Sometimes you have a *click click* ssssssssss-steam leak.

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While we were on vacation our apartment was left unattended from 18 December to 11 January.  (Sorry, burglers.  Even if I had told you this before the fact, there really wasn’t much in there to satisfy.)

This was the longest stretch it had been sitting empty in, like, forever.  As least in the four years I’ve lived there.  Needless to say, I was a bit concerned.  Not I’m-going-to-set-up-a-nanny-cam-to-make-sure-everything-is-ok-everyday concerned, but at least I-think-about-it-every-so-often-and-hope-everything-is-ok concerned.

I had left a card for our superintendent (complete with Christmas tip) and let him know we were going to be out of town for that stretch of time, asking him to keep an eye on things and grab our mail if it overflowed.  All seemed well.

The vacation happened.

We come back home (after an exhausting day of traveling, much of which was delayed) at 2am.  We open the door to our apartment and there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, is our window A/C unit.  That was IN the window when we left.  There is the Christmas tree, star akimbo, wearing only half our ornaments.  The rest are on the ground in various pieces.  Curious.

We put down our bags and investigate.  There is no sign of forced entry.  There’s nothing stolen.  There’s nothing broken.  Everything in the apartment is a little sticky.  Everything in the apartment looks like it got wet.  The floors are sticky.  The walls are streaked.  The dishes look like they had dirty water in them at one point.

“There must have been a leak,” we say.  “But why is the A/C moved?  Why did the tree obviously fall?  And why is it not messy?”  One would assume that, if there was a leak, things would be much dirtier and disgusting than they are.  Especially since someone obviously came into our apartment to do something (in theory, fix the leak).  And where did the leak come from?  There’s no origin point in the ceiling or anything.

Confused, we went to bed.

The next day was Sunday, so I couldn’t talk to the super.  It’s his day off.  We cleaned instead.  All the stickiness.  All the warped books.  All the streaks on the walls.  It was so weird.  We couldn’t even ask our cat what had happened because we took her with us!

When I finally caught up with my super, I got the story.  And it all makes sense:

During the deepfreeze that hit the east coast, the heat was cranked up.  We have radiator heat.  The force from the steam must have been so powerful that it popped the cap off the radiator.  Steam billowed into the apartment (for how long, who knows? A day? A week? I shudder at the thought.)  A neighbor saw the steam and thought it was smoke.  They called 911.  The fire department came.  My super couldn’t find the keys to our apartment.  The fire department climbed up the fire escape, busted the A/C out of the window, knocking over the Christmas tree right in front of the window.  

They came in and did whatever needed to happen to fix the radiator, but the place was still moist.  I imagine it was rather like a steam room.  The super and fire department left, closing the door behind them.  The steam could not escape.  Now that it was cooling down in the apartment, it turned to liquid and rained down from the ceiling over everything.  And then we came home at 2am on the 12th of January befuddled to no end.

Thankfully, nothing was damaged, no claims need to be filed.  Some of our books have warped covers, but that’s pretty much it.  Our Fosse-esque steam leak (it’s not really Fosse-esque unless you describe it like this post’s title, but that’s ok) was minor.  All’s well.

Now we just have to keep our eye out for mold!

Good to be home!!  🙂

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Sometimes Connecticut is the best place. PART TWO

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We awoke with a wandering song singing in our hearts (Or something like that).  Vacation Day number two was our traveling day, and travel we certainly did.

Setting out early in the morning, we drove northward to Gillette Castle State Park, which is somewhere in between East Haddam and Old Lyme.  Here we purchased admission to the park’s main attraction, Gillette Castle.

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In 1914, William Gillette, the actor most famous for being the first Sherlock Holmes, built a huge frickin’ castle.  Out of stone.  He custom-made all the doors in the thing.  He created a secret passageway where he could spy on guests to decide if he wanted to come down to greet them.  He created a trick bar that only he knew how to open.  And he built a train.  And a railroad station.  And a track.  Just for fun.  He was a really cool, funny, fun dude.

