Houston for Christmas

So for the last two weeks I’ve been in Houston, celebrating the holidays with Catalina.
Initially, my family came too; they stayed for half a week. Catalina’s mother used to run a restaurant and she kept cooking for us. We tried to stop her by inviting her out to dinner, and we ended up at Dim Sum where she sneakily paid too. Her food was fantastic! Every dish was really good. I think she was trying to fatten the family up. Well, it was mission accomplished for everyone else.
I was able to thwart her by continuing to run every day. This town is not friendly to runners. Or, maybe I should say that being out in the suburbs is not friendly to runners. The roads in the communities have sidewalks, but they are usually blocked by people parking in their driveways across them. However, the traffic is so light in those areas, I feel okay running on the roads. However, the big thoroughfares that have heavy traffic never have sidewalks. In those cases I try and run as much to the side as I can, and on some of the limited grass if that still isn’t safe. (I’m faster on the roads than the uneven grass.) The big storm a few days ago did make it harder to stay off the roads.
There were four cardinal directions I could go. To the west I could eventually get to a creek that I could run along. On the last day I found that on the north side of it there were better trails than the south. To the north I was blocked by a golf course, but that worked out well on Christmas Day when it was unused and I could go everywhere I wanted on it. To the east was industrial, and I did go a couple of times, but it was a bit nerve-wracking being next to a lot of traffic. There was also a gated community that was its own little fortress. It looked like it had good trails, but they were not meant for non-citizens. To the south, there was a bayou; I initially thought I could take a trail through it, but I quickly found it was too wet to make it interesting. I instead ended up getting lost in a gated community that hadn’t guarded its back entrance. On another day I stayed on major roads and was able to go far to the south.
The rest of the time, it was fairly domestic. We didn’t make much plans to do anything and just spent time together. Catalina still had to work, and I concentrated on a software project at those times. I made good progress.
At one point we did go out with the same clothes from our wedding and had a semi-professional photographer take pictures of us. We got some beautiful ones that I still need to organize and post publicly.
I’m now in the plane waiting to go back to Vancouver. We are delayed in leaving because we are waiting for some passengers on another flight that is running late. They have just arrived so we should be leaving soon.
2018-12-28 18:52

Plumbing Issues

When I got back from my Alberta vacation, I noticed some bubbling in the ceiling above my bathroom sink. That doesn’t look good. It was in a perfectly straight line, so it looked like it was coming from above.
I called management, and their initial thought was that I was to blame. I can’t fault them for that; whenever I talk to people who work in the building, they are complaining about mold because people don’t air out their apartments. I try to be better, but I still didn’t think this was my fault; I was gone for a week and I hadn’t been running any water. Still, it is their building so they had to come and investigate.
And investigate they did. I came back from work to find holes in my bathroom ceiling. They were now sure it wasn’t my fault and that it was a leaky pipe above me. They made a request that I clear out the closet because the leak isn’t even in the bathroom. Fortunately I cleared out the correct closet, the one next to the bedroom. I’m glad Catalina wasn’t here, because I had to place the entire contents of the closet on her side of the bedroom. You have to live tight in Vancouver, so losing a storage room is a major problem.
On a Monday, I came home to a big hole in the closet ceiling. There was a dripping pipe with a big bucket beneath it. Every few seconds there was an audible drip. The plumber had also opened the door to the bedroom and so when he removed ceiling, drywall dust got everywhere.
They told me that they wouldn’t be able to fix the problem without shutting off the water in the entire building, which would have to take place in a week. This dripping sound was right next to where I sleep. Fortunately I had a string that I tied to the pipe and led it down to the bucket, which mitigated the dripping sound.
The next day though they got in a different plumber, who removed my string and attempted to tape the whole thing up. Poorly. So now the drip was happening in a number of spots so I wouldn’t be able to use my string method. I just lived with it.
I survived under these circumstances for the week. I wore shoes everywhere and adjusted to the fact that my apartment would remain dusty and messy.
On the following Monday, I woke up to find the water was out. Apparently throughout the entire building. I thought it was due to my problem; which seemed odd since I hadn’t seen any general announcements. And to do it before people had a chance to get up in the morning? I found out from the security guard that the pipes had gotten clogged from some tenant(s) deciding to put diapers, kitty litter, food, and feminine hygiene products down the toilet. Apparently I live with a combination of idiots and barbarians.
I still did my morning run, and did my best to clean myself off with wet wipes. I had some that I had purchased years ago for emergencies like this and they were still good. I couldn’t shower at work because I had a doctor’s appointment before.
Management phoned me. They wanted to take advantage of the shutoff to get the pipe fixed in my place. This was not unexpected. So when I came home, fairly late, the pipe was fixed and the water was on. There were still holes in my ceiling.
On Tuesday I went to the management office to complain about the mess that had been made. (I was mostly concerned about the dust that had gotten everywhere.) And to find out the future schedule for the holes in the ceiling. Interestingly, the lady in management took the opportunity to vent to me instead. She had just gotten back from vacation and it was in the evening when her neighbour in the building told her sewage was coming up the bathtub. She had to spend the evening cleaning and getting an emergency plumber. The pipes were so backed up, that a snake couldn’t break it up; it was like concrete. So they needed to rip out the drywall to get at the pipe to remove it.
She tried to say it was lucky that they could do my repair at the same time; I corrected her that it was not lucky, just convenient.
In any case, she would get the repairs done by Friday. And then afterwards, a cleaner would come and clean up the mess.
That was all finished today. So, I now have a clean apartment, and I just have to get everything back into the closet. I should probably take the opportunity to purge some of the clothing as well.