Well, well, well.

The well broke again, the hot water heater has a failed joint and there’s a leak in the basement.

Leek (717x800)

Apparently, no one has been feeding our dead plumber ghost.

This guy is cranky and cantankerous, moody as a teenager, and when determined to send home the message of I dont like being ignored will shut us down, skillfully coordinating it with a heat spell, a sand storm and a family reunion. He’s crafty, that’s for sure.

Roger (our nearly resident handyman/polymath friend and neighbor whom you can read more about here or here) has a new theory he suggested I consider. My original hypothesis—the one that suggested our continual plumbing calamities were the result of our construction contractors enacting an ancient building rite where one man is sacrificed and buried within the foundation walls to pacify the gods by dedicating a life in exchange for future good fortune—is one that I feel has explained most of our lamentable lack of liquid setbacks. But Roger has spent a great deal of time on our little haunted homestead and has suggested this:

The natives are restless.

One in particular.

And a powerful one at that.

Roger believes the land we currently inhabit was at one time occupied by many Native Americans, and that their burial grounds are scattered among these mountaintops where they settled. He also suspects that when we began poking around in the ground to divine a water source, we may have accidentally driven the shaft of the well right through the heart of a powerful chieftain.

Sauk Chief Makataimeshekiakiah, or Black Hawk

And now we’re in for it.

This makes a mind-boggling amount of sense to me as well (no pun intended). And because of this new theory, I’m left wondering if there is something I can do to right this wrong. Can I alter a few things around the property in order to set straight that which has been askew? Is it possible to mend fences with the dearly departed?

Looking over my daily life, I believe I’ve come up with a few things that may be irritating our wronged warrior. For instance, if you’ve gleaned anything from prior posts, it may be apparent that I have a slight affinity for everything that reminds me of Scotland—and for the sake of full transparency, I suggest you replace the word “Scotland” with the phrase men in kilts. The fact that I’ve been blaring bagpipe music across the mountaintop is likely enough to rouse him from a settled slumber.

Wakingthedead (689x800)

I’m switching to wooden flutes. Nothing but melodies that are healing, plaintive and meditative. I myself will simply have to envision the musician as more of an evolved clansman. Maybe one with well-manicured hands who writes Gaelic poetry on the side. I’ll try to get used to it.

Or it could be that the scent of food emanating from my kitchen is so foreign and unpleasant that he occasionally puts a full stop on my practice of culinary arts. Yes, it’s true that I am somewhat overzealous with my enthusiasm for fermented foods and that in every dark and draftless corner I have something covered in cheesecloth, quietly brewing. But surely our wandering, tribal spirit would appreciate that I attempt to bar entrance to the pantry any foodstuffs that come across my threshold in a colorful cardboard box rather than strung together through the gills or bound collectively by foot and thrown inside a gunny sack.

Pantryclub (800x592)

Yes, you’re right, I got a little carried away with that last part, but it seriously sounded so authentic in my head. Thankfully, the fishmonger at Whole Foods takes care of the scaling and the butcher removes most remnants of hoof and paw, head and hair. And I thank them for it.

Again, in my defense, I cook a lot of ancient, ancestral grains, but I’m wondering if perhaps he has noted that most of my seeds have traveled a great distance to find a space in my cupboard. Is it likely that my passion for sprouted, Aztec super grains has stirred his wrath over my carbon footprint?

English: Alexandria City, MO, July 9, 1993 -- ...

How do I delicately communicate my aversion to corn after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, where Michael Pollan effectively told me that many Americans are now highly processed walking corn because of poor diets? I look ashen in yellow, so no thanks.

Having given it a great deal of thought, and having come up with two very viable possibilities as to what nettled my supernatural Native American, I have to admit I believe it is neither one. The third option is not one of music, or food, but worship.

It is so easy to take what we have for granted. I rarely give a thought about the ease of access to my water, the process others labored to bring it to me, and most importantly, the source from which it came. water faucet (600x800)I am reminded of these things when I’m denied that ease, when it is I who must labor and when the source withholds. Every drop to wash my hands, every dab to cool my brow and every sip to slake my thirst is counted, is measured, is honored.

This is his message, isn’t it? To be careful, to be mindful and to be grateful.

And that if I don’t turn off the bagpipes, he’ll turn off the water pipes.


Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott’s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

13 thoughts on “Well, well, well.

    • Well, I suppose we either keep our sense of humor or we keep a stash of Kleenex close. Hard liquor can also soften the rough edges of life. Hey, you have to drink something when the faucet runs dry, right? 😉

  1. I love bagpipes, too. For some reason the moment I hear them, the hair on my neck stands up and my eyes start to sing and my throat feels all lumpy. Bagpipes have always affected me powerfully; can’t explain it. I first went to Scotland last year in May, and I loved every single thing about it. I almost embarrassed myself when I saw a bagpiper in full Scottish regalia who was playing the pipes. For some reason I wanted to hurl myself on top of him. That was odd! Of course I did no such thing, but there is definitely something about Scotland and a man in a kilt. 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your water woes. If you are open to an “alternative” solution, find a shaman—-not a fakey one—–who perhaps can contact the elemental energies around your house and property. Might help. Best of luck to you, enjoyed your post and looking forward to future ones!

