My apologies for my absence from Blogville, my friends. For the last week we have been without hot water. A couple of futile visits from a plumber ruled out the water heater as cause. After the subsequent discovery of enough water beneath the house to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, we concluded the cause must be a ruptured pipe. We cut off the main water supply to the house and have been without tap water since. The last several days I've spent pumping water out from under our house and crawling on my hands and knees in mud beneath our house in search of a broken pipe, to no avail. Yesterday a friend helped me locate the source: the rupture is in a pipe somewhere behind the cinder blocks at one end of the house beneath a concrete slab that serves as the floor for our garage and utility room housing washer, dryer, and water heater. We are engaged currently in enlisting the services of a plumber or contractor who will accommodate our needs without utterly fleecing us. Yes, I know some of you may be asking, like my friend Kirk, whether I believe in the existence of chaste prostitutes. No, but one hopes that good and honest men may still be found. ... And all of this, hard on the heels of the commencement of two summer courses and with an editor breathing down my neck for an article long past due. I solicit your prayers with thanksgiving.
Update (June 8, 2006): I've got a Dutchman named 'Gus' who lists himself in the phonebook simply as "The Plumber," who's coming out to assess the situation today (part of the reason for the delay is that I'm also trying to finish my Scheler paper by Friday). Gus came to my attention on the recommendation of family acquaintances, and speaks on the phone with a thick Dutch accent. My sons will remember their home schooling days when I undertook some Dutch lessons together with them and they kept collapsing into delirious laughter trying to pronounce 'Varkenskarbonades' (pork chops), which, for them, came out sounding like "farting Saint Bernards." Hey, the oldest was in junior high. That was sophisticated humor.