian Lutheran ritual in which the high point of the service is a reading of the meaning of the festival (which is a remembrance of some poor Sicillian woman burned at the stake for saying something the orthodox church felt "too modern") followed by the darkening of the church and a procession of children. It begins with young boys, who dress in pointy hats and white robes and hold stars on long poles, parading to the front of the church and singing. Then a procession of young girls, dressed in white with garland rings for crowns and holding candles, makes its way down the aisle and arranges itself around the alter rail before indulging in a bit of singing. Finally, a small group of older girls, young women really I suppose, parades down one side of the church, up the other and down the aisle before stationing itself behind the alter, singing "Santa Lucia" the whole time. Each of the young women holds a candle except for the central character, who wears a pine wreath with four (lit) candles on it3. This is Lucia, and this evening Lucia was the beautiful (if moody) Stevieling, who was in fine soprano voice despite having caught a nasty cold the day before. I was so proud I could have burst. In fact I did burst, twice, which caused Mrs Stevie to glare at me.
The Stevieling had been practicing at home and was in a pretty sour mood about it owing to the basic lack of comfort of the whole Flaming Head-Wreath of Religion. She always gets mad at me when I sing "Santa Lucia" too, since I only sing "Santa Lucia", using those two words to fill the entire song much like Ernie used "George Washington Bridge" on Seasame Street. I decided a mood lightener was needed and so began to sing:
"Santa Lucia, I'm wearing a tyre
Someone stuck candles in, and then set on fire
Can you smell burning hair?
Is my left ear still there?
The Stevieling burst into laughter, then said in a disturbingly accurate impersonation of Mrs Stevie "Great! Now I'll be cracking up in church when I sing the song! Thanks a lot Dad!"
I decided I should do something outside to make up for not doing stuff inside, so I tried my hand at excising the old landscape lights from the garden and replacing them with the brand new ones bought at Blowes . The spikes which form the anchor for the lights had for some reason been made as two intersecting triangles to form a cross-cross-sectioned point, each blade having holes in it. Roots had wound through these holes over the years and made the job of removing them a four swear-word task.
Then I had to remove the power taps. Fortunately, Mrs Stevie had unearthed all the buried wire when she did her Hosta-ectomy last summer and hadn't bothered to bury it again. This meant I had the good fortune to have to try doing so in frozen ground, which was a ten to twelve swear word task. Then I had to construct and connect the new lights, and I was getting along swimmingly until lamp number four, whose lid would not come off for luvner money preventing me from installing the bulb. Of course, I didn't realise this until after I had squeezed shut the power tap4. Miraculously, I still had the receipt and so tonight can return the bloody thing and get one that works.
But watching the Stevieling steal the hearts of a churchfull of people was worth the wait. She was magnificent and her beautiful voice could be clearly heard (some of the prior candidates for this job have felt less than confident in their singing prowess and as a result have kept their vocalisation to a minimum). And she didnot giggle once. She asked for a meal at the California Pizza Kitchen afterwards and though I wasn't really up for a long trip I would have gotten her the moon at that point
The California Pizza Kitchen was much nearer.
- In order to get the pipes to the perfect place I would have to route them through Mrs Stevie's bedside chest of drawers. ↑
- Mrs Stevie and the Stevieling's church in reality. As God is my witness, I am an atheist but I like and respect the Pastor and enjoy singing the carols.↑
- Rather like a Michael Manning fantasy, but with less shiny black vinyl, no bondage to speak of and minimal inspiration from medieval Japanese pornographic art↑
- You clamp these things to a power cable with a two-piece clamp with internal spikes that pierce the insulation and make contact with the inner cable to draw off power. Putting them on is tricky. Getting them off again without damaging them is damn near impossible. ↑