My email box is overflowing with COVID-19 updates, resources, responses and even cures.  Sigh. How the world has shifted. Still, I know like I know that while this pandemic is in many ways the worst of times, it will also usher in the best of times.  

Communities will bond together, virtually.  Families will find each other. First responders and essential workers (like our crews at ZOOM DRAIN) will respond…and do their part to keep us healthy and fed and warm and sheltered.  Everyday workers will elevate to crisis time heroes. 

My job is to help our team go to work.  To help them – and our communities – stay safe and sound as we navigate this brutal outbreak.  And there are decisions to be made. 

Which brings me to the first of three things I’ve learned (or remembered) in the last three days… see video above!  

xo$ Ellen


I wrote this love letter to tradespeople nearly 20 years ago.  Over the last few weeks, I have fallen even deeper in love with the men and women who work the front lines as drain cleaners, plumbers, septic pros, electricians, HVAC techs and all those who serve and protect us.  As the COVID-19 virus spreads, most of us have had to stay in. They go out. Thank you for your service. 

First appeared in Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine…. July 2001

Have I Told You Lately? 

I adore a man who can work with his hands.  I admire a woman who knows how to handle a channel locks.  I appreciate a well laid-out mechanical room. I’m a huge fan of trades people.

 Trades people are more in touch with the truth than other people.  They are a no-nonsense group. They know that the electrical current is there, or it’s not.  The burner fires up, or it doesn’t. It’s plumb, or it’s out of plumb. Trades people have remarkable “baloney” detectors.  They identify quality by performance. They know that actions, not words, are the true measure of a person. Trades people understand the material universe and the way things work.  That understanding is becoming increasingly rare. 

Dear trades people, dear craftsmen and craftswomen of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Electrical industries, do you have any idea how amazing you are? 

Have I told you lately that I’m grateful?  Have I told you lately that I love you? 

All hail the Electricians! 

Dear Electricians, you are Lightning Wranglers!  You channel raw energy into orderly lines of controlled power, from just enough to energize a night light to more than enough to illuminate New York City.  The Internet is an amazing feat of technology, and it’s driven by electricity. Even the wireless world is sparked by finely tuned connecting dots of electricity.  Electricians routinely handle enough power to blast a man into outer space, or into the next life, and deliver it in just-right doses.

Three cheers for the Heating and Cooling Professionals.  

My friends, you create weather!  You deliver cool breezes inside when the temperatures soar outside.  You keep folks roasty-toasty in the winter. You screen the air to remove dust and pollen to keep us from sneezing.  Too much moisture in the air? Not enough? You can fix that!  

And hurray for the Plumbing and Drain & Sewer Pros! 

Consider our collective daily contributions to the plumbing system.  Where does it all go? Plumbers and Drain & Sewer Pros make it disappear!  Like magi