So, Todd went to Chicago this weekend to meet fellow Auburn boys, Brian and Tom. And to see the Pixies. Yes, I am the best wife in the world for not pitching a hissy fit that he was flying to Chicago to see one of my favorite bands ever. (Yeah, right. You know I didn’t take this lying down. I made him promise that I had a free pass if they came anywhere in the Southeast on this tour. So, if you want to go, let me know and you will be included if it comes up. ) In all seriousness, Toddler really deserved this weekend, as he is the best husband/Daddy combo ever, and he has been working his ass off for the last six months.
I decided that I would go visit my parents at the lake for the weekend. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to after the kids go to bed, and i love taking the kids to the lake where they can run free in the trees, and fish, and crawl around in the bushes and get wet and muddy. They get to learn about life in the food web via fishing and all of the dogs decimating a nest of baby squirrels. I worry they don’t get enough of that. Nature Deficit Disorder, if you will. We thought it was going to rain all weekend, but it ended up being really nice weather on Saturday, so the kids played, and I did some yardwork for my dad (leaves and pruning bushes, mostly.) So, about noon, just as i popped open a beer and was finishing my yardwork cleanup, i heard this . . . running water sound. It was pretty loud, so it didn’t take long to locate the source – the spigot in the front yard had sprung a leak. Water was bubbling up out of the ground.
This was one of those moments where i thought to myself, I should not say a word about this. Just let it run. If I say something, Cecil is going to want me to help fix this. I have fixed a leaky water pipe in this yard before. This will not be fun. Keep. Mouth. Shut.
I am dumb. I said something. We decided to eat lunch before starting to fix it. I like that when I am at the lake, I can eat things for lunch like turnip greens and leftover Old Clinton BBQ and wash it down with a margarita. (My sister had come down that morning with my nephew Dash, and god bless her, the first thing she usually does when she gets to the lake is make margaritas. I couldn’t let her drink alone, no matter how much leaky pipe i had to fix that afternoon.) After that Dad had me knee deep in mud before i finished the damn margarita.
I dug and dug and was a complete and total Goat Man in minutes. After digging a couple feet down all around the spigot, we found the trench where the water line was. In the true spirit of half-assed construction, and wiring that is the lakehouse, the water line is in the same trench as the power. So, I was digging in a hole that was quickly filling with water and through which electricity was running. Brilliant.
I did not get electrocuted, although that might have been sweet relief from my father telling me how to do everything. Twice. Because just saying it once might not sink in through my thick skull. No, everything must be stated twice. If something isn’t working, and I am trying to figure it out, while I am doing so, my father repeats his instructions. Over and over. Just taking the volume up a notch each successive time.
I finished the margarita, which was helpful both in regulating my attitude, and because I could then use the cup to bail the water out of the hole. That’s what you call forethought and ingenuity. I will just pour myself this drink, so that when i am done, i can use the cup to bail out a muddy hole filled with water.
About this time, we decided to turn the water back on, and find out where the leak was. It was, of course, right below ground level, on the pipe running up to the spigot. Not in one of the pipes running through the yard at all. Basically, this means that I didn’t really need to dig up the whole damn trench anyway. Sigh.
Dad and I went to the hardware store to get a replacement pipe. Just trust me when i say that trips to any store with my dad are a nightmare, but especially to a store where they sell things men would be interested in: manly things like trucks, lumber, tractors, fertilizer, nails, power tools, knives, guns, or ammo. I love him, but he really likes to “talk shop” with whomever the resident expert is on any subject. I usually stand around avoiding eye contact with the other folks in the store, while pretending to be really interested in joint compound. This time, I stood in Ace with mud from head to toe and checked out the vast array of dead deer heads on the wall. People walked by me like i was an insane person wandered in off the street.
We headed back to the house with our pipe, just in time to meet the neighbors who had come over to visit. This is another thing I find humorous about the country. People just show up at 2 pm on a Saturday, with a cooler and a chocolate lab on the back of their golf cart or Gator, and everyone starts drinking. In this particular instance, the two gentlemen were decked out in their Bulldog regalia and informed me that they were “tailgating.” They didn’t have a tailgate and weren’t in Athens, but i liked the spirit of it anyway.
They stood with my dad, drinking beer, while I got down in the hole and fixed the pipe, and all the while they were telling me how to do the job. “Don’t strip it now.” “You need to get it tight,” and so forth. The only saving grace to this was that they made me drink their moonshine (all the way from Silver City, Georgia! Peach flavored! Straight outta the mason jar!) and I needed two shots to make sure it tasted alright, but after that, I felt much more equipped to deal with the peanut gallery.
We finished up and the pipe was fixed, and then my kids wanted to fish, so I sat on the dock and enjoyed another beer in the late afternoon light, while making sure they didn’t plunge into the lake. I untangled crossed rod and reel lines, and put minnows on cane poles, and I was muddy, and hanging out with the pack of five or six dogs that always seem to congregate in our yard whenever we visit. It turned out to be a pretty nice day.
I was thankful for the lake and the good weather, and the company of my kids, and even my father, and some big, dumb, wet and muddy dogs. It is funny how disconnecting from the tv and the radio and the internet, getting outside in the fresh air, working, getting muddy, hearing your own breathing and the sound of your child’s laughter and dogs barking and growling and wrestling in the yard can make you feel relaxed and at peace and like all is right with the world.
Oh, and then I finally had my shower. There is no better shower than a post-yardwork, muddy Fall day, very hot shower. Then a steak dinner.