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After eating lunch on the edge of a swamp (much prettier than you’re envisioning right now in your heads), we set off in search of more fun.  It wasn’t more than a half-hour before we stumbled upon The Goodspeed Opera House.  Of course, I said.  This is where it is!  I’ve never been.  Nor have I, said Becca.

On a whim, we thought we’d see if there were any seats left for that evening’s performance of “Hello, Dolly!”  Lo and behold, there were!  With a quick swipe of the Visa, we were the proud occupants of balcony seats.  Serendipity.  Sometimes you drive past a regional theater and just pop in for a show.  It happens.

With the afternoon still free, we drove into Hartford to the Mark Twain House.  Right next door?  The Harriet Beecher Stowe House!  Why tour one when you can tour both?  On that beautiful afternoon, we saw where two of the century’s pre-eminent authors wrote some of their best work.  We saw the actual desk where Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn sprang to life.  Pretty neat, if I do say so myself.

But we musn’t tarry too long, we said.  We found – again, thanks to Siri – a nice little Mexican restaurant on the way back to East Haddam where we satiated our appetites.  Then, with a quick trip to an ice cream parlor, we were set to see some theatre!

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The Goodspeed Opera House, for those of you who haven’t been, is lovely.  Gorgeous architecture and a really neat history.  The production featured the Australian Tony Sheldon as Horace Vandergelder, whom you may recall from his Tony-nominated performance in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”  After living in NYC and watching productions with such a jaded eye, it was glorious to be in a theater with hundreds of people who came in that night specifically to enjoy themselves and who succeeded marvelously.  A riotous good time.

Pooped from another long day, we made our way back to the house in Fairfield.

The next day was BEACH DAY (Take Two).  There’s not much to say about Beach Day except that it was perfect.  The weather was perfect – sunny and warm, but with a nice little breeze every now and then.  The beach was perfect – not too crowded, but not awkwardly vacant, either.  The water was perfect – the ocean was cool and refreshing and not as dirty as the more populated commercial beaches.  We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  After a lobster roll for Becca and a chicken sandwich for me, we even squeezed in another movie.

Sunburnt and happy, we prepared ourselves for our next and last day of vacation, which was better than either of us could have dreamed.

Stay tuned for PART THREE, the final exciting chapter in the amazing Connecticut vacation!

Sometimes people act crazy when you give them free things.

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At my theater company’s smaller space, we handle mostly new works by new slash unknown playwrights.  Our first week of previews for every show have what are called “Talk ‘n’ Taste” nights, where we hold a post-show discussion with members of the creative team so they can gauge the audience’s reaction and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  That’s the “Talk” part.  The “Taste” part is free pizza and wine in the lobby for those that participated in the discussion.

The ten most frequent types of Free-Pizza people:

  1. The person who walks up, looks at the offering, makes a face as if to say, ‘That’s it?’ and then walks away without partaking.
  1. The person who may or may not be homeless based on their hoarding of three or four pieces of pizza in their bag, after which they make a quick getaway to seemingly eat on the street.
  1. The person who walks up and talks a lot about the pizza – ‘Where did it come from?’, ‘Do you have a different kind not on display here?’, ‘Have you ever had this other kind of pizza?’, ‘Maybe you should get that kind next time.’
  1. The person who walks up and doesn’t talk about the pizza at all, but still talks a lot – ‘So you work for the theater?’, ‘How long have you worked here?’, ‘Have you seen this show?’, ‘Is this a new building?’, ‘Can I buy a ticket from you for the next show?’, ‘Is it still raining outside?’
  1. The person who makes you decide what they like.  ‘What’s your favorite kind of pizza here?  The zucchini?  Do you think I’ll actually like that?’
  1. The person who tries to return the pizza.  ‘This isn’t what I thought it would be and I don’t want to throw it away.  Do you think anybody else would eat this piece that I took a bite out of?  There’s still a lot of it left.’
  1. The person who stands by the pizza table so they can immediately reach in and get another piece when their current one is gone, crowding the table and making it impossible for anyone else to get in and grab a slice.  Because obviously the second they walk away it will all disappear.
  1. The person who asks for the ingredients.  Or if it’s gluten-free.  It’s free pizza, lady.  I don’t know.
  1. The person who sets up camp on one of the benches in the lobby with their pizza and sits for a half-hour after the event ends.  You put away the table and take out the trash and they’re still there.  Everyone else is gone and they’re still there.  You fade the lobby lights down to half and they’re still there.  So you literally have to go up to the person and tell them that you need to close up the lobby.  It’s at that point they say they have to go to the bathroom first.  So now you have to wait for all that to happen before you can lock up and leave.
  1. Finally, the person who just takes a piece of pizza and a glass of wine and says “Thanks!” and goes off to one side to chat with their friends.  They finish their pizza and leave quietly.  These are my favorite.

