Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hot Water, Phone Fun and Living an Era

I have hot water again! It turned out to be a (relatively) simple fix that merely required the purchase of a $1.41 packet of washers and replacement of said washers. However, I've verified that I will need a new water heater when they take the old one out to rebuild the cabinet it's in because mine probably has stalactites and stalagmites built up in it. We have a lot of calcium and lime in our water. I have to be good today and get a lot of work done, though, because fixing the water heater turned into a day of hanging out and then going out to dinner, but I probably needed the mental break and the wind-down from the stress of discovering what looked like a terrible problem. We have more repairs and a movie scheduled for Friday, and there's something I can fix that I'll be taking care of when I get the parts. I think I'll wait until later in the week for that trip to Home Depot.

Now, for a discussion of recent reading. I've mostly been doing reading for researching a book, which I won't get into. I read the latest installment in Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigibles series. I really like this series but am getting a bit frustrated by how slowly the clues and developments are trickling out. Since these are written for kids, I wonder how they respond to that. At least the books are coming out at a pretty quick and steady pace, so there's not too long to wait for the next one.

For a change of pace from all the fantasy I've been reading lately, I read Sophie Kinsella's latest, I've Got Your Number. From the way it started, I thought I'd have to cringe my way through it because the set-up seemed to be pretty sit-commy and was the kind of thing where you can see the disaster coming from the way the character is acting. But once the story really got going it turned out to be rather charming, and because of the situation it was a romance that was allowed to develop more on the emotional and mental level without going straight to lust. At the beginning of the book, our heroine has lost her engagement ring (her fiance's family heirloom). She'd been at a tea in a hotel, her friends had insisted on trying on her ring (the part where I was mentally shouting "No, don't do it!"), then the fire alarm went off, and when they got back to their table, no one had the ring or knew who had it. She's given her phone number to all the hotel staff in case they find it, and then she gets mugged and has her phone stolen. Just as she's collapsing in despair, she sees a phone in a trash can in the hotel lobby. So, she picks it up and gives that number to the hotel so they can reach her. But the phone is a company-owned phone that had been issued to an executive's assistant, and she'd tossed it in the trash when she abruptly quit that day. He calls, desperate for some help from the assistant who's supposed to be at the hotel for a client event. Our heroine helps him, then begs him to let her keep using the phone until her ring is found and she can get a new phone. He grudgingly agrees, so long as she forwards any messages or e-mails that come to that phone until he can arrange to get them sent to a different number/address.

But sharing a phone means they get access to each other's lives. She notices from the kinds of messages going to the assistant for him that he's a terrible communicator who doesn't read most of his e-mail and seldom replies. She gets him out of a couple of scrapes by pointing out details he missed (it's hard not to read things when she has to open them to forward them), and that emboldens her to start replying for him, which has mixed results. In some cases, it really helps his career. In others, she misinterprets things and causes problems. Meanwhile, he helps her out of some sticky situations with her fiance and his ivory-tower academic family, feeding her info so she won't feel so inferior to them. And then he starts to worry about what's up with her fiance when she forwards a message that she thinks is for him but that he knows isn't, and it's about what her fiance is up to. Basically, it's a pretty complicated plot for a chick-lit novel, but it's fun to see the back-and-forth of the messages and the way they get to know each other that way and the way these two strangers have each other's backs. There are footnotes included in the narrative, inspired by the fiance's academic papers, and that's where a lot of the jokes are. It's a fairly lightweight book, but perfect summer reading, and the kind of thing where you find yourself staying up really late to finish it. I think it would make a charming romantic comedy movie.

Speaking of which, I watched a new-to-me romantic comedy from my stash of things I bought when the neighborhood Blockbuster closed, Dream for an Insomniac. It was essentially a 1990s time capsule, but a decent romantic comedy. Our heroine has had chronic insomnia since she was a child, and she claims that since she doesn't dream while sleeping, she's allowed to have big dreams while awake. One of those dreams is that she won't settle for anything short of extraordinary when it comes to love. She's holding out for the perfect guy who fits her ideals. And then three days before she's to move to LA with her best friend to pursue an acting career, the perfect guy shows up and takes a job at her family's coffee shop. She has three days to convince him that he's in love with her so he'll follow her to LA, otherwise she'll lose him forever. It's pretty much one of those Gen-X slacker 90s movies, where all the mildly ambitionless young people hang out in a coffee shop and have long conversations loaded with pop culture and literary references. There's even Jennifer Anniston, complete with "Rachel" hair, playing the best friend, back in the day when her Friends fame was on the upswing and she was making smart career moves in playing supporting roles in smaller films (her "leading lady" films have been pretty awful and have exposed just how limited her range is). It was actually a pretty pleasant film where I liked the main characters and wanted them to end up together, but I was mostly amused by what a period piece it was. When you're living through an era, you never think about how it will look from the future, that it will actually be an "era." It kind of made me want to pull out my Gin Blossoms and Barenaked Ladies CDs. I never really did the coffee shop thing because I don't like coffee, but I did spend a fair amount of time hanging out in Barnes & Noble coffee shops (more for the books than for the coffee). I didn't get the "slacker" thing because I worked in office jobs when I was that age during that era, and I spent my free time writing books.

No comments: