The Ghost in the Machine

So the Appliance Gremlins have left us, but the Water Gremlins have appeared in 2022.

While in a sound sleep last weekend in Key Largo, we heard a loud beeping sound that appeared to be a siren blaring, like something out of a World War I movie. At first we thought it was outside, then realized it was coming from inside our unit. The next morning, upon further investigation, it was determined to be coming from our laundry closet and our new (1 year) tankless, hot water heater.

I Googled why our tankless hot water heater would make this sound and discovered it’s either a water or a gas leak. So either catastrophic or fatal consequences to this noise are imminent and it needs to be dealt with, but for now, all’s quiet on the Southern front.

Back at home, our bedroom toilet had grown increasingly fussy and harder to flush.

Is it harder to flush, or not filling up the bowl with water as quickly?

asked my very good and reliable plumber.

Good question. I hadn’t really paid that much attention. Zeke plunged the toilet repeatedly, but when he flushed it this last time, it overflowed. So he turned the water off and called the plumber. He blamed the back-up on me for flushing wipes down the toilet. I NEVER flush wipes down the toilet, but always put them in the garbage can, where they belong.

At the same time this was happening, our guest bathroom kept flushing. Was it a ghost in our house? Using the guest bathroom? I would hope if I was a ghost, I wouldn’t have to be bothered with such earthly matters as that.

Is it flushing, or just running?

asked our very good and reliable plumber.

Another good question I didn’t know the answer to. When he came the next day to solve our toilet dilemma, he said he found a ton of wipes (?) and Dental Floss Picks in our toilet, two of which had wedged into the opening to create a lockjam for toilet paper, wipes and whatever else had collected there. I’m glad I’m not a plumber and glad I have a good one, but wasn’t planning on starting my year off with a $250 plumbing bill.

You really shouldn’t throw anything down the toilet but toilet paper.

said our good and reliable plumber.

But, he also noted that people that don’t follow that rule are what keeps him in business. I swear I didn’t flush any wipes down the toilet and I definitely wouldn’t throw plastic dental picks in there. Who would? Did I have a phantom flusher living in my midst? Was it Wyatt? My housekeeper? Neither one makes sense. And he checked the downstairs toilet and said it was fine. Luckily, he was quick because I had to take Wyatt to golf. He’s now taking Golf and Tennis lessons at Riviera. He says he likes golf better, but we’ll see. He’s only six.

I also babysat Phoenix twice last week. He’s almost nine months and already took his first step, which is early. Just like his Mom A.J., who took her first step at nine months and was walking by ten months. As we all know, as soon as they start walking, life for their caretakers is essentially over, as they can now get into everything.

Phoenix is also suffering from bad separation anxiety, so when he woke up from his nap to find his mother gone, started crying inconsolably. I found three things to keep him from crying: #1 Feeding him #2 Reading Me, You and Peekaboo and #3 Playing (or singing) the song The Ants Go Marching One by One (hurrah, hurrah!). There’s only so much a baby can eat and only so many times I could read that book, but the song was put into steady rotation on my phone.

I sent his Mom this photo with a text that said “help”.

I fed him warm Egg Drop Soup, which I’d made the night before. It was perfect because it’s basically chicken broth and egg, in small stirred up amounts, easy for a baby to swallow. I was there feeding him this with a little spoon, when his mom walked into the kitchen at last. Hurrah, hurrah!

I’d made the Egg Drop Soup to go with Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Brown Rice for dinner the night before. When I make Chinese food at home, I always feel it’s kind of sad to have only one entree and rice; when you go out to a Chinese restaurant, there are always multiple options to choose from. Egg Drop Soup is the perfect supplement to an Asian meal, as it only takes 10 minutes and can be made with ingredients you, more than likely, already have at home.

This soup looks and tastes exactly like the one you’ll get at a restaurant, only better. It’s a great recipe to have in your back pocket, as Jeff Bridges said about the songs he sang in the movie Crazy Heart. In other words- it’s something you can whip up anytime without too much effort. It’s also perfect if you’re feeling sick, is a great picker-upper on cold, rainy days and comes in handy for feeding fussy babies suffering from separation anxiety.

Don’t leave me this way. I can’t survive I can’t stay alive, without your love, oh baby Don’t leave me this way.

Gloria Gaynor

Easy Egg Drop Soup

Recipe by All RecipesCourse: SoupCuisine: AsianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons water (optional)

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir together the corn starch and water to dissolve and pour into boiling broth.
  • Stir gently while you pour in the beaten egg.
  • Season with chives, salt and pepper before serving.

Recipe Video


  • While the cornstarch and water mixture are optional, it helps the soup congeal, which is more like the soup served in restaurants.
  • This recipe called for optional yellow food coloring, but I didn’t use it.

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Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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