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Monday, January 26, 2004

Houses, Elephant and Other 

We didn't end up tying the pancakes yesterday morning, in large part because we were still stuffed from the night before's meal (however, they are on the menu for dinner one night this week). Evelin makes a fantastic blueberry pie and the rest of the food was tasty, too, although I was once again reminded that I don't work well with filo dough ...

We did have one big problem crop up on Saturday afternoon (this is the "House, Other" alluded to in the entry title): The upstairs bathroom has a clog or something, probably in the drain branch pipe. Basically, the tub is draining really slowly, and if the water in the sink runs for too long, water starts to bubble up through the tub's drain. I tried snaking both drains, but there are too many twists/turns to get the snake deep enough into the wall. The same problem occurred with a water-jet type snake. There is a small concern that the problem could be related to all the cold weather (the pipes run down through an exterior wall), that that is unlikely. I am hesitant however to try a baking soda and vinegar solution because I may end up wanting/having to use something like Drano or Liquid Plumber, but I don't want to use one of the chemical solutions because I'd prefer to use something that is less likely to damage the old pipes in the house. (Total Catch 22.) Today, I have to be in the office, but maybe tomorrow I can stay home and try to figure something out. In the mean time, all the other drains (including the downstairs bathroom) seem fine, so it's more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Yesterday, I had a shift watching the pandas. The bears themselves were pretty sedate (Mei spent almost the entire two-hour watch asleep), but since I was early, I took a pass through the elephant house, which was quite active. Kandula was banging a log against the enclosure's bars making quite a racket, and Randall, the new Rothschild's giraffe, is out of quarantine, but he seems to be keeping to himself a bit. The reticulated giraffe, Malaika, doesn't seem to be cottoning to the idea of sharing the enclosure and since Randall is "new guy," she is really keeping him in line.

The other fun bit was the capybaras, who were being quite active. They are still young and only about three-quarters of their adult size. The capybaras in their hay when I first walked in, but one by one they slipped in the water and started swimming around and play fighting. It was surprisingly cute considering that they are giant rodents.

This morning's snowfall wasn't too bad. For some reason, all the streets near the federal buildings (Louisiana Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, etc.) were terrible. Maybe the Department of Homeland Security is barring plows from running too close to the monuments, Congress, etc., or something, but it was really frustrating to be back on four inches of snow/slush after enjoying well-plowed driving on North Capitol Street and in Brookland.

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