Can you name any other types of Free-Pizza People?

 

Sometimes people are the worst.

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Imagine, if you will, a typical night at the theatre.  On the job, I stand at the back of the house, as is my usual position, keeping watch over the flock of theatre-goers who are watching an Off-Broadway musical.  All is well.

A gentleman in the front of the house gets up and leaves through the side aisle.  No problem.  I radio to my co-worker downstairs, informing her that someone has left the house.  She confirms and several minutes pass.  She radios that the gentleman used the restroom and is now on his way back up to me in the elevator.  (Due to the odd configuration of the house, everyone who arrives late or leaves their seat and comes back in has to go through the back of the house – it’s too distracting otherwise.)

I greet the gentleman as he exits the elevator.  He is in his mid-thirties, nicely dressed in a linen shirt and trendy jeans.  He has dark curly hair and is not Caucasian.  I inform him he will not be able to return to his actual seat, he says that’s ok, and I put him in a seat in the second-to-last row.

The performance continues.

About fifteen minutes later, a woman gets up from the front of the house and stands in the side aisle.  She must have to use the restroom, I think to myself, but wants to wait for the current song to end.  Unfortunately, we can’t have anyone standing there – fire hazard.  I radio down to my co-worker and inform her of the problem.  She confirms and retrieves the woman from the side aisle, taking her downstairs and out of sight.

Shortly thereafter, she radios up to say that the woman is coming back up in the elevator to me.  She was apparently concerned when the previous gentleman left his bag.  Ahh, I think.  She was with him and brought his bag.  (Not uncommon when a member of a couple leaves to use the restroom and magically never returns to their actual seat – the other party comes looking for them.)

When she gets off the elevator, I see she is much older than the gentleman.  White-haired, Caucasian, obviously wealthy.  I doubt they are a couple.  She also has no bag with her.  Curious, I think.  I give my speech about how she, unfortunately, won’t be able to return to her actual seat.  She says that’s fine, as long as she can sit somewhere in the back.

Of course, I say.  I direct her to the row in which I had placed the gentleman, still thinking they must still be of the same party.  She balks.  Her eyes go wide and she shakes her head vehemently left and right.  I remind her in whisper that I cannot get her to her actual seat.

“I’m not sitting next to him,” she hisses. 

Confused, I place her in another row and the show concludes.  They were not together.

I found out later the rest of the story to which I was not privy:  The woman left her seat because the “Middle-Eastern-looking man” left his bag in his seat and then disappeared.  When my co-worker downstairs assured her that nothing was amiss, she did not believe her and said that we (the theater) should “do something, like call the police.”

When my co-worker asked if the woman would like to leave, the woman replied, “No I want to see the show I paid for.” 

So the compromise was her sitting far enough away that if it was a bomb, the shrapnel would have definitely cut her up a bit. 

The icing on the cake with all of this is that apparently she left her husband right next to the bag.  He was apparently not convinced anything was wrong and didn’t want to cause a fuss or give up his good seats.

Needless to say, nothing happened with the bag and all three hundred people safely left the house at the end of the performance.

Oh, the people you meet in the theatre…