    • Hordes of women would nod knowingly and enthusiastically in regards to your unnerving experience in Scotland. But no worries, after another few go rounds, you’ll find you’ll lose that flustered feeling and just get on with the hurling. It’s okay with the guys in kilts. They’re entirely prepared for it.
      And many thanks for the suggestion. At some stage during the height of summer, no stone is left unturned in searching for a solution. Harry Potter wands, rain dances in the yard, or searching Virginia for a shaman–everything is a possibility if it brings relief. 😉

  2. G’morn’n Ms. S,

    First, Rob… is freak’n hilarious! Whatever you’re not paying him, double it. He seems a bit between Calvin and Hobbes (my fave) and Mel Brooks, if he were to have ever taken on comic strips. (Much due respect and appreciation to you Sir Rob). Keep the ink flowing.

    Second, your thoughts of having a dead plumber ghost on site; that, or having considered building upon an ancient local holy burial grounds of an Indian tribe… deep, but very twisted, yet in a romantic kind of way. I like that, respectfully.

    Your thoughts remind me strongly of E.A. Poe’s writings of both {The Black Cat}, perhaps Pluto lives amongst your dwelling, and yet another of his famous short stories (as you are quite familiar with my short attention span), {The Tell-Tale Heart}.

    Maybe you could have Christopher Walken (thinking in his “Gabriel” role) stop by to give the house and site a walk through… there’s truth, eh?). Or just consider sacrificing a lamb (not Titt’s and Piddle’s) pinyata once-in-a-while to beg for your water table level to rise.

    Outside of that, my only other advice would be to just call your local Culligan man and keep up your stock of good malt whiskey… minus the man in the kilt. (We have enough of those here in my neck of the woods to make our own “GQ” magazine).

    Off to harvest my barley field,


    Stoshu 🙂

    • Many thanks for your comments and I feel honored to even be in the same sentence as Calvin and Hobbes and Mel Brooks. Both big faves of mine too. I really think the world would be a better place if we had more skewered insane humor around. I’m sure Shelley’ll back me up on that one too

      • I would wholeheartedly agree, Rob. Steve, if there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far from my surreal good fortune to work with Rob, it’s that having someone illustrate your life puts an entirely new perspective on living it. It’s hard to take yourself seriously anymore and everything starts to take on this “Rob-esque” filter. I think we should all be so lucky. Robin, you need to be cloned for the good of humanity’s mental health.

  3. Love how each of your comments always send me off to the library to understand the references. I think if we were to compare stacks of bedside books, most of my high school English teachers would shrug, sigh and say, “we tried.”
    I think you might be invited into the teacher’s lounge.
    Let me know when the grains are in. I’ll send you some peat. 😉

  4. Shells,

    Don’t sweat your former English teachers thoughts on your books… think of this:

    “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that woud wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write?” – F. Kafka

    The quote is much longer, but I’m almost sure he’d agree with your selections of bed time books as I can only imagine they’re close to your stlye of writing. Your writing wakes me up, but then so does the freak’n e-mail notification at 1am Sunday morning that your new blog has been posted.

    Stoshu 🙂

    • I’m not sure my bed side books are truly in sync with my writing style. Just a quick looksee:

      “Why Do Men Have Nipples? Hundreds of Questions You’d Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini”
      “The Joy of Uncircumcising”
      “The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories”
      “Castration: The Advantages and Disadvantages”
      “Reusing Old Graves”
      “Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School”

      Okay, do you still think I don’t owe an apology to our professor of English Lit 101?

      • Smells,

        So, your reference is portly in direct comparison to Mr. Mortensen? (You know, he greatly reminds me of Morty, the camp director from the movie {Meatballs}. I loved that guy, even though I use to get hammered with arguments of disagreements of why my book reviews of what he had us read were not classically correct… wrong vision I guess. Yet, what type of “classical vision” or mere comprehension would a 14 year old have at that stage, more or less of such “deep” books? Let’s see…

        1) Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes – should have been in GQ, and perhaps not the actual one, he didn’t appreciate the reference, I digress.

        2) Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift – filled with savagery and satire. (Morty didn’t appreciate my humor I found in the book… so be it). The latest movie with Jack Black did just that. 🙂

        3) Brave New World, Aldues Huxley – after responding that our home town was a direct mirrored explanation of Miranda’s famous quote… “O wonder!
        How many goodly creatures are there here!
        How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
        That has such people in’t.”
        —William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]

        Oddly, Morty thought it insultive of our small town, and yet that now reminds me of another novel, but perhaps over a glass of wine and another round of peat smoked lamb shanks.


        Stoshu 🙂

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