The Gentle News

Every day should be like today.

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August 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 9to5, Stories

My house, like many other houses in my plastic, suburban neighborhood, sits on a subtle hill of poorly-laid topsoil in such a way that overwatering my own lawn results in moistening the pavement of the back alley and reinforcing the moisture at the base of my neighbor’s house’s hill-bottom. Unfortunately, that neighbor doesn’t overwater, so the relationship isn’t exactly symbiotic. I don’t have a sophisticated irrigation system in my yards, so the health of my lawn and the integrity of my house’s foundation are only as good as my discipline at twisting nozzle handles and periodically relocating cheap sprinklers. It’s been hot as hell for many weeks, so finding the time to manually water my yard and slab has been futile and inconsistent.

A section of the ceiling in my garage has been slowly separating from the joists for a little over a year. It’s one of those things that I’ve told myself I would get around to fixing (or having fixed) when work is less demanding and finances are less demoralizing. This weekend, while my father and brother were in town just for the hell of it, most of that particular sheet of drywall fell right off the ceiling. Just for the hell of it. For a few minutes I thought, “Hey, this is great timing! I’ve got two of the most awesome dudes in the world here, and they would be glad to help me fix this.” However, it’s been hot as hell for weeks, and the thought of the three of us standing on various ladders and dubiously makeshift step-stools to patch the hole (never mind the cutting, prepping, and temporary garage door removal) quickly put the kibosh on asking them to actually do anything about it.

In other words, my house is old and busted, and I’m too lazy or busy (take your pick, I’m fine with either one) to do anygoddamnthing about it.

But I like this house quite a bit. I know that I could start now to take better care of it, and in less than a year things would be better, but there are no truly urgent problems motivating me to do so. The water heater is barely a year old, the air conditioning keeps inhabitants mostly comfortable, and the only things leaking are the ancient soaker hoses I use to at least attempt to keep the foundation from crumbling in the cracked, grassless earth.

The front lawn is watered, in part, each morning by a very convenient watering timer. I used to have a similar device in the backyard, but the last freeze this winter destroyed it and I have yet to shell out the cash for another. Also, the leaky hose in the back, again quite conveniently, keeps my sister’s dog’s water bowl full most of the time when one of us finds the motivation to at least pretend we’re watering the yard.

This afternoon, at the top of the sixth inning of today’s employment adventures, I decided to take a break. I poured myself a drink and walked out onto the triple-digit heat of the concrete jungle that is my back patio. Something inspired me to find a shaded spot for the sprinkler and open the nozzle as wide as possible. Immediately, the water pressure turned the big hole in the soaker hose next to the rose bush into a giant hole. Water arced halfway across my back yard, irrigating a nice chunk of my singed St. Augustine. Frustrated that my equipment was malfunctioning, but appreciative of the hydrating side-effect, I did what any sensible, adult homeowner would do in such a situation:

I ran straight into the geyser of water and soaked myself, jumping around in it for many minutes as if I were participating in some neopagan ritual thanking the municipal watergod for the opportunity to look and act like a complete buffoon behind the shield of my cedar privacy fence.

Summer. I like it, and you can’t take it away from me.

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