We’ve been having a little problem with the water here in Michigan; maybe you’ve heard.
When the Flint story began to break big, I asked Alan to check our water service line, and he did, reporting back: Lead. OK, no need to panic. The whole country is full of lead or lead-welded infrastructure, and it’s not necessarily an E-ticket to brain damage. When the dangers of lead were first grasped, we didn’t instantly dig them all up, we started adding anti-corrosive agents to municipal water systems. Over time — this is among the 10,000 fun facts about water treatment that every state resident has learned in the last six months or so — this builds up a layer of protective coating on your pipes, so no more lead leaching into your water.
(In fact, one of the problems with Flint now is, the residents are so leery of running their water for any reason that even though the city is now buying treated, finished water from Detroit again, they aren’t running enough through their home pipes to allow them to heal, so to speak. But I digress.)
So, theoretically, because we’ve been drinking treated water from Detroit since we’ve lived here, we should be fine. I didn’t rush to have our water tested, figuring the labs would be inundated with samples from Flint, where they legitimately have reason for concern. I didn’t want to take up lab time because I feel nervous.
Then elevated lead levels were found in a few isolated spots in the local public schools, and I overheard one of the janitors talking to the lifeguard at the pool, saying, “Well, what did they expect? They took the samples at the end of Easter vacation. That water had been sitting in the pipes for days.” Personally? What I expect would be no or hardly any lead in my water. So that was worrisome. And as more emails are released from various government entities, a culture of gaming the testing samples is becoming evident; there’s a protocol that allows outlier readings to be thrown out, or averaged, or something, so that the reaction when a bad sample turns up isn’t oh no lead rush to fix it, but quick get a bunch more samples, so we can throw that one out.
Enough time has passed that the Flint samples must have eased off at the state lab; time for Nance’s peace of mind. It’ll cost $26, assuming I filled out the form properly – it seems very to-the-trade, and how do you like that tiny envelope?
I’ll keep you posted on the extent of our brain damage.
What a weekend. Spring is here, and we set off for the local Junior League’s Decorator Show House. It was our family doctor’s father’s house, who I gather was something of an eccentric (when he got tired of keeping up the landscaping, he brought in goats, and ignored all official attempts to evict them), and a pack rat. After his death, the family spent months just clearing the place out. Late one New Year’s Eve, we got a text message inviting us there for one final, impromptu throwdown, and we went. It’s a spectacular house, and even with its ’70s shag carpet and years of neglect, it was clear the good bones were still there. Paul, our doctor, showed us the secret room where the booze was hidden during Prohibition (you could see the bottle marks on the floor), and the basement dry dock — yes, it has a canal leading to a boathouse that can be pumped out and boats hoisted for storage and repair, a feature that I’m sure got its share of action during the ’20s, too.
Every lakefront house in Grosse Pointe has some sort of Prohibition story attached to it, many of them b.s., but this is one whose stories I believe.
Anyway, the decorating was uneven, as most show houses are, but there were a lot of nice touches. The best were the ones where they let those good bones show through. Some moneybags will own it now, and it will nevermore host goats, I imagine. How often do you visit a house with its own lock, and not the kind on the doors?
So, then, a bit of bloggage?
Have you looked at his face? The strain. The white circles around the eyes. He just doesn’t look like a well man. Yes, his keeling over dead sometime in the next six months would be a deus ex machina solution. But God looks kindly upon America. Or did.
Not to get overly personal and mean, which smacks of Trumpism. I don’t wish the man dead, just not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The toughest challenge, facing him, is not to become like him. Because we lose that game, since he’s better at being him than we are.
“When fighting monsters,” as my favorite Nietszche quote goes, “take care not to become a monster.”
A daffy fashion piece by Robin Givhan, about Elizabeth Warren’s sleeves. Headline: Elizabeth Warren is sending you a subliminal message with her sleeves. For real.
The week ahead will be a bear, but I think I’m ready. I better be. You too?