Our house was built in 1903, I think. I’m quite lazy right now as I write this so I’m not going to give in to my inner voice that says I need to look up the actual year and be exact. I’m guessing you’ll let that minor detail go.
I love our house, for the most part. I love that it is old. I love that it is brick. I love it’s in a neighborhood that still has a bit of character to it– although that is arguable with the scrapes and monstrosities being built everywhere you look.
Just two houses down is a new build that towers above the little bungalows still left on our street. The couple that lives there has two small children, two dogs, a nanny (maybe two?) and well, a big house. Their yard is smaller than ours though, so there. You might think you know where this is going; that I’m comparing our humble house to theirs. Pitying myself that I can’t keep up with the Jones’. It’s not that. Maybe it is, but you didn’t hear me say it.
This morning I thought of my late father as I was stringing our one single water hose in the front yard. The hose is old and kinks a lot, which drives me bonkers. After placing the hose in what I deem to be the proper spot to target the ugly dry spot, I walk back to the house and turn it on, only to find that the water doesn’t come out. So I swear a bit and find the kink and then watch as the water forcefully fountains up out of the sprinkler full blast. I look around me each time this happens, to my left and right, hoping that the neighbor next door doesn’t see as her car gets all spotted up due to my poor sprinkler skills. I’d be pissed if I were her. The neighbor likely does notice this and probably swears a bit too, but will never confront me. At least she hasn’t yet.
If she did, what would she say? “Why the hell don’t you learn how to turn on your water so it doesn’t spray on my car?” “Who the F$*# taught you how to string a hose?” Maybe I need to prepare myself with a response.
Back to Dad.
Dad had a yard on Quail Road that was probably fifteen times the size of ours. Every summer, he meticulously and carefully strung what was probably eight to ten hoses in the yard to water. He didn’t just have to spot water, like we do, but he had to water his entire yard-stringing the hoses like perfect swimming lanes in a pool. Just when we settled into a television program like The Dukes of Hazard or Dallas or started to doze off on the couch, Dad would pipe up and say “let’s go move the hoses.” It was like a part-time job with no pay. That just seems crazy in this day and age-to string hoses to water an entire yard- but I think of it every time I curse our old sprinkler system because it doesn’t cover all the grass and we are left to string one measly hose to get to the dry spots.
You’d think we’d just go buy a new hose. But that would require admitting (again) that we are still many years away from updating our sprinkler system. So we pull the shameful piece of rubber around for another summer of spot watering and silently do the walk of shame to and fro the water spigot on the side of the house.
The couple two houses down-the new build couple- just smile when they see one of us out in the yard fiddling with the hose. I imagine they clap and their sprinkler system comes on or they have it set up with Alexa. “Alexa, turn on our sprinklers when you see our neighbor outside fighting with his hose.”
Sometimes I’ll be outside setting the hose and Rick will turn on the water inside the house or flush a toilet just to pick on me. I’ll be standing back and admiring how I’d set the sprinkler to hit every little piece of dryness and down the water pressure goes. When it comes back up again, it never seems to be as perfect as I had it before he played that little game.
I wonder what Dad must think from up above. I imagine he probably watches these antics in our small little yard and shakes his head. I imagine there is a number of things he would say to advise us around this, and many other problems. “All’s a fella’s gotta do is…”
I think I’ll hop on Netflix now and see if there are some Dukes of Hazard reruns to watch.
It’s about time to string the hose again.