Thursday, February 03, 2005

Frozen Northeast

Strange days - everyone is complaining about frozen pipes after 3 weeks of below freezing weather and many days of below zero temperatures. Things like waste pipes freezing so the washer, or worse - the toilet - backs up into the house, and pipes bursting with inches of water cascading into the basement, are not uncommon. It's been terrible. Then yesterday, the watermain in the center of the village burst and 2033 gallons a minute geyshered out of the ground and into the intersection, freezing as it did. What a mess! First time since 1974 for that!
To top it off, my upstairs tenant found a puddle under her bathroom sink and called with reports of a leak. I have visions of the ceiling beneath her collapsing, and water everywhere. Amazingly, the plumber says he'll be there first thing in the morning to fix it. (I know folks who've waited weeks for plumbers, and then paid $200/hr!) Next morning, I arrive to find no tenant, and it's totally dry under the sink, with no leak - no water - no nothing! I hurriedly cancelled the plumber, but the next time I cry Wolf! there better be one snarling and snapping his incisors at the door - or my credibility is shot. The stress of being a landlord is getting to me.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Place In The Country

Many years ago I was at a fund raiser for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra in Stone Ridge, New York. It was at Lord & Lady so-and-sos run down at the heels estate, which was all tricked up with holiday decorations to hide the decay. It was a memorable night because the cocktail party conversation drove me into their fantastic library. What great books they had! I had fun just pulling them off the shelves and learning all about them through their collection. I thought of this next when, after several years, I read a piece in the New Yorker Magazine about a successful hunt for a country home, and the trials and tribulations of new home ownership. I recognized the house as the estate the fund raiser was in. That article became the book, "A Place In The Country" by Laura Shaine Cunningham. It seems as if everyone, including Michael Korda, had to write books like this after that, but I always liked hers the best.