Monday, June 20, 2011

10 Mind-Numbing Things About Watering The Lawn

1. Unwinding the hose.

It doesn’t matter how expertly and carefully you wound the hose back up the last time, your efforts will prove to be pointless. You’ll be able to unwind about two little loops, then the whole hose will fall off the wheel and instantly become a tangled mess, all knotted and exasperating like Christmas lights and extension cords. And even though you know you shouldn’t jerk really hard in the hopes that things will just magically clear, you do it anyway, and the knots become tighter and more mystifying.

You will now spend the next 30 minutes to an hour fixing the whole mess. During this time, at least twice, some idiot from inside your house will wander out and ask why you haven’t started watering the lawn yet. Take a deep breathe, and try to spare their life. They are innocent of the Evil at the Spigot.

2. You can’t escape the entanglement with fancy machines.

Sure, you can run out and buy one of those “water-powered” things where the hose will neatly load and unload from a clever storage box, automatically, while you just stand there and sip a mint julep. And yes, these things do work really well, usually. But there are certain risks and inherent dangers, things you should know before callously taking your box for granted.

Be careful of that discharge side-hose. The water coming out of that innocent little hole can be surprisingly strong, drenching you in seconds and even knocking you against the side of the house if the angle is just right. And for all that is holy, watch out for the spray nozzle that you stupidly left attached to the hose. As the length of remaining hose shortens and the water-wheel spins faster, that nozzle will be zipping along at a pretty good clip and can take your head off if you don’t get out of the way fast enough.

Of course, the most teeth-gritting malfunction with the auto-box is when it jams because the hose didn’t align properly on the wheel. And since the jamming took place at roughly 50mph, that section of hose is now basically welded in place, and the wheel will not turn either way the tiniest bit. Good luck with that.

3. Garden equipment manufacturers lie about the length of their hoses.

Granted, this is a natural instinct on the part of the human male, but still. You go out to your yard, measure off exactly how many feet it is to the farthest point of the lawn, drive to the home and garden center, obtain that length, go home, and be thoroughly disappointed. It’s never long enough, even though it should be. Always get more than you need.

In the same vein, if your man tells you he has a certain length, order two of him to get the full effect of what he’s reporting in his personal sales brochure.

4. Random crap always appears when you have the least desire for it.

Your yard will be completely barren of unwanted items until the very second that you force yourself to go water it. Then all manner of things have suddenly appeared, forcing you to get them out of the way so you can hit every part of the lawn with some needed moisture. Newspapers, bicycles, wagons, spare tires, neighborhood children, drunken relatives, Randy Quaid. All of this has to be dragged out of the way, onto the driveway and sidewalks.

5. Powerful forces of nature are against you.

This is even more logic-befuddling than the self-knotting garden hose itself. You can be dragging said hose along, marching toward a distant patch of dryness, when the hose suddenly snags. Not just a little increased tension, but a full-on dead stop, like an elephant was wandering by and got bored. Cussing, you work your way back to the point of contention, only to discover the hose is caught on a tiny little pebble, or a twig. Or a leaf. Due to some perverted laws of physics and geometry, that’s all it took to stop you in your tracks.

What the hell? You destroy the offending object with more zeal than necessary, march all the way back to the business end of the hose, successfully get another foot of slack, then the hose snags again on a particularly vicious pocket of air. What’s the point in going on?

6. The mosquitoes.

Hate those little bastards.

7. The suffocating heat.

This is always a test of faith for me. Do I endure the sensation of drowning in my own sizzling sweat while walking over the coals of Hell? Or do I just let the damn grass die? If only the parched little blades knew how close to death they were on a daily basis, they would need therapy.

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Manual Sprinkler.

Yep, I’ve got one of those manual sprinklers, a really fancy, heavy one that can be adjusted for distance and angle. But we also have odd, unnatural patches of lawn that must be reached, coupled with massive, spray-blocking tree trunks, so that dang sprinkler has to be moved about twenty times to get the whole lawn. Yes, I can rest between movements (ahem), but it takes hours of dragging and adjusting to give the whole yard a soaking. By the time I’m done, entire civilizations have died out.

9. The magnetism of wetness.

Drenched as you are in sweat and the back-splashing from unprofessional watering techniques, you start attracting every loose element in the yard. Dirt, sand, leaves, bubblegum wrappers, pet toys, twigs, dry-cleaning receipts and every known insect that has ever crawled the face of the earth. You are now walking road-kill. Hot and stinky road-kill. With wet underwear. Yay!

10. The ultimate crushing reality.

We actually have an underground sprinkler system, one that, back in the day, caressingly bathed every square inch of soil in a lovely pattern of alternating zones. But over time, a few of the zones became rebellious teenagers and chose to not work at all, or only when they wanted to. Then we had the soul-destroying events of “The Plumbing Incident”, wherein heartless men dug up half the yard, destroying some of the sprinkler network with violence and unconcern.

Now nothing works. The surviving zones, when activated, either whine pitifully and then sent out a single, weak spurt of little value, or they do nothing at all. It is a ghost town of former aquatic beauty. From time to time, I will stand at the control panel and touch it fondly. “We had a special time together. But I understand that you had to move on.”

Then I turn, and trip over a kinked stretch of garden hose, and bang my head on a pocket of air. Groggy, I don’t see the spray nozzle wrap the end of the hose around my head, and then the nozzle signals the auto-rewind hose box to commence dragging me across the gritty driveway. My screams of horror are drowned out by the latest Lady Gaga song, playing in the house next door, where a hired lawn service takes care of everything that must be done when it comes to lush greenery, and the occupants have never even seen their own lawn.

I want to live there. Please?

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