Murphy Plumbing and Hummingbirds


Nature's little fighter pilot.

Nature’s little fighter pilot.

It turns out that we have Murphy plumbing, which is to say that we have the kind of plumbing that always has a problem on a holiday weekend. Tonight’s problem involved the kitchen sink failing to drain.

As a new goal for the month I’m making an effort to Never Go To Bed With Dirty Dishes In The Sink. It’s a goal that I’ve tried before and struggled with, but I thought I’d give it a shot and see how long it would last. I wanted it to last at least one day, so tonight I got up after watching a movie and went to do all the dishes. As I worked, the sink began to fill up with water. When the first sink was full, it overflowed into the second sink and began to fill that one as well. By the time both sinks were empty of dishes, they were full of dirty wash-water.

In the past, the solution to this problem was to plug the drain in the overflow sink while running the garbage disposal in the main sink. This typically put pressure on any blockage and forced it down the pipes allowing both sinks to drain. This time, that didn’t work. The pressure built up under the drain-plug and even holding it down with all my strength failed to prevent the water from backing up into the overflow sink. When I turned off the garbage disposal, the water level returned in the main sink, bringing up black, gross drain water with it. Eventually, both sinks were full of black water, and the Curmudgeonly Lion had to step in. Using both hands and all of his weight to hold the drain plug down he managed to fight the pressure of the backup and eventually the clog cleared and everything went back to normal.

So that made for an interesting first day of my goal.

On a lighter note, I had an encounter with some hummingbirds earlier in the afternoon, which was delightful. Or maybe it was one hummingbird encountered several times- difficult for me to say. I was standing in the back parking lot, cooling down from a run and staring off into space listening to an ice cream truck play through it’s repertoire of Christmas carols on a nearby street. We’d made it through “Deck the Halls” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and a partial chorus of “Joy to the World” when I glanced up over the roof of the carports and discovered a hummingbird watching me. She was small (duh) and greenish and popped up to where she could see me, then ducked back behind the roof line, then up again for a second look, then swooped off over the neighboring yard where I lost sight of her between the buildings.

I have this thing where I always feel like hummingbirds are watching me. It’s something about the way that they stop and hover: they’re like nature’s little surveillance droids.

This feeling was somewhat reinforced when, after a few moments, I glanced up again and saw a second hummingbird (or perhaps the first one, a second time). This hummingbird was less tentative: still far out of my reach she hovered over the car port and took a good long look at me for several seconds and from several different angles. Then she too swooped off over the neighbor’s yard and disappeared between the buildings.

I wondered, if I stood there long enough, whether the bird(s) would come back again. The ice cream truck ran out of Christmas carols and moved onto folk classics like: “Home on the Range” and “Old Macdonald”. As I stood there, a third hummingbird swooped past me on my left, quite close, and came to hover in front of my face at medium range. Perhaps she was moving in for coverage? I held very still and tried to look non-threatening. The hummingbird jogged out over the yard, but stayed close- still facing me. She took in a few new angles and then she too disappeared across the lawn.

I waited until the ice cream truck played “BINGO Was His Name” before I gave up on a fourth encounter. I wasn’t sure I was ready for my closeup yet.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 1, 2016.

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