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Mrs. Flusher

I used to hate it when someone called me that — a telephone solictiation person or an address on an envelope.  I told the former that no one by that name lived here.  The latter got tossed in the trash.

I got very careful about spelling my name on the phone with someone who didn’t know me.  “My name is Slusher — S as in Sam, L-U-S-H-E-R.  It rhymes with Usher.”  That worked most of the time.   What gets me it that people thought Slusher was odd — and Flusher wasn’t?  Come on. . . .

Anyway, I’m happy to be called that this week.  We’ve had plumbing concerns for more that a few weeks.  It got to the point that if we had a 100% flush, it was cause for celebration!  We’d had it pumped about 6 weeks ago and it still hadn’t improved much.  We were discussing and analyzing and  deliberating on our next move.   The worst case scenario was a tie-in to the city’s sewer system at almost $6000 or a re-do of our old septic system for about half that amount.  Either way wasn’t our first choice solution.  I’ve now lived in this house for 25 years (is that possible?) and we’d been here for about 8 years before we’d ever had it pumped the first time.  That’s not been the case the past few years.  Anyway — this past week, Bruce got on the phone and called around to check prices, availability, etc.  He finally settled on a business we’d not ever used before.  We set a day and time.

Up the drive came a huge tanker truck, with a driver who even backed up our long 300 foot driveway.  I was impressed immediately.  Out jumped two good ol’ boys who knew septic systems.  They got to work.  Their boss hated call-backs so they proceeded to do the best pumping job this system has ever seen.  Apparently the back line had not been adequately cleared in the past few years.   They pumped while I manned the flush handle in the back bathroom.  Bruce was the intermediary, who yelled instructions back and forth.  They pumped and pumped.  I flushed and flushed.  Bruce yelled and hollered.  Finally it ran clear –to their very exacting standards.  They were happy.  We were delighted.  Their boss wouldn’t be having any call backs.

I just love it when someone is number one in the number two business.

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A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, says Shakespeare. Names identify significant attributes we need to know. I suspect they may help shape character too.

Our tuxedo cat is named Booger. He has two black spots on his otherwise white nose. The name was an easy choice. However, I just couldn’t bear to put “Booger” on his vet records. So when we go to the vet, I have to remember to respond to “Buddy” when they call his name. I just couldn’t make some poor vet tech have to call “Booger” to a crowded waiting room. He is fourteen pounds worth of onery feline fur. A real Alpha Cat. At times he is sweet and cuddly and cute. He “talks” — grumps and growls with a cross between a meow and a throaty quasi-purr. In addition, he has a comment on everything. He sounds just like a grumpy old man, fussing under his breath about his daily annoyances, from his canned food being late to the other cats getting his favorite nap spot to rainy day door decisions. Although, education classes explain “self actualization” — the process of becoming what we’re told we are, I do wonder if that applies to animals. Booger was a feisty little runt of the litter from the beginning. I got him from a friend from church. All it took was “We might have to have him euthanized if we can’t find him a home” for me to scoop him up. He rode home that day in the car sitting on my shoulder, purring in my ear like a furry parrot. However, the older he gets, the more “boogerish” he becomes.

One of my favorite Monty Python skits is when they make fun of the pronunciation of names. John Cleese says, “My name is Throat Warbler Mangrove, but you can call me Luxury Yacht.” Our family thought that was hilarious, so whenever we were unsure of someone’s name he/she was referred to as “Luxury Yacht”.

The last year I taught I had a student named Thania. First day of school, I called her name. “No,” she said, “it’s pronounced ‘Tonya.'” “T-H-A-N-I-A?” I asked, looking at my list, thinking someone had misspelled it. “Yes, It’s pronounced Tonya.” “But T-H-A-N should rhyme with Stan,” I said, drawing on everything I ever knew about the phonology of the English language. “Well, my mother says it is pronounced “Tonya.” Well, I’m thinking, your mother needs a spelling lesson — “Tonya” or even “Tonia” would do. Why would any mother do that? I called her “Miss Jones” throughout the year. It had to be that or “Luxury Yacht.”

Years ago I found several bricks in the yard with the name “Stevens” imprinted on them. I used one as a door stop, even using others to lift up the grate in the fireplace. Little did I know, that years later, I would marry a “Stephens.” Prophetic, huh?

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